I’ve been using PayPal for about 10 years as an online tool to pay for different products I buy online and for the past 4 years to receive donations, tiny they were, through a PayPal donation button on this site.
Last week, and approaching the next payment to renew some of the services I use online to keep this and other sites running, I created a Fundrzr campaign to earn some dollars, and then troubles started.
The campaign looked promising as within the first day I received two donations, one was $100 from an anonymous user, and another anonymous donated $2 to the campaign, little I knew that this would be harmful to me as a Syrian.
I did run a previous campaign on Fundrzr over a year ago and it was successful enough to raise $150 barely enough but much needed that time to pay a developer who helped mitigate a severe DDoS attack to bring the site down.
“PayPal tends to have very strict policies around any topic of the area , we’ve seen this with a few other campaigns as well.
Where are you located specifically? I see that the campaign is located in Hamburg, but there yourself? Outside of North America, we currently have very limited payment processor options through our site. If you have a bank located in Germany, it may be possible for you to use the payment processor Stripe instead of PayPal, but it is very likely that you would run into the same issue with them.
Otherwise, PayPal is currently our only international payment service that we have a partnership with at the moment, so if you are not able to bank in Germany our platform may not be the right fit for your cause as we cannot receive funds through any other means onto your campaign.
If you do have a bank available in Germany for the use of the campaign, I would highly recommend that you reach out to Stripe’s customer support to inquire about the use of funds for the news site. They would be able to give you a more detailed answer on what you can and cannot do through their service. You can reach them here if needed: https://support.stripe.com/”Reply from Fundrazr when questioned about reason for PayPal response and alternative methods to use.
What could go wrong this time? Well, Trump, or the ‘Deep State’ (aka Swamp, he promised to dry) which in turn controls Trump, they had another idea. Remember the infamous Muslim Ban? That was the least of my concerns, as I never would like to be molested by a TSA agent to enter the ‘Land of the Free’.
Residing in Germany for the past couple of decades and being a German citizen didn’t help in this case, as I still proudly keep my Syrian passport.
PayPal froze the incoming $102 dollars each one as it came in, promised to release the first one on 3rd of January after their investigations, then they pushed the release date until 7th, then blocked my 10 years old account altogether!
They did refund the donors, luckily, however, they blocked the whole balance available with them claiming they want to keep sufficient funds to refund whoever has paid me earlier and wants to dispute that payment. They blocked the mighty $1.90 balance in full, yes One Dollar Ninety Cents…
“we noticed an issue regarding your account requiring additional review”, the first message came in with the email titled: ‘Your account has been limited‘. That’s fine, I told myself, let them review, I’ve not committed any illegal activity, but seems I have been doing an illegal activity for the past 40 years of my life, without knowing it.
My illegal activity that I need to be punished for by the US’s Deep State and all the entities it controls worldwide is that I was born in Syria and carry my Syrian citizenship.
Syria does allow its citizens to have dual citizenship, and that’s the case of the vast majority of Syrians abroad; who would ever think of disavowing themselves from their homeland? Especially Syrians?
Better Safe than Smart
To cut it short, no more PayPal account for me, they didn’t care about the long history we had of all legal transactions and the thousands of dollars they made out of me when the situation was better and I was paying for goods and services using their service.
PayPal simply blocked the whole account from transactions as a blanket punishment out of their little understanding of the Trump ban. The US imposed sanctions against some Syrian entities and individuals because they wanted their Regime Change in Syria to be successful by punishing the ordinary citizens, and PayPal blocked everything Syrian.
PayPal took the lazy, colonialist-impunity route in this suspension. Had its legal team actually read the State Department’s long, illicit list regarding sanctions against Syria it would have seen there was absolutely no breach in the Fundrazr statement.
Instead, it chose the path of totalitarian censorship used by other fraud-neutral entities, such as Google’s YouTube.
I might have walked away with the least damage so far, they froze my balance of $1.90 with them for 180 days. But this has caused me inconvenience until I find an alternative to their monopoly.
My strong advice to fellow Syrians, which I can extend to the Syrian government: Apply the Principle of Reciprocity, at least, and impose sanctions in an equal manner on those who imposed sanctions on us.
Impose sanctions on US businesses, individuals, ban everything USAian, the US during the past almost 8 years of its ‘War of Terror’ it waged against the Syrian people has imposed sanctions on medicine, food, wire transfers between Syrians in the US, one of the oldest communities there, to their families in Syria when much needed.
Add to it an intentional delay in issuing visas to US individuals who want to visit Syria of 3 weeks, issue a permanent ban on those who entered Syria illegally in the past 8 years without visa, and instruct Syrian Customs and immigration officials at Syria’s sea, land, and airports, to molest any US citizen coming into Syria.
For sure no Syrian entity or individual will take money out of Syria to invest it in the USA, but definitely many US entities and maybe individuals would be interested in investing in Syria’s rebuilding, and investing in notable sectors like the oil and gas, aviation, transportation, urban design and planning, and project management.
Let’s Make Syria Great Again.
Avoid further losses and let the regime of Donald Trump come to the negotiation table if they want to open a business with Syria, if not, the world is much better without them and their Syrian, Libyan, Somalian, Vietnamese, Korean, Serbian, Yemeni, Lebanese, Palestinian… blood-stained money and businesses.