Local News

Refugees: See us as people, not nationalities

Posted September 30, 2016 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:38 p.m. EDT

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ned and Marian Walsh of Johnston County traveled to Jordan, a country where he did missionary work as a young man, to aid, teach and share the stories of Syrian refugees – the "collateral damage" of that country's on-going civil war.

Ned Walsh shared his initial impressions in his own words.

Marian and I have been overwhelmed by multiple experiences within the first few days of our time in Amman, Jordan. Getting the technological communications both corrected and understood has been a challenge, but we are beginning to get the much-need assistance.

We experienced the distribution of food vouchers to about 100 Sudanese refugees who had fled the Durfar region. Their stories are most compelling.

One young man whose English was excellent expressed his desperation regarding his current situation and "...no one seems to want to take us in!" He further commented that so far only the Collateral Repair Project has been willing to give him assistance.

Two days ago, we visited in the tiny apartments of three refugee families seeking assistance from the Collateral Repair Project. Two of the families were had escaped from Iraq and one from Syria. Each had similar tales of war, death, and the almost daily danger to their families.

Two common expressions we are hearing from almost all the refugees we have interviewed are:

  • We just want to be treated like we are human beings, not Syrian or Iraqis.
  • From the Iraqi refugees: Why did your country destroy Iraq? We had and have no logical answer!

Wednesday was election day so Marian and I traveled up to Ajloun, Jordan, where I was stationed during the summer of 1962 as a Baptist Student Union Summer Missionary. We were married right after my return that same summer.

In Ajloun was a Baptist Hospital compound. Today it is a Baptist Center used for conferences. Still working at the Center was Lela, now in her 80s. Our reunion, after 54 years, was simply beautiful!