Philadelphia Inquirer on Impact of Travel Ban and Buthayna Ali’s Visit

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Travel ban uncertainty stymies Syrian artist’s visa

Inquirer writes on how policies impacted Buthayna Ali ability to come to Philadelphia.

June 18, 2017 | The Philadelphia Inquirer| Michael Matza

Speaking by Skype from her studio in Syria, artist Buthayna Ali said the war in her homeland makes it impossible to do the large-scale installations that are her creative specialty. While fighting skirts Damascus, where she lives in relative safety, she said, “I feel every scream, every bomb” ravaging the country.

Now another war — this one in the federal courts over President Trump’s order banning travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries, including Syria — is coming between Ali and a featured, in-person role encouraging young artists at a workshop from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Perry World House, a University of Pennsylvania center for global engagement.

Unable to attend because the travel ban blocked visa applications from the seven affected countries in the first week of February, when she tried to apply, and uncertain how to proceed, Ali will try to appear by Skype, or in a pre-recorded video, because daily power cuts due to the war make online communication unreliable.

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