Edward Norton Raises $390K for Refugee Whose Story Moved Us

Family is headed to Michigan from Turkey
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 7:50 AM CST
Edward Norton looks at his Excellence Award after being honored at the 68th Locarno International Film Festival in Locarno, Switzerland, Aug. 5, 2015.   (Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP)

(Newser) – Lots of people are moved by the stories featured on Humans of New York—but not all of us are actor Edward Norton, who helped raise nearly $390,000 as of this writing for a Syrian refugee family headed to Troy, Mich., from Turkey, Michigan Live reports. Norton says he was moved to launch the fundraiser for the family after reading their story—as told by the father, a scientist—on HONY, which has been chronicling the experiences of 12 Syrian families being allowed to resettle in the US. Writing that the family's story "moved me to tears," Norton adds, "Let's reject the 'anti-human' voices that tell us to fear refugees and show this man and his family what Americans are really made of." The scientist had recounted to HONY the tragic story of losing seven family members, including his wife and daughter, when a government anti-personnel missile tore through the family's compound. "Inside were 116 small bombs, and each bomb was filled with needles and shrapnel," he recalls.

"My son had to carry the pieces of his mother and sister out of the house," he says; the boy was 14 at the time. Shrapnel wounded another daughter. "We survived but we're dead psychologically," he says. “Everything ended for us that day." The man has stomach cancer—"from my sadness and my stress"—and says he is unable to work in Turkey because of regulations. "I'm fighting against time," he says, but "I just want to get back to work." He thinks he can do that in Michigan. "I want to be a person again. I don't want the world to think I'm over. I'm still here. ... I still think I have a chance to make a difference in the world." Last week, President Obama responded to the story on HONY's Facebook page: "Yes, you can still make a difference in the world, and we're proud that you'll pursue your dreams here. Welcome to your new home. You're part of what makes America great." (Texas has not had quite as warm a response to refugees.)

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