Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Humans of New York

Humans of New York

“I was in the home for 13 years. It was a very abusive environment for everyone there. There were four staff members in particular that were especially bad

Humans of New York's photo.

“One of their favorite forms of punishment was the ‘full burn.’

First they’d make you take your clothes off and lay on the carpet. One of them would sit on your back, and the other one would pull you all the way down the hall.

The worst was The Ice Man. If I saw him today, he’d be dead.

He was like one of those guys you see in the movies, where even when he smiled, it was ice cold.

He’d come in your room and tell you that you had a date with The Ice Man. Then he’d fuck you and make you suck his dick.

Afterward, he’d tell you when your next date was going to be, just so you’d have to worry about it all week.

Ten of us tried to escape when I was seventeen. I had a date with The Ice Man coming up so I figured I had nothing to lose.” (2/3)

Note: There are orphanages in Lebanon who practiced sex on the kids till they were grown up enough to vacate the institution.

A young man came out and testified on the horror stories, committed in an Islamic institution in Beirut.

Not a single minister took up his case to investigate.

Not a single judge cared to activate his file. This young man is currently a very active leader in the youth movement. And targeted by internal police forces in every demonstration.

“I want people to know that I’m not just a story they threw on TV. I’m a person that has real feelings, just like her, that wants to be heard and wants their story to be out there.”

Michelle Knight is one of the world’s most famous survivors.
But that doesn’t pay the rent or buy back the life that was ripped from her.|By Abigail Jones

“Girl From High Mountains”: Gaoanna.

“When I was six months old, I was dropped off at an orphanage in Northern China with a little note pinned on my shirt.

It only had the name of my village. The orphanage named me Gaoanna, which translates to ‘Girl From High Mountains.’

My mother decided to adopt me after she received my picture in the mail. She was 45 at the time.

She had recently gotten divorced. She’d never had children. So it’s just been the two of us my whole life.

I remember one time in high school, we got in an argument and my mom got very emotional. She started crying and said: ‘We can’t fight. It’s just the two of us. We have to stick together.

At that moment I realized how much I had changed my mom’s life. She’d known from the start, of course. But it was something I needed to learn.”

Humans of New York's photo.

Humans of New York: Physicians and medical personnel

Humans of New York's photo.

Mads Gilbert is a modern-day hero heart emoticon

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“What I think we don’t realize is how extremely brutal the suffocation of the people of Gaza is.”

Susie’s Senior Dogs
Tonnie Ch shared this link Humans of New York

Susie passed away yesterday evening. She came into my life quite unexpectedly five years ago. I was photographing in Brooklyn one evening when I saw the coolest little dog sitting on a stoop.

I sat down to pet her, and after a few minutes, her owner told me that he was unable to care for her anymore. He asked if I could take her. I was broke at the time. I was sleeping on a friend’s couch. And everyone that I asked told me that it was ‘not the right time’ for a dog.

But I was so charmed by Susie, and the whole encounter seemed so fated, that I offered to take her.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Susie was twelve years old at the time and didn’t need much. I’d never had a dog before. It was a new experience. I was introduced for the first time to a dog’s unexplainable and unconditional love.

After a few weeks, it seemed that Susie’s only concern in life was staying as close to me as possible. There was now a joyous reunion waiting for me at the end of every workday. And I learned that there are few greater blessings than a wildly happy dog greeting you at the door.

Over the last few years, my fiancé Erin developed her own relationship with Susie. As many of you know, Erin started a nonprofit called Susie’s Senior Dogs, which seeks to place older dogs in loving homes.

Older dogs have the hardest time getting adopted. Because there is such a demand for young dogs, so many senior dogs are either euthanized or forced to spend the remainder of their lives in a shelter.

Over the past few years, Susie’s Senior Dogs has placed several hundred senior dogs into homes. There is a warm and active community of people who follow the page. In fact, I think that half the people who come to my book signings are more excited to meet Erin than me.

So it’s been a tough few days, but Erin and I are both very thankful that Susie came into our lives. She was such a special friend.

Susie was my introduction to the love of dogs. And she helped Erin discover her purpose in life. So in a way she’s going to stick around forever. I encourage everyone to follow Susie’s Senior Dogs, and consider allowing an older dog to change your life as well.

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Humans of New York's photo.

Humans of New York? What kinds of work? From where are they?

Reine Azzi shared this link

“I drive an MTA bus. I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I’ve got to wake up at 4 am everyday. That’s not working for me.

So I’m trying to get my music off the ground. I’ve been handing out these CDs all day. But it’s tough.

I’ve only sold three so far. But one of the guys who bought a CD was from Algeria. So now I get to say that they play my music in Algeria.”

Humans of New York's photo.

“At my high school, the first kid to get a pair of new Jordan’s was the king, and the kid who couldn’t afford them was bait for the sharks.

My mom and I didn’t have much money so I got teased a lot. Sometimes it got so bad that I’d have panic attacks.

One day all the kids were being especially nice to me in history class. Everyone was acting like my friend, but as soon as the bell rang, they all threw soap at me at the same time.

I lived in a homeless shelter at the time. I liked being at the shelter much more than being at school.

Everything at school was a competition. But everyone at the shelter helped each other out.

People would share clothes, cook for each other, and babysit for each other.

We were all at rock bottom, so nobody thought they were better than each other.”

Humans of New York's photo.

“I’m working on my second doctorate and doing clinical research in HIV.

I’ve always wanted to be a tenure track professor, but I’ve been questioning that lately.

I imagined that one day I’d get to a place where I can do the research that I want to do. But I’m seeing now that it’s more about doing the research that will get funded.

I’m noticing a lot of disenchantment among my senior mentors. They don’t get to be as innovative as they’d like.

Their primary task seems to be sustaining the institution. It’s not about doing the research that they think will make the most impact.

It’s about going for the most likely money. It’s publish or perish. Fund or get fired.

And education suffers as well. I love to teach, and I’ve always thought that teaching would be a big part of the process. But it’s not emphasized.

Because teaching is paid for by tuition. It’s ‘money in, money out.’ But research funding comes from outside the school. It’s new money.”

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Humans of New York's photo.

“I emigrated from Liberia at the age of eighteen, and a lovely Jewish family took me in and helped fund my education.

Their names were Anne and William Rothenberg. They had never even met me before. But they allowed me to live with them and introduced me to everyone as their daughter.

They would never explain beyond that—it was always just ‘our daughter.’

It was so fun to see the confusion on people’s faces. They’ve both passed away.

But a few years ago I started a scholarship fund for Liberian children, and I named it after them.”

Humans of New York's photo.

Am I doing Aya more harm than good? Telling her story

Karim A. Badra and Reine Azzi shared this link Humans of New York

Yesterday was a “rest day” for me. It’s been an emotional week. Telling Aya’s story was tough enough.

But the hardest part for me was watching a traumatized young woman release her story into a world that’s becoming more and more afraid of her with each passing day.

It was such an act of courage for Aya to tell her story in this climate. And as I read some of the comments on her story, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was doing her more harm than good.

There is so much fear in the world right now.

And politicians know that they must win the votes of frightened people.

And with their rhetoric, they are condoning prejudice in a way that I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

Since September 11th, 45 people have been killed in the United States by supposed Islamic extremists. This includes the recent attacks in California.

Even though these attacks were carried out by only a handful of violent individuals, they are being used as a license to vilify millions of Americans. That is wrong and that is dangerous.

And Aya, who is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known, had to absorb a good deal of that hatred this week.

I’m sure this added to the trauma she’s already been through. But every step of the way I gave her the option to stop telling her story. And at every step, she gave me permission to continue. And I thank her for that.

And I want to thank all of you.

Because I noticed something this week. I noticed that the comments on Aya’s story always began very positively.

But as some of the posts were shared thousands of times, and began to reach newsfeeds beyond the HONY community, the tone of comments deteriorated.

They became much more judgmental and prejudiced.

And that made me realize how special this community is. The people who follow this page did something very important this week.

You allowed a traumatized young Muslim woman to share her story in a supportive environment.

There aren’t many places right now where that is possible. So in your own way, you provided Aya with a place of refuge.

And thanks to everyone who stood up this week to tell Aya: “I’m not afraid of you.”

For anyone who still wishes to sign Aya’s petition, you may do so here:

Humans of New York: “Baba. It’s fine to help. But not every day”

Reine Azzi  shared this link Humans of New York. September 28, 2015

“After one month, I arrived in Austria. The first day I was there, I walked into a bakery and met a man named Fritz Hummel.

He told me that forty years ago he had visited Syria and he’d been treated well.

So he gave me clothes, food, everything. He became like a father to me. He took me to the Rotary Club and introduced me to the entire group.

He told them my story and asked: ‘How can we help him?’

I found a church, and they gave me a place to live. Right away I committed myself to learning the language.

I practiced German for 17 hours a day. I read children’s stories all day long. I watched television.

I tried to meet as many Austrians as possible.

After seven months, it was time to meet with a judge to determine my status. I could speak so well at this point that I asked the judge if we could conduct the interview in German.

He couldn’t believe it. He was so impressed that I’d already learned German that he interviewed me for only ten minutes.

Then he pointed at my Syrian ID card and said: ‘Muhammad, you will never need this again. You are now an Austrian!’” (Kos, Greece)

(Why can he not keep his Syrian passport?)


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Humans of New York's photo.
Reine Azzi shared this link Humans of New York. September 30, 2015

“My father was a farmer and we had eight siblings. I went to Australia when I was 15 because my family didn’t have enough to eat.

I was on a boat for forty days. When I got there, I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t speak English, and I had to sleep on the street.

I know what it’s like.

So everyday I drive the van to the port and hand out bread to the refugees. My son is my business partner.

He says, ‘Baba, please. It’s fine to help. But not every day.’

But I still go every day because I know what it feels like to have nothing.” (Kos, Greece)

Humans of New York's photo.

Humans of New York: Series on Syrian refugees

Reine Azzi shared this link Humans of New York

I want to begin this refugee series with a post from the summer of 2014.

This is Muhammad, whom I first met last year in Iraqi Kurdistan.

At the time, he had just fled the war in Syria and was working as a clerk at my hotel. When war broke out, he’d been studying English Literature at the University of Damascus, so his English was nearly perfect.

He agreed to work as my interpreter and we spent several days interviewing refugees who were fleeing the advance of ISIS.

As is evident from the quote below, I left Muhammad with the expectation that he’d soon be travelling to the United Kingdom with fake papers.

I am retelling the story because I have just now reconnected with Muhammad. He will be working again as my interpreter for the next ten days.

But the story he told me of what happened since we last met is tragic. (1/6)


“The fighting got very bad. When I left Syria to come here, I only had $50. I was almost out of money when I got here.

I met a man on the street, who took me home, and gave me food and a place to stay. But I felt so ashamed to be in his home that I spent 11 hours a day looking for jobs, and only came back to sleep.

I finally found a job at a hotel. They worked me 12 hours a day, for 7 days a week. They gave me $400 a month.

Now I found a new hotel that is much better. I work 12 hours per day for $600 a month, and I get one day off.

In all my free hours, I work at a school as an English teacher. I work 18 hours per day, every day. And I have not spent any of it. I have not bought even a single T-shirt.

I’ve saved 13,000 Euro, which is how much I need to buy fake papers. There is a man I know who can get me to Europe for 13,000. I’m leaving next week.

I’m going once more to Syria to say goodbye to my family, then I’m going to leave all this behind. I’m going to try to forget it all. And I’m going to finish my education.”
(August 2014 : Erbil, Iraq)

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Humans of New York's photo.

Humans of New York: This long deadly journey by sea. Fleeing from Hell

Humans of New York's photo.

Humans of New York

“My husband and I sold everything we had to afford the journey.

We worked 15 hours a day in Turkey until we had enough money to leave.

The smuggler put 152 of us on a boat. Once we saw the boat, many of us wanted to go back, but he told us that anyone who turned back would not get a refund. We had no choice.

Both the lower compartment and the deck were filled with people. Waves began to come into the boat so the captain told everyone to throw their baggage into the sea.

In the ocean we hit a rock, but the captain told us not to worry. Water began to come into the boat, but again he told us not to worry.

We were in the lower compartment and it began to fill with water. It was too tight to move. Everyone began to scream.

We were the last ones to get out alive. My husband pulled me out of the window.

In the ocean, he took off his life jacket and gave it to a woman. We swam for as long as possible.

After several hours he told me he that he was too tired to swim and that he was going to float on his back and rest. It was so dark we could not see. The waves were high.

I could hear him calling me but he got further and further away. Eventually a boat found me. They never found my husband.” (Kos island, Greece)




March 2023

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