Monday, March 21, 2016

Meet a Syrian refugee granted asylum in US

Mariela Shaker is a violin student who lived under siege in Aleppo, Syria, until 2013. Her home was attacked so often that her parents stopped repairing broken windows and doors. Many of her friends were killed. She is a Christian, and knew she might be next. Determined to escape, she visited various Internet cafes, relying on their short-lived back-up generators to apply for scholarships and grants. Finally she was accepted by Monmouth College in Illinois.

                                                                                                                UNHCR / Washington
She was stopped at 70 checkpoints between Aleppo and Beirut before flying to the USA. At every stop her violin case was searched by guards, convinced it contained a gun. "They believed musicians were infidels," she said. Today she's earning a master's degree at DePaul University in Chicago. She's performed at the Kennedy Center and spoken at the White House. She calls her violin an instrument of peace. "When I perform Jewish music for Islamic communities and I'm Christian, it's something that unites us together," she said. Here parents still live under siege in Aleppo.

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