Ten UN agencies join to end female genital mutilation

The United Nations released a story yesterday:

Ten United Nations agencies have banded together to help eliminate the harmful practice of female genital mutilation within a generation, stressing the need for strong leadership and greater resources to protect the health and lives of millions of women and girls. An estimated 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing the procedure – which involves the partial or total removal of external female genital organs – that some 140 million women, mostly in Asia, the Middle East and in Africa, have already endured.


In a statement issued today, the agencies pledged to support governments and communities to abandon female genital mutilation, which remains widespread in many parts of the world, highlighting the damaging effects of the practice on the health of women, girls and newborn babies.


The agencies expressed their concern about the “medicalization” of the practice, whereby it is performed by health professionals in health facilities, and the belief that it enhances a girl’s chastity and chances of marriage by controlling her sexuality.


“We recognize that traditions are often stronger than law, and legal action by itself is not enough,” they said. “Change must also come from within. This is why it is critical for us to join hands and work closely with communities and their leaders so that they can bring about sustainable social change.”

As anyone who has read this blog for a week knows, female genital mutilation is a hot issue here. We applaud all efforts to do away with it. So why does this UN article give me the creeps?

Maybe it’s the wording of that last paragraph I cited. “Change must come from within.” True, you must convince women to stop this horrible custom and men to stop demanding it. But the phrase has the ring of the totalitarian impulse to create the new man. What happens when people refuse to become the new man, or people refuse to give up their tradition? Why then we’ll “join hands and work closely with communities and their leaders so that they can bring about sustainable social change.”  What on earth does that mean? Probably tell them they won’t get any UN aid unless they stop cutting up their little girls. I’d feel better about it if they were honest about their plans.

Actually, there are a lot of efforts by women in countries where FGM is practiced to teach other women that this is not a good idea. I hope what the UN article means is that they’re going to do more of that. So why didn’t they say so? Instead, here’s what they say.

“If we can come together for a sustained push, female genital mutilation can vanish within a generation,” said Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, adding her voice to the pledge made today. “But this goal demands both increased resources and strengthened coordination and cooperation among all of us.”


Angelina Jolie and RRW agree: Help Iraqi refugees where they are

Angelina Jolie, UN goodwill ambassador, has a column today in the Washington Post, Staying to Help in Iraq. She begins:

The request is familiar to American ears: “Bring them home.”

But in Iraq, where I’ve just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

Using UN numbers, which are the ones we’ve used, she says there are more than 2 million Iraqis displaced within their country plus another 2.5 million who have fled Iraq.

I’m not a security expert, but it doesn’t take one to see that Syria and Jordan are carrying an unsustainable burden. They have been excellent hosts, but we can’t expect them to care for millions of poor Iraqis indefinitely and without assistance from the U.S. or others. One-sixth of Jordan’s population today is Iraqi refugees. The large burden is already causing tension internally.

What’s especially interesting is that Jolie understands that the solution lies entirely in finding a way for the refugees to return home, unlike the agencies that think we should bring as many as possible to the U.S.  When you look at the immense number of refugees you’d have to be crazy to think that bringing some tens of thousands here would solve anything.

The Iraqi families I’ve met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don’t want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes — or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.

General Petraeus says he will support new efforts to end the humanitarian crisis.  The Iraqi government is taking action. And the UN is providing humanitarian relief. Jolie continues:

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

…In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money — but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

I’ve got to admire Angelina Jolie, even though she’s a celebrity and on principle I don’t like celebrities. She’s put in some time and learned some things and doesn’t seem a bit silly. The only thing I disagree with her on is her wish that the U.S. should give money to the UN to take care of the refugees. The UN is great at wasting money.  Can’t we find a way to help the Iraqi refugees directly, without using the UN as an intermediary? The Iraqi government is said to be corrupt, so we’d probably be wasting money by giving it to them directly.

Here’s an idea: Why don’t we mount a campaign to build hundreds of thousands of houses in Iraq for the refugees? We could pressure other countries to donate money to help. Our armed forces have good relationships with Iraqis all over the country, who could help figure out where the houses should be built. We’d be providing employment and training for Iraqis. We could send over construction experts and construction workers who are suffering from the homebuilding slowdown here at home to work with the Iraqis.

But such an idea will never become reality. The UN needs its cut. The volags need their business. The Democrats wouldn’t like to pay government money to builders (who probably vote Republican) or to act outside international organizations. Some of them might not even like to see Iraq become a stable place while a Republican is in the White House.

Here’s how the article ends:

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Angelina is a lot more sensible than some of our politicians.

Note from Ann:   State Dept. announced just this past week that big bucks are going to the United Nations.

More refugees headed to Worcester, MA

Because Boston is getting too expensive,   Worcester, MA will be getting increased numbers of refugees according to this article in the Telegram.

The organization [Worcester’s Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center] helped 100 refugees find housing and jobs in Worcester last year, with the majority of families coming from Burma, Burundi and Somalia.


Because of rising housing costs in the Boston area, Worcester is becoming an increasingly popular resettlement area for refugees, leaving agencies looking for more support from Mr. Chacon’s office.

Who is Mr Chacon?

Mr. Chacon, a former journalist and the son of Mexican immigrants, was appointed to the position [Dir, Mass. Office of Refugees and Immigrants] last year, after helping run the campaign of Gov. Deval L. Patrick.

He likes public forums and so do we.  We think that citizens in every city receiving refugees should have an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions on the topic.

Mr. Chacon hopes to organize a forum at some point during the year for agencies that work with refugees in the Worcester area.


“We need to have a lot of activity in this city,” he said. “We need to convene and figure out the best way to support these people.”

If you have the stamina you can read about our public forum in Hagerstown, MD in our category called September forum here.

I have an idea for Mr. Chacon and the Governor, maybe they could resettle a few hundred refugees in Hyannisport since Massachusetts Senator Kennedy is the original sponsor of the Refugee Act of 1980.

Recommended reading list from Ann and Judy

The other day, in response to a comment, I suggested readers check out our blog roll for more on Islam, and I also threatened to post our suggested reading list.   The following are books that Judy and I have read that have helped form our thinking on the subject of Islam and immigration in America:

America Alone by Mark Steyn 

Terrorist Hunter by Anonymous

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer

Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US by Steve Emerson

Because They Hate:  A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America by Brigitte Gabriel

Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left by David Horowitz

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Now they call me Infidel:  Why I renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror by Nonie Darwish

Future Jihad:  Terrorist Strategies against the West by Walid Phares

The West’s Last Chance by Tony Blankley

Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism by Dore Gold

Londonistan by Melanie Phillips

The Truth about Mohammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion by Robert Spencer

The Death of the West by Patrick Buchanan

Infiltration: How Muslim spies and subversives have penetrated Washington by Paul Sperry

The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov

State of Emergency by Patrick Buchanan

The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew Bostom

Disinformation by Richard Miniter

Booklets from the David Horowitz Freedom Center (to order, call 800-752-6562, ext. 209, or go to the Freedom Center’s bookstore, here):

     What Americans Need To Know About Jihad by Robert Spencer

     The Islamic Mein Kampf

     Why Israel Is The Victim In The Middle East by David Horowitz

     The Nazi Roots of Palestinian Nationalism and Islamic Jihad by David Meir-Levi

     The Violent Oppression Of Women In Islam by Robert Spencer and Phyllis Chesler

Listen to the Gathering Storm Radio program tomorrow!

If you are interested in the “Mapping Sharia in America” investigation we posted on the other day—the one where I suggested the odds were excellent that a Muslim refugee coming to America would become radicalized in a mosque here, then check out the Gathering Storm tomorrow afternoon.   See Always on Watch for details.

While you are there make a note of the other Friday afternoons in March, some great guests are scheduled.

Are we doomed to repeat history?

I know that is an entirely overused question, but when I read this article by Patrick Buchanan a couple of days ago I couldn’t help wondering, no matter how many times we hear it, we don’t ever seem to learn from it.

Here is how Buchanan begins in this week after the ethnic flare-ups in the Balkans (again!):

According to a compelling lead article in the new Foreign Affairs, “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,” we may be witnessing in the Third World a re-enactment of the ethnic wars that tore Europe to pieces in the 20th century.


“Ethnonationalism,” writes history professor Jerry Z. Muller of Catholic University, “has played a more profound role in modern history than is commonly understood, and the processes that led to the dominance of the ethnonational state and the separation of ethnic groups in Europe are likely to recur elsewhere.”


Western Man has mis-taught himself his own history.

But, despite the fact that we know this is happening we are encouraging the very same thing to someday happen right here in America.  Our government is actively encouraging, through the Department of State and Health and Human Services, and with the help of taxpayer funded non-profits, the creation of ethnic enclaves through the Refugee Resettlement program.

Earlier this month I reported on a federally funded conference in DC whose main purpose is to create separatist type of organizations called Ethnic Community Based Organizations.  What are we thinking?   Other than cursory little training sessions I have never seen a concerted effort by the government and volags to teach immigrants and refugees how to be Americans, instead there is an effort to honor and enhance separateness.

Right on cue last night I read yet another article where an ethnic group is separating itself, this time Burmese Karen are setting up their own separate Karen language church (it’s not always the Muslims doing this!).

Read the entire Buchanan article, it is just plain commonsense and we need to heed it.   Here is how he wraps up:

And we should look to our own land. According to Pew Research, there will be 127 million Hispanics here by mid-century, tripling today’s 45 million — and almost 100 million new immigrants. No nation faces a graver threat from this resurgence of ethnonationalism than does our own.


Look homeward, America.

Booklet on Refugee Resettlement in Europe

Just came across mention of a booklet published by the International Catholic Migration Commission about refugee resettlement in Europe.   We’ve had several readers asking about how this “durable solution” works in Europe and we didn’t know.  This booklet sounds like it might be a place to start.  I’m betting there is no mention of Raispail’s novel, The Camp of the Saints.

The International Catholic Migration Commission recently published Welcome to Europe: A Guide to Resettlement, which contains a comparative review of partnerships between governments and non-governmental organizations involved in resettlement of refugees in Europe.


The resettlement of refugees is perhaps the least known and most misunderstood of the durable solutions that offer protection to people who have fled persecution in their countries and who can neither return nor stay in the country to which they’ve fled. In fact the actual number resettled in Europe every year is limited; some 5,500 only in 2007.


The Guide assembles on a comparative basis and for the first time most of the information on resettlement as it is practiced in Europe.