The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at msmith@ithacavoice.com.

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ITHACA, NY – The plight of refugees has a human face: the child torn from her family, the father desperately seeking food.

With an estimated 70 million displaced people in 2016, understanding the history of refugees and their current situation is critical, and nowhere more so than in the Middle East.

To further this understanding, the Ithaca Coalition for Unity and Cooperation in the Middle East (ICUCME) presents a series on refugees, turning the spotlight on groups forgotten by history as well as current refugees in danger of the same experience.

The series opens with two films at Cinemapolis, 120 E Green St, Ithaca. “Forgotten Refugees” spotlights some of the 800,000 refugees who fled Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Morocco from 1947-1950, their homes and belongings confiscated and gone forever. The film, screening April 4 at 7 pm, tells the story of what they lost and how they rebuilt their lives.

The second film, “The Last Jews of Baghdad: End of an Exile, Beginning of a Journey,” on April 11 at 7 pm, includes a talk by the Iraqi director, Carole Basri.

She presents a personal and historical view of the persecution, torture, and flight of over 160,000 Jews from Iraq between the years 1940 and 2003.

The final event in the series will focus on Syrians fleeing the brutal Syrian civil war, where more than 10% of the civilian population has been killed.

Volunteers from Ithaca have gone to Greece to help the refugees landing there, and the presentation will detail those experiences and present a human picture of the continuing refugee crisis. This event will likely take place in late April.

ICU-CME is a grass-roots anti-racist community organization working to bring a constructive approach into dialogue about Israel and the Greater Middle East. As a non-partisan organization, ICU-CME embraces fact-based, respectful dialogue, mutual recognition, and cooperation to promote understanding and support peace in the region.

For the films, tickets are $10.50 for adults, $7 for students and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on line, at http://bit.ly/1R90cu5 for “Forgotten Refugees” and at http://bit.ly/1RSyaQw for “The Last Jews of Baghdad.” Pay-what-you-can and discounted group tickets are available by emailing ithacacucme@gmail.com in advance.

For more information about ICU-CME, see facebook.com/IthacaCoalition.

(Featured image from DVD coverart of “The Forgotten Refugees”)

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.