This month we talked with Yafa El Masri, who is getting a doctorate in Geography in a joint research program between the University of Padova, University of Venice, and University of Verona. She was also a visiting researcher at the Global Development Studies Unit at the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Helsinki. Yafa is also a stateless Palestinian refugee who was born and raised in refugee camps in Lebanon. She does autoethnographic research on solidarity among refugees in refugees camps. She has worked extensively with grassroots organizations and development projects within her community.
Growth centered development has been very devastating to life on our planet, including the erosion of solidarity in favor of individualism. Solidarity is a social norm wherein one acts in the interest of others, even if sometimes that may contradict your own best interest. One acts in the benefit of the community even if each individual has fewer resources for their own use. Maybe it is solidarity that is the missing ingredient to save to the world in the face of our multiple concurrent crises. Yafa has found that solidarity is alive and well in the refugee community and that the refugee community can teach the world a lot about how to practice solidarity.