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REFUGEES: Don’t Let Them Stop Dreaming

I removed this post about interviews I conducted with Palestinian-Iraqi refugees languishing at a snake- and scorpion-infested camp between the Syrian and Iraqi borders because World Pulse's Terms of Service require I abdicate my control of anything I post on this site to World Pulse. This is an exclusive story, and by posting on this site, I grant World Pulse the rights to edit and repost these sensitive interviews anywhere World Pulse wants, in any format, without my permission or knowledge -- forever, which means any company that buys World Pulse in the future has the right to control my work. See the paragraph below and full Terms of Service at http://www.worldpulse.com/about/terms

Since I have a commitment to keep these refugees safe, I have opted out of participating in World Pulse.

I am very disappointed in World Pulse's lack of response to this issue. Their motto is noble: "No one speaks for me. I speak for myself." Yet, their decision to require me to legally give up control of my work -- my voice -- as well as those of the women and children I've interviewed -- is counter to this noble goal.

To view a variation of the original post as well as other interviews with refugees of the Iraq War, please visit: http://www.peacepathfoundation.org/listen/syria/

This interview is part of my forthcoming journalistic memoir about my work in the Middle East with Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. To become part of my personal email list of friends and family who will get a special pre-publication discount, please email me directly at BeInvolved@aol.com.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt

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Comments

Tori's picture

Dying Dreams

You sure have made the rounds. It doesn't surprise me that their government controlled media did not wish to publish your stories. I gather you didn't fare any better with the mainstream media outlets in the United States?

I want to encourage you to continue to work on your book, and work with social media in order to tell the truth about what you have witnessed. These women have powerful stories to tell, stories which will give us all perspective on what is going on in their lives, in their countries, and how all of the governments play a part in that. You are their voice now. They have trusted you with not only their stories, but their hopes and their dreams. That is a huge responsibility. You seem to carry it well.

Keep up your great work...and don't let their dreams, or yours, die.

Thanks for sharing!

Tori

Tori, I should clarify: I DID go to the US media! I sent the Al-Tanf story query to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, as well as to monthly journals like Mother Jones and The Progressive. I met with a high executive at CNN.com who explained the quandary the mainstream media is in: If a foreign govt saw my story in their news outlet, it might think I was a "legit" reporter who lied -- and that could jeopardize all the outlet's reporters' credentials. The last thing I want is less reporting!

So, I found myself in the unusual position of having exclusive stories and no where to publicize them! My blog wasn't enough, and I just need help in learning how to guest blog, tweet, "friend," etc, etc....

Thank you for your encouragement!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

zoneziwoh's picture

Their dreams wont die

Dear Kelly, your story is filled with so much emotion. I can understand the effort you are doing to vocalize the voices of the women, who entrusted in you their story. You stand now as their voice. You are their voice. And when you speak, it means they have spoken.

Dear sister, i also understand the frustration that comes alone when people entrust in you with their life. Often, in such a situation, you feel you are not doing enough. I think you are doing great and enough.

Permit me share with you my own experience. I had a great passion for journalism, but my university degree was not in journalism. After i graduated I was about to create my own TV talk show. The national media (I am referring to the ‘top ‘media in the country), ignored my proposal because of X,YZ reasons and at that moment, i felt that my message would only be best transmitted through the national media. Indeed, I was wrong. I was very wrong to think that the national media would be the best portals for me. And it was only until later on, i realised that my message was still reaching the people, creating the change i envisioned though not via the national media.

This little story of mine is just to let you know that, all the 'high' media, also have their own politics. That is why a space like this is where you make your own news headline. And I must congratulate for for making the choice to join us here on PW, and also participating in VOF. Here, you are the chief executive editor to your own news. you decide which news is new and which is old. you dont work according to any time frame nor are you oblige to follow any international or global headlines. That is PW, where nobody speaks for you. You speak for yourself.

And this, I keep telling my friends, colleague that there isn’t any better place other than web 2.0, where I am finally made to believe that the UDHR 1948, which talked on expression freedom and speech is gradually been attained.

Thank you so much for this wonderful story. You are making it and very soon, before you realise it - you will be the reference for all those who had inbox in their memories stories of challenging experience, but because they fear, they have never release those stories to the public. you are an inspiration to many.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

I need to just learn the tools!

Zoneziwoh, thank you for your kind support -- and for sharing your story. Clearly, the web has revolutionized the way we get information, and I'm committed to high journalistic standards...Now, I just need to learn the new tools!

Thank you also for your private email and request that I let you know whenever I post something new. But, World Pulse only allows a member to send a few emails in a 24-hour period. Is there a way I can email all my friends at once? (In fact, I couldn't respond to your email...)

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

zoneziwoh's picture

Welcome to the Team of PulsewireHolics

wao! you are welcome to the team. Yeah! PW only allows maximu 5 mgs per day. It is a pity you cant exploit beyond that. I had also asked if there was a way to send a group email via PW but it seem that function is still to be functional. That I am sure, PW is fully aware because some of us have complain and they truly regret. Very soon, it will be fine, that we were assured.

Any way, just jot down any of your challenges, suggestions for PW in your note/diary and when next PW send out its evaluation form, you can present them. That way, you can make your recommendation.

For now, there best means can be via FB, Twitter, or your personal Acc. if your friends are on FB, Twitter etc you can drop them an email.

take care--will send you my personal email, so that you can always email me.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Email me directly!

I didn't know we'd be getting an evaluation form. That's good to know! I'm sure World Pulse is trying to protect members from Spam, but only 5 emails/day is pretty restrictive. I'm not active on Facebook or Twitter - which is why I hope I am chosen for the Voices program so I can learn these tools!

In the meantime, I invite anyone reading this to send me their personal email at BeInvolved (at) aol (dot) com, and I'd be happy to communicate more quickly that way!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

zoneziwoh's picture

it is online

Hi Kelly, I was refering to an online evaluation form. The form is put online. I have send you an email--you can check your PW inbox.

I also notice you have a book on Female Normads and Friends. You can join our PW Book club at http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/12087 at PW BC, you share and read about other authors. take care

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Thanks! I'll look for the

Thanks! I'll look for the online form link and will check out the authors' pages. I actually am in TWO anthologies: Female Nomad and Friends (Random House, 2010) and Best Women's Travel Writing 2011 (Travelers' Tales, 2011). Thanks for the help!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

MaDube's picture

Dear Kelly

You have surely made a difference in so many people's lives with your tremendous work. I wish I knew a way in which I could also do the same on my continent because I have a passion for working with refugees but just never seem to find my way into organisations working with refugees. Your story transported me to the camps, the prison, the destroyed homes and all the places you have been. You write with a passion that made me feel the pain and all the emotions of the people you interviewed and I can feel your frustration with the exclusion of local communities in post conflict reconstruction and reintergration. You are doing wonderful work and I am positive with World Pulse these people's stories shall never be forgotten. Keep them coming.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Wider Audience!

Thanks, MaDube! I just want to get these stories out to a wider audience!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

Yenly Thach's picture

I appreciate humanitarian workers!

Hi Kelly!

As a former child refugee myself, I truly appreciate and honor those who risk their lives in order to save others. It sounds like to me is what you're doing. From my childhood memories in the refugee camps were both good and bad but I always remember the staff who gave me food! Thank you for risking your life in order to save thousand of others! I do hope one day you find the way to share their stories the way that they would like their stories to be told. Thanks so much!

Yenly Thach

Although my life was never in danger, I have tried hard to be respectful of refugees' stories, so your comment means so much to me!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

Yenly Thach's picture

:)

Big smile!! :) I just posted you on my facebook page!! You deserve it! :)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Former-Refugees/129169303787920#

Yenly Thach

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Thank you!

Thank you! Hopefully, there will come a day real soon when I know what that means!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

Dmack08's picture

Another great entry!

Thank you, Kelly!

sahar's picture

Dear Kelly. You have come to

Dear Kelly. You have come to the right place . You can publish the stories of women in pain in Pulse Wire.

Sincerely

Sahar Nuraddin

follow me @snuraddin
--------------
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
- Helen Keller

Thank you, Sahar! For me, though, the "right place" is where people who DON'T know about -- or haven't thought about -- these injustices hang out. That's why I joined the Voices of Our Future competition: I want to reach beyond the "choir," as we Americans call the folks who are already sensitized, and reach a wider audience...

I appreciate your taking the time to write me!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

DDMCFARLANE's picture

brimming with more to share

Dear Kelly, Well written and powerful! Getting that all in under 500 words must have been challenging. I feel you are brimming with more to share. You are courageous in your honest words that you "feel guilty I haven’t mastered social media to better publicize their plight." I think you must feel a frustration at the immediate plight of refugees and the time is takes to master media. You have shown that you don't give up. Your perserverance will bear fruit!

~DD

ddmcf

Yes, the 500 wd limit is quite a terrific exercise in editing! What I've posted so far have been adapted excerpts from the book I am writing. Tentatively titled "Living in Limbo: How I Found Myself Among the World's Forgotten," the book is a journalistic memoir about my recovery from a mid-life loss by working in the Middle East with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees.

I've had good recognition for chapters of my book so far (9 literary awards!), and am searching for an agent while I complete the last 20% or so....

Two chapters appear in anthologies, "Female Nomad and Friends" (Random House, 2010) and "Best Women's Travel Writing 2011" (Travelers' Tales, 2011). I'm quite proud of this because my goal, as I state above, is to reach an audience that doesn't necessarily consider itself political. I'm hoping that by learning to use Facebook, Twitter and Lined In more effectively, I will be able to expand my audience.

Thank you for your support and kind words!

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

Mila's picture

Comments on Week 2

Hi Kelly,

It was great to read about your very interesting international involvement/journalism work. I really liked that your writing is clear, descriptive and personal. Please keep up your great work. You might consider looking into being a contributor for Democracy Now! (www.democracynow.org).
For the assignment for the week, I would suggest that you touch on why you chose to apply for the VOF program, how VOF fits into your vision. Also, I know you have very positive intentions with your writing, but your piece as a whole came off negative. Even when discussing hardships throughout the world, it can be beneficial to leave the reader on a postiive note with a call to action, something to look forward to for the future, etc.
Thank you for all of your great. I am especially happy to hear about your work in/with Palestinians.

Best,
Mila

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Thanks for the tip! I wish

Thanks for the tip! I wish there were something proactive folks could do to help these refugees, but there isn't. More public pressure would help, but if I can't get the story out, my hands are tied. Very frustrating for all involved, to say the least.

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

Mila's picture

PS--

joining facebook, twitter and other such social networks sites is a great idea for you...they are a very easy way to network and make a positive impact just with clicks of the mouse. If you are not familiar with them, just google your questions and you will find a lot of guides, how to's, faqs, etc. :)

Kelly Hayes-Raitt's picture

Mila, I've joined all those

Mila, I've joined all those social networks, but don't know how to use them. That's why I joined the Voices of Our Future competition! It's my understanding that the 30 chosen for the program get to work one-on-one with folks who understand how to use these tools....

~ Kelly

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
www.PeacePATHFoundation.org

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