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IBB Update: Happy Birthday to Us!
We celebrate our 6th birthday, our initial success providing ongoing earthquake relief to Turkey, our incredible translation team, and Faisal's publication in the Free Press!
Welcome back to the IBB Update!
Yesterday was Ideas Beyond Borders’ sixth birthday! Since we were founded by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar and Melissa Chen back in 2017, we have opened offices in three countries, rendered over 44 million words into Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, and Pashtu, and have sponsored around 100 projects and individuals via our Innovation Hub initiative. This all started with a book, the Nonprofit Kit for Dummies, in a LA motel room. Now, we’re a worldwide force shaping the future of the Middle East with over two hundred staff members dedicated to one mission: getting good ideas where they are needed most!
We couldn’t have done it alone, so thank you to all our friends, followers, and donors who have helped us turn this dream into a reality. If you would like to join us on our mission, please subscribe to our mailing list and share these updates with those you know!
80% of every dollar we receive goes directly towards supporting our programs, including Substack subscriptions!
She Embodies Our Mission
“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to contribute to making content available in Arabic, especially the controversial content. For that reason, I was lucky to be part of Bayt al-Hikma, which provided me with the required basics and tools in translation and built the key competencies that any would-be translator should master. Translating books for Bayt al-Hikma gives me fresh insights into human rights, critical thinking and evolution; this project has done an amazing job in making controversial content more accessible for people in the MENA region.”
Razan Hamida has worked as a translator for our Bayt al-Hikma team for four years now. Razan sought us out when we were first getting started as she was dismayed at the lack of sources available in Arabic which explored the topics she was interested in. The recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey destroyed her apartment, but she continued her work translating Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama and Development with Dignity by Tom Palmer while living out of her car. Her story is our story, one of determination and the power of an individual to overcome adversity and make lasting change. Make sure to read her full interview on the challenges she’s faced, the controversial books she’s covered, and her hope for the future of Ideas Beyond Borders.
We have finished our work translating Free Speech and Development with Dignity! The books are already available for free at our Bayt-al-Hikma website for any of the 371 million Arabic speakers around the world who care to read them. Our translation team is now working on Dr. Timur Kuran’s groundbreaking book “Private Truths, Public Lies” which explores the role of information and belief systems in shaping economic behavior and societal institutions and how ideas can be manipulated and controlled by those in power to maintain their status and influence. His concept of preference falsification is essential for anyone seeking to learn about the nature of authoritarian regimes.
The International Correspondent
“It is hard to express what it means, if you have lived under an authoritarian regime, to experience freedom. Those who have grown up with the privilege of liberty are lucky not to understand it—and the heavy price you are willing to pay for it if you have lived without it.”
Faisal published an article on the fallout of the Iraq war and his search for freedom in America over at Bari Weiss’s Free Press. We’ve republished the entire essay at the International Correspondent, where he shares the story of his brother’s disappearance and murder during the Iraq War. He talks about his involvement in fighting against al-Qaeda in West Baghdad and the danger it put him in. Despite the chaos and dislocation caused by the war, he does not hold any ill will toward America. He believes that the invasion was necessary for Iraq to move toward freedom and away from the dark past of an authoritarian regime. His optimism for a future in which he can return to his old neighborhood and memories shared with his family, including his brother, is the founding power source of Ideas Beyond Borders.
Earthquake Relief in Turkey
“The Syrians worked hard to rebuild their lives in Turkey. Most of them work long hours to buy just enough food to survive. Now their lives have been destroyed again, and many have given up hope,” Hani Hammadeh says. “I’ve seen this in humans, after long exposure to tragedy, they start to feel nothing – they aren’t sad or angry or hungry. Nothing shows on their faces. They are just numb.”
The earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and Syria, claiming over 50,000 lives, have shattered the stability of the entire Anatolia peninsula. Syrian refugees in Turkey have been disproportionately affected by the earthquake and face even more uncertainty as they confront the prospect of rebuilding their lives. Many survived on odd jobs before the disaster and now have no means of earning a living. Turkish survivors can seek work in the country’s northern provinces, but Syrian refugees must stick to the places they were registered in or risk deportation. Aid efforts to help survivors in Syria have faltered in the face of political wrangling with the Assad regime. The Syrian government and Turkey-backed opposition groups blocked at least 130 trucks carrying food, medical supplies and tents from reaching Kurdish-majority neighborhoods in Aleppo. We haven’t let that stop us though, and are still working with our allies on the ground to deliver aid and hope to these survivors.
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