Rad People Social Justice

YA Author John Green is Instagramming from a refugee camp in Jordan

YA novelist superstar John Green (hello, The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns, Looking For Alaska) is currently in a refugee camp in Jordan as a friend of the UNHCR, getting to the bottom of what life’s really like for those existing there and sharing his thoughts via InstagramTumblr and YouTube.

John’s posting stories to his 2.3 million + followers, detailing the experiences and challenges of kids and families caught up in this terrible, taxing refugee crisis.

His posts are not only raising awareness, they’re getting kids (and adults!) asking questions and possibly considering what’s going on in these camps – and what’s happening to kids just like them – for the very first time.

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Follow John (if you don’t already) to say clued in on his views. Tell your kids/the kids you know to do that too!

(You really should also check out artist Ai Weiwei’s Instagram for lots of information – including images, stories and videos – about the refugee crisis.)


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  • Reply
    Rosalinda Casamento
    March 20, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    Hi Pip,
    I’m not an instagrammer of twitterer, but I do get your emails. I saw this post about John Green & just wasn’t sure about it. Today I have seen the heartbreaking Guardian photo portraits of Syrian refugee children in these camps. They are not smiling. Their skin is damaged from exposure. Their clothes are dirty. From my limited info I have to conclude JG is sanitising this humanitarian disaster. Pizza in the refugee camp! Everything must be OK. I’m saddened by this.

    • Reply
      Meet Me At Mikes
      March 21, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      You know, I totally appreciate you putting your point of view – and there were lots of similar comments on John’s Instagram. My feeling is that he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. He’s a YA author – so he’s got a duty of care to his readers. And it’s hard to know what that might look like, in terms of showing suffering. It seems to me that he’s trying to create connections between his readers and the children in these camps – by showing that they are JUST LIKE THEM – and yet SO VERY VERY VERY different. I think he’s attempting to humanise/personalise rather than sanitise (and trying to balance his responsibilities to readers with glimpses into life in these camps.) You can definitely say pizza means things are okay (in a tongue in cheek way) – or you can say that it’s an indication of the permanence of life in the camps. It just depends on where you’re sitting, I guess.

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