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Civil War: Disabled Syrian Refugees Flee across Mountains ‘Strapped to Horses’

With the new controversial deal between Turkey and Europen Union in place, Any refugee caught by the coast guard or the Navy will return back to Turkish soil

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A Syrian refugee family walks towards the new Syrian camp of Azraq, . Image source: VOA
  • Disabled refugees fleeing from Syria because of the civil war, face many problems from moving so frequently
  • Alan and his sister, Gyan, are one of many disabled refugees, and they say it is difficult to move from one place to another but they proved, they are not insurmountable.
  • The brother and sister duo along with the family first began their journey when IS attacked their hometown, Al-Hasakah

For anyone fleeing Syria’s civil war, the journey to safety is hazardous, sometimes deadly. For disabled refugees, the challenges are immense – but as siblings Alan and Gyan Mohammed proved, they are not insurmountable.

Alan, 30, and his sister, Gyan, 28, both have muscular dystrophy and are confined to wheelchairs.

Their extraordinary journey began in 2014 as the terror group Islamic State advanced toward their hometown, Al-Hasakah in northeast Syria.

The entire family tried several times to escape across the border to Turkey, but each time they say they were fired on by Turkish border guards and forced to turn back.

So they fled instead to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. A year and four months later, Islamic State fighters swept across the region, forcing Alan, Gyan and their family to escape once more across the hostile, mountainous border with Turkey.

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“When we arrived at the top of the mountains, we took two horses, one for me and my disabled sister and one for our wheelchairs,” Alan said.

With Alan and Gyan strapped to either side of a horse, they eventually reached Turkey, where they paid people smugglers $750 each to take them on a boat to Greece. Alan says their small inflatable dinghy carried 60 refugees.

“Every time I looked around I saw babies, children, crying inside the boat. It was a very difficult moment.”

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The engine cut out soon after they left the Turkish shore. After 4 hours, they were spotted by EU patrol boats and taken to the Greek island of Chios.

Monica Costa Riba of Amnesty International found the disabled siblings and their family living in a makeshift refugee camp an hour outside of Athens. She says their story is inspiring, but it also highlights policy failures.

“This is a remarkable story that shows strength and resilience,” said Costa Riba. “But also it shows the failure of the European states to offer safety to these people that are fleeing persecution and the war in their countries.”

The Mohammed family’s arrival in Greece came just days before the European Union struck a deal with Ankara to return all refugees back to Turkish soil. But the route to Western Europe was now closed, and like 60,000 other migrants and refugees, the Mohammed family is now stranded in Greece.

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“What needs to happen is for the Greek authorities, with the assistance of the EU, to improve the living conditions of these people stranded in Greece. But ultimately, what really needs to happen is for the European governments to accept more refugees in their countries,” said Riba.

The EU’s proposed refugee relocation scheme is delayed amid growing opposition in Europe.

Alan Mohammed passes the time teaching English to refugee children. His family’s escape from terror marks a victory over adversity, but he says his journey is not yet finished. (VOA)

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2,648 illegal Migrants detained in Turkey

According to an official statement by Turkish General Staff , Turkish border guards rounded up 1,632 migrants attempting to illegally enter Turkey from Syria

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Turkey launches nationwide operation to detain illegal migrants (representative image) Pixabay

Turkey, November 9, 2017: A total of 2,648 undocumented migrants were detained in nationwide operations across Turkey, security force said on Wednesday.

Turkish border guards rounded up 1,632 migrants attempting to illegally enter Turkey from Syria, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

Some 171 undocumented migrants were found attempting to cross Turkey-Greece border illegally, according to the statement.

Another 575 migrants trying to illegally enter Greece and Bulgaria were held in northwestern Edirne province, a security official told state-run Anadolu Agency.

Gendarmerie caught 126 migrants, including 104 Afghan and 22 Pakistani nationals, from a bus at a checkpoint in Turkey’s central province of Sivas.

During another operation in northern Kastamonu province, security forces stopped an Istanbul-bound bus and held 121 migrants, including Pakistanis, Afghans and Senegalese. (IANS)

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Iraqi Kurds Propose Setting Aside Referendum, Starting Dialogue

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Iraqi Kurds
A group of Kurds dance in a show of solidarity with Iraqi Kurds who on Sept. 25 will be voting in an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, in Washington. VOA

Iraq, October 25: The government in Iraq’s Kurdistan region offered Wednesday to freeze the results of an independence referendum and start a dialogue with the central government in Baghdad in order to prevent any further violence between the two sides.

Last week, Iraqi forces seized the city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas held by the Kurds in response to the referendum, which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government declared illegal.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s statement said the confrontations have hurt both sides and could lead to ongoing bloodshed and social unrest in Iraq.

“Certainly, continued fighting does not lead any side to victory, but it will drive the country towards disarray and chaos, affecting all aspects of life,” the KRG said.

In addition to setting aside the referendum and proposing talks, the Kurds also called for an immediate halt to all military operations in their northern region of Iraq.(VOA)

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These 10 Weird Museums around the World will Certainly Amuse You!

List of 10 Weirdest Museums in the World

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These 10 Weird Museums around the World will Certainly Amuse You. Pixabay

August 5, 2017: Not every museum is about art, science, culture, and history, some of them show different sides of the world. A side which has a niche audience as not everyone will be interested to see them. We are talking about the weird museums around the world, which have its own peculiarity, oddities and sometimes downright weird. Some of these can even leave you confused, who would think of creating a museum on this idea or notion? But it can also drive you to dig deeper, to gain more knowledge. As these are not the mundane artifacts.

Plastinarium, Germany

Plastinarium Museum
Plastinarium Museum. Wikimedia

It’s a home of the morbid art of corpse plastination, a technique by which human or animal bodies are preserved. They use this scientific technique and present them in creative positions like an archer. It makes one wonder how intricate the human form is. Gunther Von Hagens perfected plastination (using polymers to preserve human tissue) after many years of studying medicine, dissection, and chemistry.  Visitors of this museum not only learn about the history of anatomy but also witness’s the graphic process of it.  The center also supplies traveling Body Worlds, which they call an original exhibition of real human bodies.

The Mummy Museum, Guanajuato, Mexico

The Mummy Museum
The Mummy Museum. Wikimedia

A popular tourist attraction, this museum has a mystical aura to it and has mummified bodies. The mummies have generated a lot of interest since the time this museum opened as people were already inquisitive about mummies and visiting it will give them a chance to see the mystery unfold in front of their eyes.

Hundreds of bodies were once buried in the Santa Paula Pantheon’s crypts around the mid-19th century. If families were unable to pay a burial tax imposed by the town, the bodies were exhumed.  Later they discovered the bodies had been mummified through a natural process, likely due to the region’s unique climatic factors.  The museum houses more than hundred mummies and a mummy of an infant as well. On June 9, 1865, the mummified body of a French doctor, Remigio Leroy, was exhumed from Niche 214 of the Pantheon’s first series. This is the first and therefore the most ancient of the Guanajuato Mummy Museum’s collection. Going to this museum will calm your curious soul. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The exhibition has an introductory video about the meaning of death for Mexicans and their way of accepting it.

ALSO READ: “The Museum Within” : Art Exhibition in Delhi dwells on Position and Function of Museums in India
Museum of Torture, Zagreb, Croatia

Museum of Torture
Museum of Torture. Wikimedia

The sinister museum has over 70 historical instruments of torture. Visitors can see, touch and even try out the 1792 guillotine replica, pendulum- a swinging blade that descends lower and lower with each sweep, rack- one of the oldest instruments of torture or iron maiden- the most brutal medieval instrument of torture, scold’s bridle, an instrument used to punish women accused of scolding and gossiping, as well as many other instruments that were used to humiliate, torture, cause injury or execute the victim. This weird museum gives a take on historical means and ways of violence.

It’s a one of its kind experience; there are multi sensory rooms, such as the semi-dark Cabinet of Wonders or the Dungeon. In the Cabinet of Wonders, there is semi-darkness in which the exhibits are bathing in a discomforting sound environment. It will prompt questions about sick human minds, which would let humans suffer such torture. It can make you vulnerable and can also bring back to mind issues of today’s hidden forms of torture, such as bullying or domestic violence. The Dungeon is a miniature cool room in which the visitor can spend a minute of his life in pitch blackness, anticipating the uncertain future…

Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, Kentucky, USA

Ventriloquist Doll
Ventriloquist Doll. Pixabay

The Museum houses smiling ventriloquist dolls. William Shakespeare Berger bought his first dummy in 1910- Tommy Baloney. By 1947, his collection had grown so large he renovated his garage to house the figures, and in 1962, he had to construct a second building. Vent Haven Museum was officially opened to the public on June 30, 1973, , with the dedication of the W.S. Berger Memorial Building.  Ventriloquist legends Edgar Bergen and Jimmy Nelson performed for all who attended the ceremony.

Vent Haven Museum houses more than 800 dummies, playbills, photos and historical books from Berger’s personal collection. In addition to this, the museum also hosts the annual convention- a ventriloquist meeting attracting many professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world.

Avanos Hair Museum, Avanos, Turkey

Avanos Hair Museum
Avanos Hair Museum. Wikimedia

The museum was created by a potter by profession, Chez Galip and is located in the rural Turkish town of Avanos. The story behind the origin of it is that the local potter Chez Galip was bidding farewell to a dear friend of his when he asked for something to remember her by. She cut off a piece of her hair to leave as a reminder. He put it up in his shop and told the story to the visitors and tourists who passed through. Other women who enjoyed the story left a piece of their hair as well and from there started the collection of hair. The museum started in 1979 when a selection was put up for display.

It now features a gigantic collection of hair gathered from more than 16,000 women, and if that isn’t creepy enough. It lies in a small, dark cave. Locks of women’s hair adorn the walls of this weird museum. The museum fills up a section of the shop where the earthen wares are stored. Visitors roam in the cave-like room with hair attached to every available surface. Pencils, paper, pins, and scissors are offered to those wanting to add their own piece to the collection.

 International Cryptozoology Museum, Maine, USA

Skunk Ape
Skunk Ape. Pixabay

Cryptozoology means- the study of hidden animals and involves the search for animals whose existence has not been verified, like the Yeti or Bigfoot (skunk ape). This museum’s collection has specimens and artifacts allegedly related to these kinds of mythical, unverified creatures. It includes everything from the hair samples, fecal matter, and native art. A rather odd collection to be incorporated and maybe it just might turn you into a Bigfoot believer.

The museum was started in 2003.  Loren Coleman who wanted to share the items he collected with researchers, scholars, colleagues, and the general public. He went on to interview eyewitnesses, chronicle the reports, and gather material evidence and cultural artifacts related to cryptozoology. It modestly began with sculptures and paintings created just for it, hundreds of cryptozoology toys and souvenirs from around the world, and one of a kind artifacts. The museum has a life-size, 8 feet tall Bigfoot representation, a full-scale, six-foot-long thousand dollar coelacanth model, 100 Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and other foot casts, fakes like jackalopes, Fiji Mermaid & furred trout.

ALSO READ: Virtual museums to be opened at 50 places in India to accentuate “significant” role of Tribals in Freedom struggle: PM Narendra Modi

 Meguro Parasitological Museum, Tokyo, Japan

 world's longest tapeworm
World’s longest tapeworm. Wikimedia

 Do you know everything about the parasite world? If you’ve ever wanted to know about tapeworms, head lice and plenty of other parasites you’ve probably never heard of. You can see it all at this museum. The collection boasts of around 300 specimens, including a 29-foot tapeworm. Not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach.

On the first floor of the museum, the ‘Diversity of Parasites’ displaying various types of parasitic specimens and accompanying it is educational movies, if you are interested to know more. The second-floor exhibits are ‘Human and Zoonotic Parasites’ showcasing parasite life cycles and the symptoms they cause during human infection. In addition to research, the museum also performs other activities such as education and provides special publications as well. The man behind the museum is Satoru Kamegai.

 The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, Kansas, USA

Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire. Pixabay

Yes, it’s true. There is a museum dedicated to barbed wires out there in the world. It features more than 2,400 varieties and explores the role barbed wire played in the settlement of the United States. Well, don’t touch any of the displays. The museum was established in 1970. There is an international organization, Antique Barbed Wire Society, committed to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting the historical heritage of barb wire and barbed wire related item. There is Dioramas of early barbed wire use, a theatre featuring educational films, the Barbed Wire Hall of Fame, the museum archives room, and a research library for visitors.

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 The Dog Collar Museum, England

Red Cross dog collar
Red Cross dog collar. Wikimedia

Dog collars are the little piece of accessory that transforms dogs from wild animals to man’s best friend. There is dog paraphernalia that dates back more than 100 years in this museum and inside you can see the history of canine accessories. This place is perfect for people who always wondered what a medieval dog collar may have looked like. In today’s time, dog collars are simple pieces of sturdy, flexible nylon in assorted colors and designs. However, in this Museum, you are treated to some of the fanciest dog collars there are.

This unique collection consists of nearly 100 collars that were collected by Irish medieval scholar John Hunt and his wife, Gertrude. Extended by the Leeds Castle Foundation, the collection has pieces that span history that is from medieval to Victorian times. The royal pet’s had baroque leather embellished dog collars with metalwork and velvet. This unusual place is visited by more than 500,000 dog lovers a year, both local and from overseas.

Le Musée des Vampires, France

Vampire
Vampire. Pixabay

The Le Musée des Vampires is a study of vampires’ place in France’s culture throughout history and today, a small private museum dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture. This weird museum has autographs of every actor who’s ever starred as Dracula, a mummified cat from Paris’ famous Père Lachaise Cemetery, and a vampire painting by famous French murderer Nicolas Claux. This is a cool place to be at if vampires fascinate you.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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