You are here
RRN News Feeds
How the music of Wales and Egypt's Nubian musicians will collide during a new ...
Both Welsh and Nubian lands have their own language and both share in the suffering caused by displacement and forced migration from drowned lands. The artists sing about the ensuing problems and efforts to maintain their unique identities. The Damned ...
Fars News Agency
Militants Resume Fierce Infighting in North Syria
Fars News Agency
The clashes broke out after a car bomb ripped through a crowded refugee camp, killing several people and injuring scores more. A recent British defense study showed that about 100,000 militants, fragmented into 1,000 groups, are fighting in Syria ...
and more »Google News
200000 Remain Displaced
Voice of America
We're now down from a peak of 350,000 internally displaced people in June of 2013. And there are currently roughly 200,000 internally displaced people, who have fled the violence in the north during Mali's crisis. What IDMC is trying to call attention ...
North Texan Recalls System That Saved Holocaust Children From Nazis
A photo taken on December 2, 1938 of some of the 5,000 Jewish and non-Aryan German child refugees, the 'Kindertransport', arriving in England at Harwich from Germany. (credit: Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images). Newsreel footage from that time is ...
The Guardian (blog)
Richard Bell: 'Asylum-seeker policy is a manifestation of Australian racism'
The Guardian (blog)
Richard Bell: 'Asylum-seeker policy is a manifestation of Australian racism'. Perth festival: The artist talks to Van Badham about activism through art, responses to a conservative government, and the controversial sponsorship of the Sydney Biennale by ...
WATCH: Inspiration from a child soldier
Sponsored content is written by Global News' without any editorial influence by the sponsor. If you'd like to learn more... The important role of teachers is highlighted as a former Ugandan child soldier visits the Okanagan to raise funds for African ...
Calling someone 'foreign swine' or 'filthy asylum seeker' is NOT racist, rules ...
Switzerland's top court says calling someone 'foreign swine' or 'filthy asylum seeker' is insulting, but not racist. A Swiss policeman had appealed against his conviction for racial discrimination for abusing an Algerian man arrested in 2007 on ...
Swiss court rules police officer's slurs did not breach anti-racism lawThe Guardian
Swine insult 'not racist' - SwissBelfast Telegraph
Switzerland rules in favor of officer slursPress TV
all 77 news articles »
Shamso reaches around my neck to reposition a fringed end of the gold trimmed navy scarf that she picked out for me. The scarf, made of soft cotton, feels surprisingly heavy after she wraps, rolls and tucks the material into place just above the collar of my puffy black winter jacket.
Standing back with her hands on her hips to assess, and in her own vibrant fuchsia and gold print headscarf, she squints. It’s not quite right. Shamso leans in and gently tugs at the fabric above my forehead. She nods, smiles and says something in Somali to Maryan, who also seems to approve of my new East African look.
When I suggest a photo with the two women I have just met, Shamso reaches in her pocket, whips out her iPhone, holds it out with one hand and then snaps a few photos while we smile and lean in together with a backdrop of fluorescent light panels and the vibrant inventory of shopping stall 137, which includes hanging scarves, as well as neon animal, striped and floral print gowns, skirts and leggings.
It’s an “I’d-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing-in-perfect-harmony” moment, and I’m on a giddy global high. About 30 minutes earlier, I had trudged with my dad through the sloppy, tire-churned-up Uptown snow toward Suuga Karmel, a Somali market in Minneapolis. The powder blue concrete complex with colorful murals of dessert scenes, including a camel caravan and palm trees, definitely seems out of place since snow banks jut up from the sidewalk leading to the entrance.
Mogadishu on the Mississippi
I came to the market to do research for an article on refugees relocating to the Twin Cities. Since 1993, two years after the brutal civil war broke out in their country, Somali refugees have been coming to Minnesota. The US State Department, along with other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), selected Minnesota as relocation region for Somalis based on criteria, including available resources, volunteer agencies and social services offered through the state.
Minnesota has a strong network of non-governmental volunteer agencies (VOLAGS) committed to help displaced people get settled and acclimated to their new country. Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities and World Relief Minnesota are among the VOLAGS with which the State Department contracts.
In an interview with a CBS Minnesota, Dr. Ahmed Samatar, dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College, who was born in Somalia, says the Minnesota VOLAGS “are known to be welcoming, and they invest a significant time of labor and resources to help people find some comfort here and hope.”
“As Somalis settle down, find a life, the good news spreads: ‘Hey this is a good place, you can find a life here,” maintains Samatar.
It’s been 20 years since the first Somali wave of refugees arrived, and now with around 32,000 residents with Somali heritage currently living in Minnesota, the state has the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia. More than half of this population lives in Hennepin County, so as a result, Minneapolis has been dubbed, “Mogadishu on the Mississippi.”
Back to the scarves…
After the photo session, for some reason, it now seems necessary to expand my headscarf collection. While sliding hangers along a metal circular rack, l choose a teal scarf with the same gold trim as the navy one I’m wearing. Holding it next to my face, I show Maryan, who has been scrutinizing scarves for me.
“Does this look okay on me?”
“Yes,” she laughs. “Because you are white.”
That’s right. I am white. Maryan’s statement takes me aback. Not because it is offensive, but I think I had temporarily forgotten about nationality and race. For a moment, I was just a woman getting advice from other women on fashion accessories and whether I’m a “winter” or a “summer.” And, really, Maryan is referring to what complements my skin tone.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect at Suuga Karmel. My dad, who also was curious about the market, and I had entered the complex through its food court, where many Somali men watched what appeared to be news coming out of the Horn of Africa. I scanned the area, looking around at nothing in particular since I didn’t know whether a strange woman making eye contact with a Muslim man was disrespectful.
The bright orange walls gave the whole place a warm feeling. And while the spices emanating in the air from the sizzling grills were new to me, a President Obama calendar hanging on the wall by one food stall’s cash register lent a familiar feeling to the court. In addition to watching the news, Muslim men in white prayer caps sat, reading newspapers and playing cards. Several of the patrons sported an orange tint in their beards.
My dad bought a Coke and sat down at a table as I left the food court. Turning the corner, I found a shopping wing. Since it was quiet time of day, several of the shopkeepers must have been on a break. The stalls looked like the overstuffed compartments of a 64-pack crayon box crowded with color.
Scarves dominated the space. They hung from the walls, doorways, racks and others were vacuumed packed in plastic wrap lying in piles, on shelves and in a nearby chest of open drawers.
I headed to a circular rack, and that’s when I saw Shamso and Maryan. Sitting in plastic patio chairs, the middle-aged women looked over at me and smiled.
“These are beautiful scarves,” I said.
“Do they keep you warm in this weather?” I resorted to the universal icebreaker — talking about weather. Essentially, it works everywhere, especially in Minnesota, where climate is almost always a conversation starter.
“Yes, yes,” Shamso said.
“This winter is very cold.” She crossed her arms and made a shivering motion. She was wearing a long skirt with a cute striped, double-breasted surfer girl jacket.
“I bet it is very different than Somali,” I came closer. Considering the Polar Vortex had just blown through, I wondered if there was even a word for the weather phenomenon in Somali.
Maryan wore a long heavy tweed coat and a vibrant orange headscarf with another red scarf wrapped around her neck. Motioning for me to join them, Maryan got up and brought another plastic chair over.
I sat with the women and we talked about life.
“Do you like America?”
“America is good if you have a job,” Maryan maintained. She had been in the US for two years, living first in Tucson then Kansas City. Neither place had worked out for her, so Minneapolis was her home at the moment.
I asked Shamso about her business, and she scrolled through her iPhone for a photo. She leaned over and showed me an image of her hennaing the hands of Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis. In the photo, Mayor Hodges wore a headscarf and smiled while Shamso was at work bent over the mayor’s hand. The next photo was of Mayor Hodges hugging Shamso.
“How do the men feel about you having the shop?”
Shamso made what I interpret to be a “so-so” gesture, and then she checked her phone again.
I asked Maryan about her family. From what I could gather, Maryan had left her son with relatives in Africa. She looked at me with an expression in her eyes that needs no translation for a mother — or really any compassionate human being.
“America is hard,” she said.
Attending to parking ramps.
I can only imagine. I first noticed Somali refugees, particularly women, in 1995 when I moved back to my home state from California to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota. I remember on one sub-zero day, I rolled down my car window to pay for parking at one of the university’s parking ramps. In the small booth, a petite woman with a beautiful silk headscarf slid the glass window open, extended her arm and took my ticket. With the window still open she stated what I owed. I handed her the money, and she gave change back to me with a smile. I said thank you, and she said goodbye.
Talk about culture and climate shock — knowing she was probably Somali, I wondered how she ended up in Minnesota.
She wasn’t the only one. Women of East African decent seemed to dominate parking attendant positions everywhere. After a night out with friends, I exited an Uptown parking ramp at 2 a.m. during another Arctic phase. Again, a beautiful, smiling woman in a silk headscarf, who looked my age, was stationed in the booth. Clearly, she was working the midnight shift in a job that very few people would actually choose to do during a Minnesota winter.
My dad finally finds me chatting and looking at scarves with Shamso and Maryan. As I introduce him, they invite my dad to join us back at the patio chairs. Both women begin talking in Somali and Shamso walks over to a bakery located next to her stall. Maryan tells us Shamso is getting tea. “It’s very good,” she says.
Shamso speaks to an older gentleman behind the counter who wears a striped tunic, Buddy Holly glasses and a white knit hat. The same orange tint we saw earlier decorates his beard. It looks like the color of Mary J. Blige’s hair during the mid 1990s. He begins handing Shamso Styrofoam cups of tea.
It is sweet in just the right way, reminding me of sweet tea from the US’s South, only hot. I wonder if Southerners know they have the same palate as Somalis.
“What is the orange in the man’s beard?” I ask since it seems like such a prominent trend with Somali men.
“Henna,” both Shamso and Maryan state in unison.
Another woman in an abaya arrives during teatime. She is younger and knows more English. Again, the topic of the harsh winter comes up. She agrees it is the coldest in the 17 years she has lived in Minnesota.
“I was scared about the idea of ice,” she says, recalling her first Minnesota winter when she was 12 years old. “I thought ice cubes would, like, fall from the sky. And that it would hurt.”
She says she’s getting old. “I used to wear cute little jackets and now I wear two sweaters.” A vision of her in a pair of skinny jeans with a sassy cropped jacket pops into my head. I remember that I used to wear penny loafers without socks in January. Now I have boats lined with sheepskin.
In order to beat the height of Twin Cites rush hour traffic, my dad and I get ready to leave and say goodbye. Also on a giddy global high, my dad pays for the three scarves I am trying to decide between. As we trudge back to our car, I still have the navy headscarf on. It’s surprisingly warm.
Call for Papers: Trasnational Social Review: ‘Linking Migration and Social Policy’
We are very pleased to inform you that TSR will be published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group starting in 2014. Due to its high demand it will be published three times a year from now on. We are very excited about this new cooperation and the new possibilities and development for TSR. More information will be soon available on the website: www.tandfonline.com/rtsr.
We also would like to refer to the Call for Papers for the focused topic on “Linking Migration and Social Policy” of TSR. We are looking for contributions that shed light on the myriad ways in which migration and social policy are interrelated based on concrete examples that are relevant to social work and related fields of study. The guest editors Dr Eberhard Raithelhuber and Professor Dr Wolfgang Schröer welcome the submission of contributions. The deadline for submission of full articles is April 1, 2014. Please find the complete Call for Papers attached [Moderator's note: please find the Call below].
Please consider submitting and distributing the Call.
Prof Dr Cornelia Schweppe
Research Cluster “Transnational Social Support”
Journal “Transnational Social Review – A Social Work Journal”
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Institute of Education
55099 Mainz, Germany
CALL FOR PAPERS
Linking Migration and Social Policy
Deadline for submission of articles:
April 1, 2014
For the focused topic on “Linking migration and social policy” in the journal “Transnational
Social Review – A Social Work Journal” (TSR), the guest editors Eberhard Raithelhuber and
Wolfgang Schröer hereby invite you to submit proposal abstracts.
Migration and social policy are treated as two strands of study which for the most part are not linked systematically. This is true though both are strongly connected to and regulated
through the nation state and related institutions, e.g. in their everyday boundary work, above
all with regard to the institution of citizenship. Sensational stories in the public discourse of
Western welfare states, e.g. on the “abuse” of social security systems by internationally
mobile people, reflect the strong but differential ties between the two issues – ties that are
both fabricated and highly contested not only in political practice, but also in everyday social
work and in related areas.
Recently, in an era of intensified globalization, transnationalization and mobility, the “old” modes of welfare regulation have started to change crucially, which is also true for migration
policy, while all of this generates “spillover” effects on the future of social work and related fields of theory, research and practice. We believe that looking closely and simultaneously at
the point where migration and social policy meet helps us to gain a better and more nuanced understanding how each of the two fields operates and how both develop jointly. In a broader perspective, changes in migration policy and in social welfare policy have been theorized and researched with regard to their impacts on citizenship, especially by researchers viewing social rights as a dependent variable of status within a national framework. Thus, both the negotiation of citizenship (especially for migrants with precarious status) and the lived citizenship reflected in the experiences of migrants, frontline workers or public agents are becoming important areas of interest. Nevertheless, only a small number of researchers make a strong link between changes in citizenship and welfare regulation on the one hand and migration on the other, taking into account their simultaneous interrelatedness to a number of processes on multiple scales. In this respect it is challenging, but also promising to reconstruct the frames, layers and trans-national contexts of these social and political regulations of migration and welfare policies. This complex perspective is yet to be explored, although some encouraging work has already been done. Seen in this light the question has to be asked of how these social policies and related translation processes construct migration, and – vice versa – how migration and related policies construct social policy. Therefore, we are looking for contributions that shed light on the myriad ways in which migration and social policy are interrelated based on concrete examples that are relevant to social work and related fields of study. Abstracts are invited for original articles including theoretical reviews, conceptual contributions and empirical research responding to (but not limited to) the following questions:
. How are migration-related ideas, images and concepts (e.g. categorizations)
employed or rendered relevant or irrelevant in concrete social policy measures
and practices, e.g. in the context of human service provision, and – vice versa -
how are social policy-related ideas, images and concepts engendered in
migration policy, including policy measures and practices?
. How and how far do practices in social work bring about concrete, practical forms
of migration policy and – vice versa – how do practices in migration and migration
policy generate and impact on concrete forms of social work and social policy?
. How are migration and migration policy linked to the formation of and changes in
national and transnational social policy (and related institutions and practices) and
how are concrete social practices in social work and related areas informed by
. How are these specific links between migration and social policy (e.g. in the
context of temporary worker programs) as well as related practices in social work
and welfare disturbed by the sometimes unexpected self-images, self-positionings
and actions of migrants and mobile people, including their self-organizations and
supporters, and how do they react towards them?
. How is knowledge in social policy created through the cross-border migration of
people and ideas, and – vice versa – how does the development and employment
of social policy shape knowledge in respectively on migration?
The guest editors welcome the submission of contributions. The deadline for submission of
full articles is April 1, 2014. The following table contains all deadlines and the time schedule
of the focused topic on “Linking Migration and Social Policy.”
April 1, 2014: Submission of articles
June 15, 2014: Peer review
July 15, 2014: Revision of articles, if necessary
July 21 2014: Final submission of publishable articles to Routledge
September 22, 2014: Online publication date
October 1, 2014: Print publication date
Articles are to be up to 8,000 words in length and authors are required to include an abstract of up to 150 words and up to six keywords, suitable for indexing and online search purposes. The authors are responsible for submitting proof-read and formatted articles. For the manuscript preparation please use the style sheet and the formatting guideline, which are available at: www.tss.uni-mainz.de/103.php.
Inquiries and all proposals should be sent to the guest editors of the focused topic on “Linking Migration and Social Policy”:
Dr Eberhard Raithelhuber
Professor Dr Wolfgang Schröer
University of Trier (until March 31, 2014)
Institute of Education
University of Hildesheim
Institute of Social Work and Organization Studies
Marienburger Platz 22
Concept and Objective of the Journal TSR
“Transnational Social Review – A Social Work Journal” is a peer-reviewed journal that offers an international forum to discuss social work and related disciplines and professions from a
transnational perspective. It responds to the challenges resulting from the increasing impact of transnational social, political, economic, and cultural processes and structures upon social
work. The journal aims to open up and develop social work and related fields on a transnational level. Its main objective is to improve prospects for making the concept of transnationalism part of the knowledge structure and practice, in order to extend and transform the legitimation, concepts, research, and methods which to date are primarily nationally focused.
Frequency and Structure of the Journal TSR
TSR appears three times a year, guided by an international team of editors and board members at Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group in the United Kingdom. The journal pursues an interdisciplinary approach and fits the criteria of the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). All articles undergo rigorous peer reviews, based on initial editor screening and anonymous reviews by two or more referees to ensure the high quality of the journal. TSR is available online as well as in print. Its main publishing language is English but the online version offers the option to include versions of the contributions in the language in which they are originally written. Each issue consists of a cluster of articles focusing on a certain topic as well as general articles and book reviews. Additionally, the online version includes an open access section containing brief, up-to-date reports on research, teaching, social policies, practices and everyday life concerning the transnational worlds of social work.
. 1/2014 Religion and Social Work – Transnational Perspectives (call closed)
. 2/2014 Social Services and Transnationality (call closed)
. 3/2014 Linking Migration and Social Policy
Download individual articles from each issue: http://www.tandfonline.com/rtsr. For any question regarding the journal, visit our website or contact our Journal Manager: Claudia Olivier, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Institute of Education, 55099 Mainz, Germany, phone: +49 (0)6131 39-20794, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, TSR website: http://www.tsr-journal.com.
Filed under: Call For Papers, Events Tagged: call for papers, events
Federal official visits Maine refugee business owners: Photos
Ali Rikan, a resettled refugee from Iraq and manager of Babylon Restaurant, which is owned by his brother and sister, meets with Anne Richard, assistant secretary of state. Richard came to Maine on Friday to meet with local resettled refugees ...
When I was working in the Pentagon as the Chief of Staff to a high-ranking political appointee in the Clinton Administration, I was exposed to a lot of decisions that had a lasting impact on real people’s lives. I came to understand that despite what some may opine, those officials do understand the importance of their decisions and do not take them lightly. As the change-over from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration occurred, I asked my boss what his biggest regret might be. Without hesitation, he said “Rwanda.” I have heard similar regrets expressed about Rwanda privately and in public interviews from other Clinton era officials and from the president.
As you may remember, in the spring and early summer of 1994 an estimated 700,000 Rwandans were murdered (some estimates place the number of Rwandans killed as over a million). In simple terms it was a genocidal slaughter of members of the Tutsi tribe (the minority tribe in Rwanda) by the majority Hutu tribe which also controlled the government and the majority of military and police forces. Ordinary Hutu civilians were recruited to help with the slaughter and often neighbors turned on neighbors. It was horrific. Unfortunately, this is not so uncommon in the history of mankind around the world. What made this the one international incident that the officials involved wish they could do over again was the fact that the international community did nothing to stop the killing. After all, it was an unimportant African nation that had no impact on US national interests and it was “a local conflict.”
In my view our current administration will look back on Syria and have the same regrets that those in our government in 1994 have about Rwanda. By most credible reports, over 100,000 Syrian civilians have been systematically killed and an estimated 2 million more have fled their country as refugees to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. Those countries are struggling with the economic and security implications of such a massive influx of people. This is a major crisis after nearly three years of civil war. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is systematically killing off those civilians still in contested cities and areas of the country through starvation and the calculated use of indiscriminate “barrel bombs” (essentially 55 gallon drums filled with explosives, gasoline and shrapnel pushed out the back of helicopters and that can level homes and make buildings uninhabitable — a very inexpensive but very efficient way of instilling fear and killing people.)
Bashar is supported by the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah and there is very little will in the rest of the world to put an end to the civil war. Meanwhile the killing continues unabated.
After two ground wars in the Muslim world, there is very little to no interest for the United States to get involved militarily. We proved our disinterest last fall when Bashar used chemical weapons against his own citizens. If the United States is not interested, then much of the rest of the world is also going to stand-off rather than get involved. There have been some efforts, funneled primarily through Saudi and Qatari sources, to get small arms and some humanitarian relief to the forces opposing Bashar and the trapped civilians, respectively.
Oh, and let’s not forget last September’s negotiated settlement to remove chemical weapons from Syria in lieu of bombing that country. After a surprisingly effective start, very little of the chemical stockpile has been removed or destroyed and the disarmament is well behind schedule. At the same time, Bashar has discovered that he does not need chemical weapons to kill thousands of his countrymen — starvation and barrel bombs work just fine without incurring the wrath (in the form of military strikes) of the rest of the world.
To me, this is not merely a civil war (“a local conflict”) that has no impact on US national interests. In addition to the humanitarian aspects of the crisis — which is an important principle of American international relations — there are important economic and security issues at stake. The major influx of refugees is having a destabilizing impact on the adjacent nations, especially Lebanon (already in a very precarious state) and Jordan (a long time source of stability in the area and a friend of the United States). As in Iraq and Afghanistan, future terrorists are getting on-the-job-training in the heat of combat. Areas of several nations are not under government control and as we found in Afghanistan, this leads to what amounts to safe havens for ne’er-do-well types that have very bad intentions towards the United States. Additionally, it leaves Israel in a precarious position as other bad actors have a base to threaten their security. The list goes on, but the point is that the fallout from Syria’s civil war could have a profound long-term impact on important American national security interests. Yet, we are doing very little to end it. Recent talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition leaders sponsored by the United States and other western nations went nowhere. Worse than nowhere because now the participants see no reason to negotiate — if ever negotiations were actually possible.
So the question is what should the United States do about this situation? To use a long-standing diplomatic phrase, “I don’t know.” The majority of Americans and the Congress clearly demonstrated last fall that they have no desire to get involved militarily. At. All. (There may be some point in the future where we may find that we have no choice but to get involved due to the course of events.) For now, no way, no how, is there the will to get the United States military involved — even to stop the helicopters from dropping the barrel bombs through a no-fly zone, as was used successfully in other conflicts such as Bosnia, Iraq, and Libya.
I have no magic wand to get our government or the international community involved to stop the systematic elimination of thousands of lives. Ideas that have been put forward include giving the opposition forces more money, food and much better and more powerful weapons than they’ve been supplied thus far. Although used in fits and starts, this course of action has been slow and sporadic because not all of the groups opposing Bashar are friendly to the United States and several of those groups are openly hostile to the west. Some are militant fundamentalist Islamist groups. Since we are concerned about where the money and weapons may end up, too little is flowing from the west to the resistance . However, many reports indicate that the best equipped and most wealthy (relatively speaking) fighters are the Islamist groups. They are getting what they need and as a result, fighters not normally inclined to join those groups do so in order to be more effective. The US and Europe identified opposition leaders and groups that are at least friendly towards the United States. We should do all that we can to supply them with the equipment and money required to exceed that of the Islamist forces and thereby give them the most effective fighters and the most influential political leadership. We need to take the chance that 100% of it will not stay out of the hands of those we do not want to get it.
To understand why I think we should take that chance it is important to remember that Syria — with a population that practices Islam — is not an Islamist state. Before the civil war it was a modern secular nation with knowledgeable technocrats able to keep a modern society going. Most Syrians, while practicing Muslims, do not want a fundamentalist Islamic state. While opposing Bashar, alliances will form that may be uncomfortable for us. In the end, it is possible, even probable, that the majority of the properly equipped and funded new leadership and their followers will continue to want Syria to be the secular state it has been since independence from France following World War II.
They may never be our “friend,” but now is the chance to influence future leaders and future events. With no participation we have no chance of influencing anything.
Efforts to aid civilians trapped in cities and areas of conflict are more difficult. A strong United Nations effort could break this log jam, especially if the United States and the European Union put a full effort into creating the means to do so. Some small progress was made earlier this year when the UN did get into a few areas to evacuate civilians. During the evacuation several of the groups came under hostile fire and the effort was suspended indefinitely. The dilemma is to find a way to provide for the security of UN missions to aid the civilian population without creating the need for a large military force to protect them. Of course, most UN efforts to get involved in Syria have been thwarted by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power over any resolution that they deem to be a threat to their interests in the area and specifically anything that limits Bashar’s regime in Syria.
There are a lot of smart people in this country and in this world — a lot smarter than me. Many of them also have an impact on government decisions and are privy to intelligence and covert efforts that may be ongoing that I do not know anything about. I hope so, and I hope that the efforts are effective, but I see no evidence of it to date.
I do know this. Syria was not a backward country with a bunch of nomads living in tents in the desert. It was a modern nation with modern citizens most of whom were educated and aware. It is now a killing field. Without effective action, Syria will be this decade’s Rwandan humanitarian disaster and it will be a continuing threat to our long-term national security interests.
It was disappointing that fewer than a hundred Fremantle people came to the support for refugees rally at Pioneer Park on Friday. Hundreds turn up for live sheep trade protests, but the extreme inhumane treatment of desperate people is considered less of an issue to make a stand. That is pretty sad when one considers that the vast majority of refugees who arrived in Australia by boat in the past were accepted as genuine asylum seekers. Now genuine asylum seekers are forced off their boats by the Australian Navy and put on life boats and sent back to Indonesia. That is disgraceful behaviour by our government, and it upsets our closest neighbour Indonesia.
We live in a very wealthy country with the luxury of freedom and democracy and we should show more compassion to those who have to flee their countries because of persecution and war. We should be ashamed of the actions of the Abbott government perpetrated in our names, supposedly to protect our borders. Refugees don’t come to invade our country and we are not at war. Sending boat people back is an inhumane act that has nothing at all to do with protecting the sovereignty of our country!
Among the few were Senator Scott Ludlam, Freo Mayor Brad Pettitt and Councillors Sam Wainwright and Andrew Sullivan.
As the sun sets over Delhi, birds enjoy a smorgasbord of insects that come out at dusk, construction workers take a rest on their somewhat questionable bamboo scaffolding, planes take off, planes land, and green parrots…oh how I love the green parrots. And me? I am sitting at my desk in my new flat, looking out my new window. I’ve moved! The decision to move was hard. I enjoyed where I was living. I was living in a Women’s Hostel and had made some good friends. Someone was always available to go for a walk, to the market, or to my favorite Juice Walla (vendor) for freshly made juice – who I now desperately miss. Apparently, posh Delhi-ites do not drink fresh juice, or, at the very least, they do not buy it from a Juice Walla! Yes, my new neighborhood is in an apparent “posh” area of Delhi, and well, Toto, “we’re not in Delhi anymore….”
There are Mercedes, clean roads, tree-lined streets, fancy grocery stores filled with western products that resemble Yaletown’s Urban Fare, security guards, and the strangest thing? It’s quiet…well, for Delhi. The neighborhood is filled with consulates, organization headquarters, affluent Indian families, and families from abroad that strive for a resemblance of their life back home. There are perks of course, but it takes a toll on your wallet. I’m not sure I like it; I think I prefer living in Delhi, just regular good ol’ Delhi, with it’s honking, cow shit, Indian markets, and cheap produce. However, my curious anthropological research antics are trying to stand back and take it all in.
Ok, there is still cow shit. See, there is this group of cows who walk down the main road, returning every evening during rush hour. We pass each other. I say “hi”. It’s as though they know this is an upscale neighborhood; these are some smart cows.
Though I miss the social aspect of living at a hostel, and the convenience of having three prepared meals a day, I am enjoying the basic comforts of my new place. I am renting a self-sustained decent sized room with a queen bed, a few chairs, desk, table, TV, closet and attached bathroom. There is also an attached shared kitchen; this is one con to the apartment, though thankfully it is the only shared aspect. My neighbor is ok, but not as clean or as quiet as I would like – there are good days and bad days, but that is normal when sharing a living space I suppose. So, why did I move in all honesty? I changed jobs.
My previous internship, with Dr. Mohini Giri, was located in an office in the basement of the same hostel to where I was living, so, yes, the shortest commute next to working from home. My new placement with UNHCR is in the “posh” neighborhood where I now live. The idea of having to take an auto rickshaw to
and from work 5 days a week was somewhat unattractive as getting an auto can be an experience in Delhi (I think this will be a future blog post). So…when this studio fell into my lap, I figured it didn’t hurt to look. My new place is located on the roof of an apartment building, there are three units and mine is at the end, so first, no one ever walks past it, and second, I have the largest section of the most gorgeous quiet rooftop terrace at my front door. I was sold. I love my outdoor space and will live in a manner of places in order to get it. Once I moved here, which was the easiest move of my life, I realized that my new terrace came with a lovely and demanding surprise: Clancy.
Clancy, aptly named by a good friend of mine, is a cat. Simply said, Clancy owns me. The first week I gave Clancy some treats I found at the posh market, yes I found a pet store, which I’d never seen in Delhi before. And now? Everyday after I climb 5 flights of stairs after a long day at work, Clancy greets me on the 4th floor, says hello, walks me to my front door (well trips me while doing figure 8’s around my feet), and then loudly reminds me why he is there – to get his treat. It’s hilarious, truly. I ran out of treats a few days ago; this didn’t go over well. I will buy some more this weekend so that Clancy, one, stops yelling at me, and two, stops standing at my screen door giving me that look. You know…the look.
Settling into my new flat was easy. Settling into my new neighborhood was even easier, though I miss aspects of my old neighborhood and my wallet is shrinking. Settling into my new job has been the challenge, be it a good one. The first four weeks consisted of training and reading. A LOT of reading. My job as an eligibility officer for UNHCR is based on refugee law, which consists of conventions, protocols, mandates, guidelines and the list goes on; each being a long legal document with roman numerals, sections, sub-sections and sub-sub sections. In addition to knowing these inside out, we are required to have a deep yet broad knowledge of a large number of countries, such as Myanmar, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Iraq, to name a few. This results in studying country information…more reading. The latest email I received contained the new Human Rights Watch report – a 600+ page document pertinent to my job…more reading. Now, by no means am I complaining, I love to read. Love it. I am even participating in a reading challenge this year. But, hopefully I’ve illustrated the overwhelming sense of accuracy, research, and awareness required from the get go. Training also included basic and advanced security training that required a minimum passing grade – it was back to school for me. These courses reminded me that I don’t work at the mall, or a coffee shop, or in any average situation, but that I work for a targeted organization that works in some of the worst situations in the world and thus takes such precautions (which is good, and will keep my family happy!). Let’s just say that after my training I felt paranoid for a few days. I was sure I was being followed…LOL. I of course was not.
Then the training ended. I conducted my own interviews and had my own cases. The honeymoon was over. The amount of people who sought asylum in India in 2013 doubled from 2012. We currently have the largest refugee caseload in the world. This isn’t a 9-5 job, yet it is. It has to be in order to not burn out. In order to survive.
As I settle into my caseload, which grows each and every day, I focus on separating the experiences I have at work from my life outside of work – i.e. not hate the world. A refugee doesn’t become one or seek protection because of something happy in his/her life. A refugee seeks protection from persecution. Persecution that threatens to take away life, liberty and freedom. It’s anything but easy. It’s anything but “the norm”. Yet, despite listening to such travesties day in and day out, and the, well, depressing sounding job (which it isn’t!)…it feels right. Not to mention my co-workers are kind of, well, truly amazing – a dedicated, knowledgeable and yet hilarious, make me learn and laugh everyday, kind of people. However, these are just the ramblings of a foreigner living in Delhi still finding her footing and stumbling around a bit…stay tuned!
University of Ghana chickens out
Col. Gbevlo-Lartey justified the action on grounds that the uncompleted structure was inappropriately sited. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey said the location of the booth was a threat to human security and created vehicular congestion. GNA. View the original ...
Legon suspends road tollsGhanaWeb
We Don't Govern By “Rambo Style”Peace FM Online
all 42 news articles »
University Of Ghana Authorities Suspend Road Tolls
Mr Gbevlo-Lartey said the location of the booth was a threat to human security and created vehicular congestion. Unhappy with the development, the Academic Board of the University of Ghana, the second highestdecision making body of the university on ...
Legon to suspend road tolls
... the Okponglo entry to the campus. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey justified the action on grounds that the uncompleted structure was inappropriately sited. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey said the location of the booth was a threat to human security and created vehicular ...
Legon suspends road tollsGhanaWeb
We Don't Govern By “Rambo Style”Peace FM Online
all 44 news articles »
University of Ghana, where are thy sting?
Mr Gbevlo-Lartey said the location of the booth was a threat to human security and created vehicular congestion. Unhappy with the development, the Academic Board of the University of Ghana, the second highest decision making body of the university on ...
Africa: Associate RSD Officer: Kakuma, Kenya
EIN News (press release)
At least 2 years relevant experience in field work, international protection, refugee protection, or human rights. Previous experience in Refugee Status Determination (RSD) would be particularly advantageous. Strong working knowledge of a second UN ...
and more »
Democracy, Human Rights, Refugees: Associate Protection Officer: Kathmandu ... - EIN News (press release)
Democracy, Human Rights, Refugees: Associate Protection Officer: Kathmandu ...
EIN News (press release)
Conduct Refugee Status Determination (RSD) interviews and prepare RSD assessments. Review RSD assessments prepared by colleagues in the protection unit. Advise on procedure and policy for Refugee Status Determination (RSD). Counsel refugees ...