Update July 19th: Two former refugee police officers will help new refugees, here.
Here is yet another story about the beauty of diversity in America. From the Post-Standard:
Syracuse, NY — Eight men attacked Hari Rizai while he was walking on Syracuse’s North Side. The attack landed the 22-year-old in the emergency room with swollen eyes and blood gushing from his nose.
Six men attacked two brothers, Ganga and Taro Odari, on Lodi Street. One man pulled out a knife; another punched the brothers in the face and head.
Ten teens pushed Star Toe, 51, to the ground while trying to steal his 9-year-old son’s bike. They spat on his wife, Kyi Toe, when she tried to retrieve their son’s bike. “We feel angry,” Kyi Toe said. “We’re scary. We’re afraid to walk alone.”
These Burmese and Bhutanese refugees and others say they are under attack on the city’s North Side. Some people throw rocks at them, and refugee children say they sometimes are attacked when they get off the school bus or ride their bikes or skateboards. Refugees say they are afraid to walk the streets alone.
Rizai, the Bhutanese refugee attacked on the North Side, said his eyeglasses broke when he was punched repeatedly in the face and head last November in the 800 block of Butternut Street. The attack left his vision in his right eye impaired, he said.
“They hit me and ran away,” he said. “I feel fear to walk the streets at all times. When I see black guys, I get afraid.”
The Odari brothers, who lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for 17 years, said they came to America in March because this country is a safe haven. But they fear for their lives because of the attacks on them and other refugees.
“We came to America to get freedom. We didn’t think we would get beaten,” said Ganga Odari, 34.
“I’m so frustrated, I don’t feel any peace and security,” said Tora Odari, 26. “I don’t have any guarantee for my life. I’m too afraid of them.”
I’m too tired to get into a big yak about this tonight. We have written many many times about American blacks not liking refugees; and about refugee resettlement agencies persisting in placing new arrivals in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Until there is some huge problem (I guess it’s going to take more than beatings and robberies) no one will be willing to discuss how important maintaining one’s culture is (even black city culture) and how people are threatened by newcomers, no matter who they are!
Here is one explanation put forth in this article that could be a problem somewhat lessened if refugee resettlement wasn’t done so secretively and communities received full briefings (IN ADVANCE) on what the refugees do get from the government and their federal contractors, and what they don’t get. I know where I lived the complete lack of transparancy in the program resulted in much misunderstanding.
Some of the tensions stem from economics, she said. African Americans who have experienced racial discrimination for decades feel that refugees are getting more help from the government than they got.
I see in the article there is some effort being made to have little multicultural hand holding sessions, or whatever you want to call them, but virtually nothing is done by the agencies (in the Syracuse case it looks like Catholic Charities and some affiliate of Church World Service) in advance to head off problems and that is where the reform needs to be.
Be sure to check out the over 150 comments posted at this article in the Post-Standard.