CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
With the ongoing European refugee crisis remaining a divisive political issue, over 2.8 billion people have shown their support for a young Middle Eastern family who were forced to give birth in an unhygienic agricultural premises, after being denied refuge by an entire city.
Yusuf and Maryam, both 14, say that their pleas for asylum fell on deaf ears as they struggled to keep warm in a bitter Bethelem winter night.
The recently married couple had arrived at the town to complete the national census, but were forced to seek urgent medical attention for a heavily pregnant Maryam as she went into labour.
However, the family were repeatedly denied their rights to seek asylum.
“All we wanted was somewhere safe. We didn’t want to burden the cities already struggling healthcare… We weren’t looking for housing or jobs… We just needed somewhere safe so my wife could give birth to our son,” says a distraught Yusuf, a boutique furniture carpenter by trade.
“We ended up finding refuge in a local hotel owner’s horse stables. My wife gave birth on the floor and we placed our son in the animal trough to keep him warm in the hay,”
Since news broke of the family’s traumatic experience, over 9.6 trillion dollars has been raised by non-taxable organisations to help provide support for those in similar states of distress.
Maryam said she was honoured to learn the birth of her son has resonated so well with the Western World. “I’m very moved by the support. We are a poor middle eastern family in a far away land… But it’s good to know people still care”
“I always knew one day my children would become very important people,”
“I’m just glad we were able to find refuge – even if we were forced to sleep alongside livestock – it was much better than being forced to face the elements. My son would have most probably died if that had been the case,”
“I hope this never happens to another family again,”