INTRO BY HAYLEY SMITH: Anna Maria was in my 8th grade Arabic 1 class in Boston a few years ago. She has kept in touch with me since I moved to Arizona and started LHI. Ever a champion for the oppressed, she has become extremely passionate about refugee work. A few months ago, she sent me a snapshot of a beautiful piece of art that she had drawn. At first, I thought maybe it had been an assignment at school or something. It wasn't. It just...came to her. Check it out and the story behind it!
ANNA MARIA'S REFLECTION:
My name is Anna Maria, and I’m a sophomore at one of the few schools that offers Arabic. I recently made a drawing depicting the truth of the refugee crisis. I wanted to show the journey of the people who are forced to leave their country to escape violence and persecution, only to be faced with fear in the countries they enter.
After watching the news repeatedly on the crisis, I was presented with the basic facts of the crisis. Syria is falling apart, people are fleeing, panic everywhere. The general idea. I thought about the people who have to make the journey, who risk everything for a hope of a future. I thought about the people who endure the hardships and bad conditions of the camps that they’re forced into.
With all of this going through my head, I took out my sketchbook and pencil, and planned everything out (see above). As soon as I came home, I took out paper and the large board that was sitting in my room and got to work. I still can’t fully describe the feelings I experienced that day. I felt that I had to make it, for everyone. For their voices to be heard. I drew the events that most people know of, Syria and Iraq being ravaged by ISIS, but I also drew individual people, witnessing their homes being destroyed. Witnessing their world being turned upside down. I drew the side of things the media misses. It isn’t just a crisis in some part of the world that Americans can just ignore. It’s a crisis that affects us all, and shows humans in the best and worst way.
Interjection by Hayley: Not only is Anna Maria a skilled artist, she also sent me this lovely poem of hers in December of 2016. Again, not an assignment. Thank you for sharing your talents and passion with us, Anna Maria!
Lift up their hands
Lift up their hearts
We are the lights in their world, now so dark
We give them hope
We give them care
We do what countries won't even dare
The crumbling economies
The world surrounded by corruption
The world afraid for even the slightest disruption
They don't seem to know that they aren't the cause
They don't seem to get who is really flawed
Leaders, you try and leave your homes
Go into a world that you don't know
It doesn't feel the same
When you are in the shoes of the ones you blame
The lone fighters
The accepting and the real
We do our best to help wounds heal
The refugees. They do not steal
They give a reason to have a world that's ideal
They trudge to other boarders
After crossing dangerous waters
They have lived
They have seen
What you see only on a screen