Interview for

Basher Mansor

7/1/2019

Interviewed By:

Amna Amin

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 1:21:55
Summary

Basher Masor was imprisoned and tortured during the onset of the Syrian Civil War, becoming quadrapelegic and, due to Syria’s instability, fleeing to Jordan with his mother so he could receive treatment. He eventually ended up in the US where he is currently working on his college degree with the eventual goal of becoming independent and finding a job.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Basher Masor

Date: 07/01/2019

Location: Charlotte, NC


Content Warning: Torture.

Summary: Basher Masor was imprisoned and tortured during the onset of the Syrian Civil War, becoming quadriplegic and, due to Syria’s instability, fleeing to Jordan with his mother so he could receive treatment. He eventually ended up in the US where he is currently working on his college degree with the eventual goal of becoming independent and finding a job.

Topics: Education, Religion, Family, Conflict journey, War, Violence, Disability, Immigration Process, Resettlement, Personal Finance, Illness, Community, Language, Cultural Adjustment, Childhood, Volunteering, Message to Americans, Future


Outline

Section 1: (00:00-5:19)

  • Education, Religion, Family - Basher talks about his education, including majoring in Arabic language and astronomy (?). Also talks about working on his family’s farm as well as the importance of the Quran to him and how Arabic plays into it.

Section 2: (5:19-15:50)

  • Conflict journey, War, Violence, Disability, Family - Talks about the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in March 2012, about how he was arrested when making a trip for supplies for those that needed them, about his torture during his imprisonment that led to his disability and his needing therapy elsewhere in Jordon. Talks about his village and house being bombed and the death of his brother. Also references his other brother, a journalist, shot but alive.

  • Religion, Disability, Family, Conflict journey- Thanks Allah for being quadriplegic, so he could escape to Jordan. Talks about his brother who helped them rent a house there. Received therapy for two years, but couldn’t continue. His mother took him to all appointments as they tried to get into the US. Took 3 years until they arrived in Charlotte, September 2016.

Section 3: (15:51-23:50)

  • Religion, Conflict journey, Disability, Place of Worship - Faith in Allah, thanks God for everything, thinks everything happened for a reason. Physical therapy in Jordan for two years until they cut it off. Describes Jordan as a horrible experience. Tells story about how he was saved from being sent back to Jordan because he was praying in the mosque.

Section 4: (23:51-28:04)

  • Immigration process - After being unable to continue physical therapy, decided to go to US. Many interviews and investigations. Says that all refugees who come to US are good people because they were investigated beforehand.

  • Conflict journey- Describes the awful conditions of the refugee camp in Jordan-- the extremely long line of people waiting to go the bathroom. Couldn’t live in the camp, and his brother rented him and his mother a house.

Section 5: (28:05-38:34)

  • Resettlement, personal finance- Resettled by Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency who paid for his apartment for four months and then stopped. Describes his difficult financial situation, including making rent and buying other necessities. His mother could not work because of his care. Receives help from another organization.

  • Illness, family, personal finance- Mother has cancer, and her Medicaid has expired. Receives help from the most recent organization.

  • Disability- Takes a long time to get Medicaid and receive a doctor’s appointment. Eventually started getting physical therapy sessions. One day, holds onto the stairs and starts to walk. Sent video to someone who helps pay for continued therapy sessions.

Section 6: (38:53-48:54)

  • Discrimination, disability - Discusses lack of access to leave when cars blocked his ramp as well as the horrible conditions of the apartment, leaks, etc. The office takes a very long time to fix all these things. When his American friends call about problems in the apartment, they respond immediately. After 3 years, finally found a better apartment.

  • Community - Talks about meeting many friends through RSS (Refugee Support Services). Specifically talks about a time where he went on a trip with his friend, and they stayed at a hotel together, talking most of the night.

Section 7: (48:55-1:00:34)

  • Education, language- Has all A’s at college. Talks about his public speaking class and how he wrote a persuasive speech on fasting with the help of friends. Started first with English classes at RSS and then started college later. Says it was hard to learn English, but he had a great will to do so. Has goals: to walk again, graduate and find real work, and be independent.

  • Employment, cultural adjustment, childhood- Wishes eventually to do work with computers. Previously, he had a job checking bags at Bank of America stadium. Job found through one of his American friends. Talks about how he did not know what American football was at first. He played soccer on the street when he was a child.

Section 7: (1:00:35-1:12:02)

  • Discrimination- Talks about being discriminated against by his leasing office. One of his friends took him to a discrimination aid center in Charlotte who threatened to sue the office if they did the same things.

  • Places of Worship, community- Used to live a 30 minute walk from mosque and had no car. Eventually found friends to pick him up. Now, mosque is only 10 minutes from his apartment, and he has his electric wheelchair.

  • Faith, violence- Describes his faith as having increased since he came to US. Describes the two choices as giving it up vs. staying with Islam. When he was tortured, he thought he would die and wanted more time in life to right his wrong actions and to do more good in the world to reach Paradise. Thanks Allah that it wasn’t his time to die.

Section 7: (1:12:03-1:18:15)

  • Volunteering, faith, personal finances- Describes his work with Islamic Relief (interpreting, coordinating) as very fulfilling to him because he gets to help people, and helping people will bring blessings from Allah. Gave his life meaning. Islamic Relief also helps him with his rent because his monthly salary is under the cost of rent. Wishes to finish his studies and find work.

Section 8: (1:18:15-)

  • Message to Americans, future, faith- When asked what message he would give to Americans who do not welcome refugees, he asked to be treated as he treats them. He emphasizes that refugees are good people and describes talking with a Christian friend about their respective religions and how they both ended up believing that they were the same. Says that there are many people who need help who he had to leave behind and hopes the US increases the number of refugees they let in.