Posted by Judy K. Warner on March 22, 2008
It’s a moving story. The Christian Post reports that Christian refugees from Iraq will be coming to France, thanks to the initiative of one government official.
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner confirmed the plans in a joint television and radio interview, The Associated Press reported. He said he hoped the Iraqis, particularly from the Chaldean Catholic church, will be in France within weeks.
“No one” is taking in Iraqi Christians, Kouchner said, according to AP. The foreign minister noted that Paris has a community of Chaldeans.
Kouchner went to Iraq in 2007 and saw how badly off the Chaldeans were.
Kouchner, who was born to a Jewish father and Protestant mother, noted the drastic drop in the Iraqi Christian population – from about 1.1 million to about half a million.
“Their persecution continues, daily, and the fact that, admittedly, they aren’t the only people being persecuted – certainly not in Baghdad or elsewhere in the country – doesn’t make it acceptable,” he stated, according to the Embassy of France in the United Kingdom.
“They are especially targeted. I realized this and am going to try, at my small scale, and remedy it.”
Kouchner is an interesting man. He was a communist but got kicked out of the Party. He co-founded Doctors Without Borders. He has held a lot of government positions. From Wikipedia:
Kouchner is a long-time advocate of humanitarian intervention. In early 2003, he pronounced himself in favour of removing Saddam Hussein as President of Iraq, arguing that interference against dictatorship should be a global priority, and continued to say that now, the focus should be on the actual people themselves, and that they are the only ones who could answer yes or no to war.
It’s refreshing to read about such a straightforward and humane man in a high position in government. His attitude is: They’re Christian, they’re persecuted, they’re coming to France. The person who holds the corresponding position in our government is Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State. I can’t imagine her doing anything so bold, or so humane.
Posted in Christian refugees, Iraqi refugees | 2 Comments »
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 22, 2008
The blogger’s name is Jen and she posts from Fargo, ND. It’s pretty clear from a quick tour of her blog, Notes from the North Country, that she is a liberal political activist and refugee resettlement supporter. Go and check out this post entitled “Integration” for a look at her views on refugee resettlement. I found some of her comments enlightening. First she tells us that “assimilation” is officially out. She and the Pittsburgh student we wrote about here are reading from the same refugee lingo book.
Assimilation is no longer an official goal (that was more when we were a melting pot); the latest buzz word in refugee resettlement is “integration.” The number one goal of refugee resettlement is “early economic self-sufficiency.” Put another way, welcome to America! Get a job. Now. Seriously. Right now. And lest you think refugees get special favors, not only do they pay taxes from the get go, they also arrive in the U.S. with a debt: they must repay the U.S. for their air travel here, an interest-free loan.
Well, not exactly on that loan bit, many don’t ever repay it and the State Department carries hundreds of millions of unpaid debt that they periodically just write-off to make the books look good.
Then she confirms that in the early days, the 1980s, refugees were resettled by individual churches. Today it involves an assortment of taxpayer funded agencies and actors. Does she wish it was done in the old way? It almost sounds like it.
Even in the 1980s, most refugees in the Fargo region (most were Vietnamese) were sponsored by churches. Now there are multiple agencies, committees, and partnerships to serve the needs of refugees and to integrate them into their new society.
Here Jen gives us another look inside the mind of a refugee advocate and it comes back to our theme of recent days—gratitude and whether we (America) owe something to the world. The Obama/preacher brouhaha has brought this to the forefront in many minds. The best way to turn off people with whom one wishes to “integrate” is to act as if ones misfortune is all America’s fault, to insist that one is owed something and thus appear ungrateful. In this passage Jen admits refugees are complaining. What are they complaining about, the weather, or are the resettlement agencies falling down on the job?
Some locals in Fargo respond to complaints by saying if newcomers aren’t grateful, then they should go back to their home countries. In most cases, the conflicts in those countries had something to do with wheelings and dealings of the U.S.
Yup, and thus we owe them.
Posted in blogging, Changing the way we live, Refugee Resettlement Program | Comments Off
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 22, 2008
This story is a bit confusing. I’ve read several versions of the same story in the refugee resettlement news for the last couple of days and this one is the clearest. It seems that the UN’s chickens have come home to roost. The UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) is attempting to repatriate Liberians from camps they have lived in in countries such as Ghana for as long as 20 years.
These are just poor people who have been housed and fed for, in some cases, most of their lives. They don’t face violence if they go home, just poverty, so some 600 women staged a demonstration recently and have been removed from the camp.
ACCRA, Ghana (AFP) – “Ghana is not nice.” That is how Tina Johnson, a 22-year-old Liberian refugee, describes the country that has been her home for around 15 years. “I want to go to Norway or Canada,” she says.
Like Tina, hundreds of other refugees in Ghana want to be resettled anywhere but Liberia.
Dissatisfied with plans by the United Nations refugee agency to repatriate them, they recently staged daily demonstrations outside the gates of the main Buduburam Refugee Camp, about 30 minutes’ drive from Ghana’s capital Accra.
Police intervened Tuesday because of what Nana Obiri Boahene, a minister of state at the interior ministry, described as “anarchic conditions”.
Under the UN plans, they will be given 100 dollars (65 euros) and sent back to war-torn Liberia to start life all over again. The refugees are demanding 1,000 dollars and resettlement in a third country.
“I am not very well educated, when I go to Liberia how will I live?” she asks. “In Norway or Canada, at least I will get a chance.
Wouldn’t you think that as long as the UN is taking care of these people, it might at least teach them a useable trade.
As long as the UN keeps running these warehousing-type camps and holding out hope that the excess human population will be moved to the West or Australia or New Zealand, there is no incentive for Africa to solve its own problems.
Posted in Other refugees | 6 Comments »