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Weintraub (right) wants Syrians to tell their own stories

Serious About Syria

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is role as a videographer documenting the Syrian civil war has exposed Aaron Weintraub to harrowing stories. But he’s heartened by the chance to make a difference, as well. Weintraub, who majored in journalism and minored in Arabic, moved to Amman, Jordan, after graduation in 2017. He joined Syria Direct, a nonprofit news organization that covers Syria while training journalists in accurate, in-depth reporting. He produced a powerful video chronicling two Syrian men as they resisted the urge to take up arms and instead trained to become objective reporters ( “My entire interview process hinges upon me being able to understand and translate questions into Arabic,” says Weintraub, who credits his Arabic studies professors for his career path. Weintraub has heard countless stories of loss due to the fighting— families separated, children orphaned, scores injured or killed. “While such stories are difficult to listen to,” he says, “they serve as a reminder that if media outlets do not exist to share these experiences, the world isn’t going to have any understanding of what refugees go through.” Recently, Weintraub joined Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development, which helps provide legal aid to migrants, refugees, women, and children. He continues to look for ways to tell the stories of Syrians victimized by the fighting—and to help them tell their own stories. “What I’d like to do next is start taking the narrative out my own hands and putting it more in the [hands of the] people I interview,” he says. “That’s probably the best way I can engage with the conflicts in the countries surrounding Jordan—starting a conversation and then handing the microphone over to the small, concentrated communities I want to help.”

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ON THE BENCH becoming the first Muslim American in the country to join the federal bench. Previously a Lane County Circuit Court judge, Kasubhai began work in the new post last fall in US District Court in Eugene. The first-generation American of Indian descent presides over civil litigation and other matters. Kasubhai credited the law school and its ties to professional communities for his success. He cited the “inclusive vision and leadership” of the court for his appointment to the federal bench. “I am grateful to my colleagues for this opportunity to serve my country,” Kasubhai says. “There is nowhere else I’d rather live, work, and raise a family than right here in Oregon.”





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Mustafa Kasubhai, JD ’96, has been appointed a US magistrate judge,

Profile for UO/Oregon Quarterly

Oregon Quarterly Winter 2019