Open doors, open arms – Asheville Belly dancers and Resonant Rogues raise money for United Nations Refugee Fund
Under her coin scarf and veil, Asheville belly dancer Claire Dima harbors a passion for humanitarian aid.
“The more I heard about the crisis in Syria and Iraq, the more I was convinced I needed to act,” says Dima, who graduated UNC Asheville in 2001 with a degree in history. “The UN has 25% of the funds they need in order to relocate and house people, and I wanted to help.”
“We’re artists,” Dima says. “We don’t have any money – but we can put on a hell of a show. We do what we can to help.”
Sparrow, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for The Resonant Rogues, says she saw the crisis firsthand in France and England.
“It was before the crisis was really on the news,” Sparrow says. “We were coming out of the underground train and we saw all these people running from police.”
Dima says she felt compelled to intervene after the latest Russian bombing campaign. Russian missiles launched into Syria have landed as far away from their targets as Iraq, according to the associated press. The refugee crisis occurring now is the largest diaspora since World War II.
“No matter who you are,” Dima says, “you don’t deserve to have your house bombed.”
Dima says she learned more than international politics at UNCA – she also developed her skills as a belly dancer from the UNCA Belly Dance club. She credits reference librarian Nancy Hayes, the faculty advisor of the club, for her passion for belly dance. The club volunteered tonight at the performance.
“We’re here to help,” says student-volunteer Hannah Capps. “But Claire Dima is really the driving force behind this event.”
Sparrow says the crisis in Europe may seem far away, but we have to remember the displaced people everywhere, whether they be across the ocean or in our backyard.
“In our own communities there are displaced people as well,” Sparrow says. “Everyday people are on the street because they have run out of money, or because they’ve been kicked out of their homes for their beliefs. It’s our responsibility to the community to help these people”
Cory A. Thompson edits The Asheville Current, a local literary news magazine printed once every couple months. Cory studies Anthropology and Mass Communication at UNC Asheville and is expected to graduate this December.