Listening to the 18-minute musical monologue has been a Thanksgiving tradition among folk music fans for decades.
Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come” served as an anthem for the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Last Friday night, it played as visitors arrived at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center to hear Syrian dissident Danny Abdul Dayem speak about what’s going on in his home country, and what they can do to help.
“We need you to spread the word. What we need is your support,” he told a crowd of a couple hundred.
Here & Now’s Robin Young recently spoke with Danny when he was in the Baba Amr neighborhood of the besieged Syrian city of Homs. He escaped before the Syrian government occupied the area and came to the U.S. to speak with Americans.
“Everyone is saying we sympathize with you, we feel sorry. I know they do, [but] I need the government to move. We need military intervention. We need someone to save lives there,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.
Imam Abdullah Faruq, associate imam at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah in Boston, said it’s important that Americans hear Abdul Dayem’s story.
“We can read or see what’s on the news but when someone comes back [from] there, witnessing the kind of thing that’s going on there, it needs to be echoed. And the Muslim world needs to know,” he said.
‘All We Can Do Is Pray’
A student who preferred not to give her name for fear of her family’s safety said she has family in Syria.
“All we can do is pray for them. I go to school here and a lot of the students had no idea what’s going on over there,” she said.
Syrian-American Rushdal Beebee,visiting from Florida, decided to come to the center after her daughter told her Abdul Dayem was speaking.
“Seeing him at CNN, and then seeing him in person, I think he’s my hero. Just to meet somebody like him, it make me feel good that there are good people in the world,” she said.
The View From Syrian-Americans
Rushdal Beebee said it has been hard to watch the events in Syria unfold.
“It’s very sad, it’s very stressful,” she said. “You can’t even watch a few minutes and you start to cry. Syria in the past used to be a shelter for people from Armenia, Chechnya, Palestine, they all would come to Syria. Now seeing Syria have refugees is really heartbreaking. So hopefully we will get over this and the Syrian people again will be free.”
Experts share a range of perspectives on how to combat the Islamic State militant group, and the role the U.S. should play.