December 6, 2015


For one family fleeing Syria, a haven in New England : Since the Paris attacks, the program to settle Syrian refugees in the US has come under scrutiny. The experiences of one family - the Alnasars - in Massachusetts show how they have embraced their new life, despite many challenges. (Elodie Reed, DECEMBER 5, 2015, CS Monitor)

[T]heir story is a picture of how mundane and how profound life in America can be for Syrian refugees. Aside from the new baby born this year, their lives appear unremarkably normal. For the Alnasars, this may be the most remarkable thing of all.

Interviewed twice this fall before the political fallout from the Paris attacks, the Alnasars regard their new life in America as a "safe haven," as Mr. Alnasar puts it. [...]

In the case of the Alnasars, their Arabic-speaking team brought them to an apartment in a downtown Westfield neighborhood just blocks from grocery stores, barbershops, and churches. Inside, mattresses and blankets were laid out, couches were in place, halal food was in the fridge, and the heat - important to a family moving from a warm climate to New England in November - was on.

Thinking back, Zaid says the neighborhood somehow felt familiar, though one thing was off: "Here the homes and apartments are made out of wood," he says. Back in Syria, everything was constructed from steel and concrete.

Posted by at December 6, 2015 9:20 AM