My Name is Ayad Faoud Al Rousan: A Syrian Refugee Story

Ayad Faoud Al Rousan and his family are part of the over 13.5 million people who have been displaced by the Syrian Civil War and among the five million who were able to flee their country. Al Rousan told his harrowing story to BBC’s Newsnight program in 2013. This short animated video depicts the journey of their family from Damascus to flee for safety. During their passage, the family was thrown into the sea when their boat, crowded with refugees, capsized after being fired upon off the Libyan coast. While this film is animated, we strongly recommending previewing this film ahead of time and considering whether it is appropriate for your students.

Reflection Questions

    1. After watching the BBC film with students, allow them time to reflect on what they saw silently before opening a conversation. You will want to acknowledge not only what they see and think, but what they are feeling as well. Consider using our see-feel-think-wonder routine to guide reflection and conversation.
    2. Consider Al Rousan’s family’s journey.
      1. What did experience as they moved from one place to another?
      2. How is their migration story similar and different from other accounts you know about moving from one place to another?
      3. How much control did they have over their journey?
      4. What do you think stories like this reveal about human nature?
    3. This film speaks powerfully to our learning arc section on living with an ambiguous status. After debriefing the film itself, consider turning to the following questions to guide the discussion:
      1. Who is responsible for people in the in-betweens?
      2. What are the rights of people on the move with ambiguous status (not clearly recognized by the State)?
      3. Who is responsible for people on the move with an ambiguous status?
      4. How should nations decide who can settle and who cannot?
      5. And, what are the nation’s responsibilities towards those who settle?

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