‘Global Citizens.’ That’s the title St. John Medical Center physician Dr. Eiad Sayed bestowed on Emma and Sophia Altomare Yanasak last week when they came to his office to make a contribution to a Greek Refugee Fund set up to assist victims in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The girls, daughters of SJMC nurse Stasia Altomare Yanasak, stopped by the office with two jars of change they had been saving for a local animal shelter.
“‘We have this fund for disabled animals, but the children need it more,’” reports Dr. Sayed of their message. “I immediately declared them ‘Global Citizens.’”
It is part of growing local show of support for the Greek crisis on the local level through Dr. Sayed’s efforts.
Another visitor to his office last week was SJMC nurse Leslie Begany, RN. She drove in from Oberlin on her day off to contribute her dad’s unused meds just two weeks after he passed away. “My mom said we wanted to make a difference,” said Leslie. “I lost my dad. But the people this is going to are losing everything.”
And Dr. Khaled Issa’s North Ohio Gastroenterology made a big donation of supplies being renewed at their clinic at Clemens and Bradley Roads.
Dr. Sayed is rallying support through the efforts of his missions organization, the Salaam Cultural Museum, in an effort to relieve suffering and assist immigrant flow through Greece to countries like Germany and Sweden.
“They found me through the internet,” said Dr. Sayed. He has been making missions trips to Jordan regularly over the past three years to the Zaatari Refugee Camp set up on the Syrian border. He has seen the camp grow exponentially as the Syrian crisis deepened. The camp, a tent city, has grown to a population of 80,000, large enough to qualify as Jordan’s fourth-largest city.
The Greek crisis is different. Displaced Syrians as well as refugees from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries are travelling over the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.
“We see a lot of young children and women. It is a totally different atmosphere than Jordan. Refugees are arriving with nothing but wet clothes. They ask, ‘How do we get to Germany?’” reports Dr. Sayed.
Refugees are in dire need of basics: new clothes, fresh water, food, sunscreen, cell phones with GPS to assist their travel. They arrive with sunburns, open sores and other injuries.
“On top of it all, they are going to Greece, the poorest country in Europe,” said Dr. Sayed.
Dr. Sayed was contacted because of his involvement in the Syrian refugee relief program in Jordan. “They contacted me saying, ‘We need your help. The UN is no help. Doctors Without Borders is no help.
“But we have a mission on the ground in Jordan,” said Dr. Sayed. “So we were the first scouting team to go. We connected with a pair of doctors in the United Kingdom (UK) and they went. We found our connection in Greece and we have a very good evaluation of the situation.
“What is needed is a continuous presence through the end of the year. This is not a missions trip. It is a continuous presence.
“What we are doing is no different than what the Pope has told us,” he continued. “It is all about paying it forward and Doing unto Others. If we help them, they will help us back by becoming prosperous citizens of Sweden and Germany. All they want is a future for their families.
“We have seen parents handing babies over barbed wire barricades, saying ‘Take them, give them a chance.’”
They are, said Dr. Sayed, people with no place to go, “If they can make it to a safer place, their refugee status will be established,” said Dr. Sayed. “The Mideast has disappointed them, The Assad regime and the Arab states have disappointed them. There is no solution. And even though it is short trip across the sea, it is a treacherous trip. Dangerous waters, dark nights, bootleggers selling fake lifejackets that do not float. “
“After all the intervention we did,” says Dr. Sayed of United States involvement in the Middle East, “They are still running for their lives. And they die on the way.
“We need to make a special appeal locally,” said Dr. Sayed.
You can make a difference by visiting Dr. Sayed’s Jordanian missions website, https://salaamculturalmuseum.wordpress.com/donations.
Please go to the following link to support the Greek crisis: salaamculturalmuseum.wordpress.com
Photos submitted by Dr. Sayed