Help Zeyad come to America

We all need to help Zeyad, the pioneering Iraqi blogger and journalist, come to America, where he will attend CUNY’s new Graduate School of Journalism. To get his student visa, he must show support for the year and a half that he will be here and that means raising at least $45,000. We are reaching out to foundations and individuals and working on scholarships and Zeyad is working to raise money. But that won’t do it all. We will. All of you inspired Zeyad to blog and give his invaluable perspective on Iraq. That inspired him to give up his career as a dentist and report for his blog as well as for, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. So now I hope we will all show what the blogosphere can do and raise the funds one of our own needs to come to America to study. You have two means to give.

On Zeyad’s site, click on the CONTRIBUTE button and give a donation directly to him via PayPal or credit card.

Or you can give a tax-deductible contribution to CUNY earmarked for Zeyad’s scholarship. Send your check made out to “Cuny Graduate School of Journalism” to:
Dean Steve Shepard
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
535 E. 80th St.
New York, NY 10021
Make sure to note that this is for the “Zeyad Scholarship.”

And please spread the word on all your blogs. Zeyad is one of us and we help our own.

Over the years, many of you kind souls have offered to contribute to a tip jar on my site. Do this instead, please.

Thank you.

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  • While I hope Zeyad is able to come and study at CUNY, I find it odd that the department would create a scholarship fund for a particular prospective student. What about other foreigners who cannot afford to take classes? Might there be another foreign blogger who has better admissions qualifications? Or in more need? Out of fairness for all applicants to the program, perhaps you should be collecting funds outside the institutional framework of the department itself. Or, if the department wants to help people in Zeyad’s situation, don’t make a scholarship just for him, but rather create a scholarship for “foreign bloggers,” and then allow open applications to all of those in need.

  • Andy Freeman

    I wonder why Zimmer isn’t setting up a fund more to his liking.

  • Just shut up and donate.

  • Zimmer,
    You love playing the contrarian, don’t you?
    This is the university funneling the contributions people want to give.
    If you prefer to contribute directly to Zeyad’s Paypal box, please do!!

  • John Lederer

    I’ll donate, but isn’t this a bit perverse? What makes Zeyad so good a journalist is that he has not attended a professional school of jouralism.

    A bit like sending Gandhi to West Point, or Johnny Cash to Julliard…

  • He’s in it for the free beer at frat parties. Does CUNY even have frats?

  • JD

    I’m with John. I might start a fund to pay Zeyad to stay OUT of J-school.

  • Sean

    It pains me to see Americans donating that much money ($45,000!) to any Iraqi to get out, while US soldiers earning half that to free Zeyad’s nation are falling victim to roadside bombs planted by members of Zeyad’s extended family.

    It really sickens me.

    What about a scholarship fund for the US soldiers killed by the Zeyad’s Sunni brethren?

  • John,
    I’ve said since I got to know him that Zeyad is a born journalist.
    I also believe that he can have a critical role in helping build a new news media in Iraq and I hope that the opportunity to stand back and think and learn and act will be helpful for him.
    Yes, there are skills that are useful to learn. But especially today — as wel all reinvent news and how it’s done — it’s beneficial to examine the goals and the means.
    I iam a graduate of a j-school and I was quite disdainful of most of the experience.
    So why the hell am I teaching in one? Because I think this is an important moment in media to work with young people who will not be afraid to reinvent news and news needs that. I think Zeyad brings a unique perspective to this and I look forward to working with him.

    How much more can we generalize? This is a person we are talking about.

  • Sean

    Over 2,000 of these heartwrenching stories, $400 Billion, yet somehow Jeff Jarvis thinks Americans have not yet paid enough for the freedom of 25 million ungrateful Arabs.

  • Sean

    Sure Zeyad is a person. He’s a person who voted against the Iraqi constitution as the Wahhabists asked him to do.

    You know who else WERE people, professor? These guys who gave their lives so that Zeyad could live in a constitutional Democracy. Yet Zeyad “voted against”.

    You single out this Iraqi for your accolades and financial benefit. Yet there are hundreds of American children who no longer have a father or mother because of the Iraqis who “voted against”. They couldn’t use a scholarship to even a local community college?

    What about all the legless and disabled American soldiers who are going to need a helping hand through life now?

    It’s priorities, Mr. Jarvis.

    Americans have a finite number of giving dollars. I’ll be damned if I’ll be stupid enough to do something like hit an Iraqi tip jar or donate for Iraqi schools ever again.

    Iraqis have drained enough from American and Americans. The sooner we let them all rot the better off we’ll be.

  • Wait a sec… I thought this whole war was started to HELP the people of Iraq! Wasn’t that particular goal at least hinted at to us by the Bush Admin? Or could we not tell in all the chatter from blow-hards about finding WMDs?

    So here we come to a point in the road where civilians are honestly trying to help one Iraqi citizen — and all some fellow Americans can do is find fault.

    And as for helping those who are fighting this war for the W Admin, we’re up to about, what is it, 2K apiece per year now in OUR tax dollars to pay for them to be killed and maimed so hideously while trying to provide such good old fashioned “help?”

    Don’t you dare yell at Jeff, Sean, for choosing to spend his extra money where he damn well wants to. We’re all already paying out the ass for this bullshit.

  • UPDATE: I suggested to the Atlanta Press Club, my homies here in the ATL, that they consider ponying-up some scholarship cash to the Zeyad fund. No luck. Got back this reponse:

    “Good thinking, but doesn’t fit our criteria – also much too late for this year’s award… Thanks for thinking of us though!”

    Cute, huh? Least they didn’t put a smiley face on the reply.

  • Oh, for God’s sake, stop turning all life into a rant. Someone wants to come to school here. Help him don’t help him. But don’t turn every individual into a nation into your own symbols. By your language here, you are also turning yourselves into symbols — symbols of the blogosphere and of America. Look in that mirror.

  • Jeez. Sorry. And I’ve given up talk radio for Lent.

  • SomeJoe

    F’n trolls.

    My $25 is in. I’m looking forward to sharing my city and country with Zeyad.

    Jeff, I don’t always agree with you, but I respect you and I trust you what you say about re-inventing j-school. However, I still stand behind my previous comment that Zeyad should be on faculty, not a student.

    There should be a push to get pissed-off Yale alums to send their annual donations to Zeyad and CUNY instead of the Taliban coddling administraiton at Yale.

  • chico haas

    All we need is airfare to Mexico City. Then he can come in when he wants.

  • Sean

    It’s not a rant. I’m angry, yes, but someone had to point out that the idea is not as wonderful as you’d like to think.

    You’re trapped in your journalistic/blogospheric world, and you need some perspective.

    In the big scheme of things, is paying $45,000 to an Iraqi (twice as much as most PFCs earn) so he can live it up in NYC, while Americans die and are maimed trying to help his people, a good use of a donor’s money?

    In light of the other people effected by the confict in Iraq (the 20,000+ American casualties and their families), I think the idea is shameful.

    Folks can do it, sure. I just want to make sure they understand the full picture.

    I recommend that concerned Americans instead visit the right sidebar of, scrolling down to “Support Our Military and Military Families”. Any one of those groups is far more deserving than Zeyad (or any other Iraqi, for that matter).

    As a nation we’ve given more than enough to ALL Iraqis. It’s time to give to some Americans.

  • Good explanation, Jeff. I’m in.

    BTW I can’t figure out to track back to this post….

  • Don’t mean to be contrarian – just concerned about fairness with department-sponsored scholarships. Hope he gets the funds to attend.

  • Sean,

    As someone who fought in Iraq. You do not speak for me. And I doubt that you speak for other soldiers. American soldiers do not enlist and went to Iraq for financial gain. There was a greater purpose for us being there. We are there to make the world a better place – at our own expense I may add.

    A young PFC may make very little money going to Iraq and take enormous personal risk. But he will go home to a prosperous American with great future economic prospect. Personally, as a reservist, I made far less in Iraq than I would made in my civilian job. It was a financial loss, but an incredible gain in personal fullfillment. Those days were the proudest days of my life.

    Your comment is a personal insult to me. You turn our noble purpose into something petty. I want Iraq and Iraqis to succeed, as a nation and as a people. I have friends who have died and wounded in Iraq. If Iraq fail, their sacrifice would be in vain.

    So if helping Zeyad going to America make Iraq a better place, I am all for it.

  • Michael:
    It’s as simple as this: Sending contributions to Zeyad in Iraq is difficult, eh? So if people want to assure the money is going to his education they can do so through CUNY. It’s really that simple. You’re watching the scholarship effort in action right here.

  • Sean,
    It is not a zero-sum game. And, yes, you are ranting. And as you see, you are insulting our soldiers. You don’t want to give? Fine. Don’t give. And move on.

    Thank you so much!
    And thank you for your sacrifice and risk for others.

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  • windknot

    So Jeff,
    If Zeyad goes to J-School, what will he gain? Will he end up yet another ABCCBSNBCCNN-WaPoNYTimesLaTimes, etc. ad nauseum drone that uses AlQaeda talking points to inform his news coverage? How does CUNY differ from the *other* J-schools that seem to churn out such intellectually inferior product?

  • As far as I can see Zeyad was a soldier in the war against Saddam’s fascist regime. He and other Iraqi bloggers risked their lives merely speaking out against the Baathists and other terrorists. The war theater was and is their home.

    If helping Zeyad get a bigger slice of the media pie means he can bring a bit of perspective to pro-democratic Iraqis as they take over this struggle, for which so many people have put their lives on the line, then that’s part of the war effort.

    We all want the ideals our soldiers fought and died for to take root — it’s extremely important to the world’s future that this happen. Responsible Iraqi voters, politicians, and journalists will have to play a role in nurturing this opportunity that the war has created.

    Jeff is asking people who already believe in the contribution Zeyad has made to kick in some help. You (and I’m referring to a couple of the commenters above) may hate fascist-minded Iraqis who are trying to tear apart what Americans have died trying to construct in Iraq, but Zeyad and his family have to live with fascists in their neighborhoods. I want Zeyad and people like him to be able to shout louder than their fascist and theocratic neighbors. So as soon as my bank account rises above a negative balance, I’m going to kick in a pint-sized contribution.

  • Ethan

    I’ve opposed this war like hell from the beginning, but to be against the success of the mission, and to be against individual Iraqis who want to learn–I’m opposed even more to that.

  • JM Hanes

    Thanks Jeff, for bringing this opportunity to our attention. One thing I learned from my late father-in-law is that there’s almost nothing as much fun as giving money away. Whether it’s five dollars or a million doesn’t matter on that score in the least. The American tradition of doing so privately, at every level, is almost unique in the world.

    As someone who has seen a lot of fundraising, I can only offer this small bit of advice to sean, above, When you blast folks for making contributions elsewhere because you believe your cause is worthier, you might as well just stay home and shoot yourself in the foot, because you will not be helping the very cause you care about. You may not like it, but I’m afraid that’s just how it works. If you really want to make a difference, you’re going to have to decide whether you’d rather alienate or solicit potential donors.

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  • Eric

    I’m afraid this one also will be like the former jeff-made hero, Hoder, who humiliated Iranians as well as his own Isrealis hosts in his taboo-breaking! Journey to Israel (Video)
    And read this article

  • C.H.

    Thank you for the information Eric.
    I know Zeyad is against the war, and I know Hoder is a lying regime sympathizer.
    So, I don’t think I’ll be recommending anyone send money.
    There are too many other worthy and needy people who can and should be helped.
    Jeff, if these are the people you choose to help, you need to choose wiser.

  • whodat

    Man– a little dissent and you’re a troll and other such abnormalities. How rude. Sorry, if I’ve got any money to give to someone in search of education, it would have to be someone in our very own public schools.

  • At the risk of being flippant, if Zeyad doesn’t get enough money to go to the US to study journalism, he could make a fortune here in the UK by resurrecting his dentistry career!!!!!!

  • Angelos

    Besides, all the Iraqi schools are up and running! With 24-hour electricity! Shouldn’t he be going to the University of Baghdad?

    Let’s spend $45,000 on body armor, or VA care. Because the government sure isn’t.

  • Another student

    What was his GRE score?

  • W&A: You do whatever you want to do with your money and I will do what I want to do with mine.

  • whodat

    sounds good. I’ll bet some of my money he never goes back there.

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  • Jeff, does CUNY have a website for donations? American abroad here who lives a pretty check-free existence & I really have a thing against paypal donations to someone I don’t know in RL. Will make an exception if necessary, but still…

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  • This is the first I have heard of Zeyad, but from Jeff’s post I applaud him for his efforts to help him.


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