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Rep. Miller calls chance of child refugees housed in Michigan 'deeply troubling'
The Detroit News
Calling reports of refugee children from Central America possibly relocating to Michigan “deeply troubling,” U.S. Rep. Candice Miller wrote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services department Friday stating her strong opposition. Miller, R ...
Rep. Miller calls chance of child refugees housed in Michigan 'deeply troubling'
The Detroit News
Calling reports of refugee children from Central America possibly relocating to Michigan “deeply troubling,” U.S. Rep. Candice Miller wrote the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services department Friday stating her strong opposition. Miller, R ...
It is a long way from Honduras to the US border in Texas: approximately 1,200 miles. It is also a hard journey, fraught with danger from bandits, child traffickers, unprincipled coyotes (smugglers), rugged terrain, desert heat, lack of food and water and one that cannot help be marked by the sense of dread that chills the heart of any child alone in the dark of night in a strange place. What would prompt a child as young as 4 or 5 (some toddlers are reported) to undertake such a journey? What would prompt a parent to either send his/her child off on such a trip? Why would these children risk their lives? Are they just migrating or are they fleeing. If fleeing, what are they fleeing from? Are they simply looking for a better life or are they “gone in search of refuge (safety) as the French root of our English word “refugee” implies? Perhaps these guys are frightening them?
Many of the children making their way from central America and especially
Honduras are fleeing the violence that surrounds them everywhere. Both the United Nations and other Human Rights groups report that Honduras is one of the most violent countries on earth and that young children are at particular risk. The Guardian reports that the murder rate in Tegucigalpa, Honduras 90.4/100,000–the highest in the world. Other Central American countries from which children are fleeing en masse are not much better.
Children are fleeing alone without parents because both they and their parents are afraid. The administration of George W. Bush recognized that these children fleeing from countries not contiguous with the U.S. were different from those entering the country undocumented from Mexico. In 2008 President Bush signed the William Willberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act. This statue required that unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. from a non-contiguous Central American nation needed to be afforded a hearing to ensure that they were not the victims of child trafficking. If a child was found to be at risk, he/she was to be resettled rather than deported.
Since the passage of that law in 2008, the number of unaccompanied children fleeing to the U.S. has risen sharply because these children could not be immediately deported, needed to be given a hearing–which typically took years to be completed during which time they could melt into general American society–and were from to time found to be at risk in their home country and granted asylum.
In short, because of a change in our law, Central American children and their parents saw the long arduous and dangerous trek to America to be one way of living a safe life free from the violence that threatened these children daily. This influx of children at risk is not the result of anything President Obama has done or not done on immigration.
This crisis is the result of the brutality and neglect of those governments/societies in Central American who have failed to nurture and protect their precious children forcing them to face death in order to flee death and reach a better level of safety in the U.S.. Even our gun incident ravished schools, pale in comparison to the violence that surrounds and oppresses these young people.
Normal planned and managed immigration is one thing, and we could certainly do a much better job at that. But, responding to the cry of children, fleeing sex traffickers bandits and neighborhood gangs is quite another. Perhaps an embrace and some sort of sanctuary are called for while the conditions under which these children would otherwise live are addressed more directly by the offending countries with the assistance of their neighbors and richer nations like our own.
Again this situation is not about immigration. This situation is about children fleeing for their lives and how you and I will respond to them in their time of need.
The Scribbler: Know what you call a child refugee in California? 'Illegal'
Think of what it would mean to those 52,000 kids who have already shown more courage, determination, and resiliency than the average American, to be welcomed, nurtured, fed, and educated in this country. Think of the patriotism they would have.
and more »
“The Homeland Security agency responsible for removing immigrants who are in the country illegally will run out of money by mid-August unless Congress approves President Barack Obama’s emergency request for $3.7 billion to help deal with a flood of child immigrants crossing the border illegally without their parents, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says.”
Well, well, well, ain’t that a bitch? “In this country illegally, eh?” Who the hell ain’t here illegally? Unless your goddamn ass is one of the indigenous peoples of America, your ass is here, illegally. Unfortunately, the Indians’ immigration policy was largely ignored as once the Indians realized that the European settlers were hell bent on relieving them of their land, they attempted to put a deportation system of their own into the works, but their deportation system was no match against their conquerors.
And so now we come to this, who can stay and who must go. “You, yeah you! Over there, you stay but you, hell naw, now git! The Statue of Liberty ain’t talking about you! We don’t care how tired, how poor and how huddled you are, we got fucking standards, ya know and you don’t meet ‘em, so git!”
That’s some real shit right there and we’re some real shits, we are because this nation is a nation of immigrants and don’t hand me no bullshit about how if they come here, legally then all is well and good because we’re ALL fucking here illegally. I don’t care if you were born here. Somebody in your family came here from elsewhere and most likely got off at Ellis Island and now you want to sit back and point fingers at the dirty, the tired and the poor who cross the border looking for a better way of life or to escape gangs, violence or political persecution. I understand that these are children whose parents have sent them over and that many have relatives who live in America. So, what’s the problem America? This here is the land of opportunity for all, ain’t it? We’ve got lady liberty shining her beacon to welcome ALL immigrants to the shores of America, don’t we? Well? We fucking do or we don’t! If that ain’t the goddamn truth, then fucking lady liberty needs to step the fuck up off her pedestal, why don’t she?
What’s coming beats ALL. I read a quote from some ignorant piece of shit about how the immigrant children from South America have brought PESTILENCE to the shores of Amerikkka! HUH? Say WHAT?!!!! The fucking PESTILENCE is already here motherfuckers! It’s called, VULTURE CAPITALISM! It’s called, INCOME INEQUALITY! It’s called the 1%! Millions of Americans are already suffering from a pestilence. So, clue your stupid ass in, why doncha? And as if that isn’t bad enough, it is my understanding that some of the child immigrants are from Guatemala. Now, do you knuckleheads recall the Guatemalan STD Study? Huh? Well? Of course you don’t want to recall that because that right there was a PESTILENCE that America visited on poor unsuspecting Guatemalans, oh ye christian hypocrites of fake ass faith!
U.S. scientists knew 1940s Guatemalan STD studies were unethical, panel finds
“U.S. government researchers who purposely infected unwitting subjects with sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala in the 1940s.
At least 5,500 prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and children were drafted into the experiments, including at least 1,300 who were exposed to the sexually transmitted diseases syphilis, gonorrhea and chancroid, the commission reported. At least 83 subjects died.”
…and you want to talk about a goddamn pestilence crossing over into America when Amerikkka IS a goddamn pestilence! Always has been and always will be no matter who the fuck crosses over. Just ask the Indians, you know, those who never gave you permission to bring your worthless ass over here to begin with. Ask the Indians about who brought pestilence to them in the form of small pox blankets. Why doncha? Bunch of goddamn chicken shits, sitting somewhere in your cozy air conditioned penthouse most likely nursing your own goddamn pestilence that you got from some ‘high priced hooker’. You’ve got some damn nerve, spouting off at the mouth while you nurse your pestilence called, gonorrhea with the hounds of hell nipping at your heels, hell bound hypocrite that you are!
Amerikkkans seriously make me want to puke over the outrageousness of their hypocrisy. This nation was supposedly founded on the principle that “all men are created equal,” and yet slavery was rampant and the Indians were being indoctrinated into the heathen settler’s way of life after having had their land stolen from underneath them and now that the European heathens are at the helm of this lopsided sinking, stinking shithole barge, they now want to pick and choose who gets to cross into THEIR Amerikkka. You know what motherfuckers! Fuck You!
“Immigrants from Central America, bring whatever the hell you want to bring over here. Escape that Homeland Security shit and fuck up their goddamn day because you ain’t had time to board a boat and get processed at Ellis Island since you’re fleeing a goddamn war zone!”
Economic impact of refugees in Burlington
Through the help of the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, Pham says he was able to get on his feet. "When I came they help us a lot with all the paperwork, jobs and they showed us about America. Still today they still come and they want to see how ...
Insufficient Solidarity: The EU’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis (Polish Institute of International Affairs, June 2014) [text via ISN]
Towards a Resilience-based Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Critical Review of Vulnerability Criteria and Frameworks (ODI & UNDP, May 2014) [text via ReliefWeb]
Syria Crisis: Camps and Informal Settlements in Northern Syria - Humanitarian Baseline Review (REACH, June 2014) [text via ReliefWeb]
Syrian Refugees in Europe: What Europe Can Do to Ensure Protection and Solidarity (UNHCR, July 2014) [text via ReliefWeb]
- See also related news story.
Woman Alone: The Fight for Survival by Syrian Refugee Women (UNHCR, July 2014) [text via ReliefWeb]
- Regional Focus: Syria (2 July 2014)
Thousands of children from Central America are flooding the southern part of the United States on a daily basis at this time as they search for somewhere safe from the ravages of rampant crimes, particularly drug crimes, in their homelands. As is typical for some of those who live in the United States, the call for these children to be instantly deported is loud and sometimes violent.
Turning to another part of the globe, there are refugees fleeing from the unrest in Syria and other parts of the Middle East due to everything from government troops to the rising terrorist group ISIS. Refugees here are fleeing primarily to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, but a few are going to Germany and Sweden in their search for safety. In Europe, a few countries have closed their borders to the refugees, such as Bulgaria and Spain.
Add to this the recent rising of anti-immigrant conversations from the United Kingdom as they deal with a rising Middle Eastern population, and you have yet further division among the human race.
All of this has gotten me to ponder why we require borders in the first place. Secondly, and related to this, why is it that humans feel the need to place people in boxes that categorize and subdivide ourselves from one another rather than looking for those things that make us similar? All these borders and boxes serve no real purpose than to divide humanity even further. They do not serve to bring people together as should be the desire for the sake of the human race and the future of our planet.
John Lennon, the former Beatle, once sang the words, “Imagine there’s no countries/It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace”(Imagine). I often wonder why we humans cannot strive for this as vehemently as we strive to create more weapons to destroy one another or even more boxes to subdivide ourselves from one another. There is no one thing that causes we humans to do this, of that I am certain, unless the underlying reason is fear.
That may be it. Perhaps we divide and subdivide ourselves so much because we fear having to learn about our fellow human being. As the American poet Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors”(Mending Wall). Yet, if that poem is read, even it goes against the idea of borders and boxes as it states, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out/And to whom I was like to give offence” (Mending Wall). A wall would make sense if there was a good reason for it. If there were, as the poet says, cows to roam and the wall used to keep them in check. Perhaps we humans have no reason for the wall other than to repeat as the neighbor does by simply saying, “Good fences make good neighbors”(Mending Wall). We do not know why it’s there, but that it’s always been there, so it must stay there.
Some argue that the borders we have are there due to the result of military action and the truce documents saying they are located between certain coordinates. If they are there only to mark the areas where one side may venture due to a disagreement, are they not like when two children or roommates share a room and one lays down a line saying that everything on one side is theirs alone and the items on another belong only to the other person? Sounds rather childish if this is the case, doesn’t it? Rather than talk out our disagreements, we fight until we feel there are enough people dead (or, heaven forbid, the other side is annihilated), then create an invisible line to ward off the other side (again, provided anyone is left on the other side). Seems like a great waste of human potential and the opportunity to work together to create harmony rather than discord.
Others argue that these borders and boxes are needed to delineate easier governance of the people. I guess I would argue that perhaps sharing governance of ourselves might be best. Why not set basic laws for all humankind to ensure all are treated with respect and dignity? Basic ones like not killing one another, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, reaching out to help our fellow human being when they need it, and respecting each person’s faith journey or even right not to have a set faith, but just choosing to live and let live. Yes, it makes it easier to set laws specific for a given country or state or region because no one has to talk with anyone else other than those who are set to govern that particular place. The United States does not ask Canada for permission to create a law and the opposite does not happen either. Would it not be worth it to have people talk to come up with what is good for all humanity rather than set up borders and boxes?
I can almost hear the calls of people shouting that I’m a Communist and should be watched or put away. I can even hear those questioning my sanity. Yet, maybe this was what the Christian scriptures refer to when the comment is made by Paul when he stated, “There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”(Galatians 3:28 NRSV). If one would prefer to hear what is attributed to Jesus, then look at the passage from John 14:2,
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”(John 14:2 RSV). Given I am quoting Christian scripture; it places me not so much with Communism, but certainly within Socialism.
Who cares? It is just a box. A human formed opinion to label me in some convenient way. Does it matter? Not really, except for the person placing me in that box and others who may agree with him or her.
Divisions and subdivisions happening at a rapid rate,
Always building walls and gates.
Keeping someone out or in.
To me, it seems like such a sin
Back to my opening images, though. For the thousands of children who survived the perilous journey to the United States in hope that the words on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,/I life my lamp beside the golden door”(New Colossus by Emma Lazarus), are still true; my question remains is it true? It was for our forebears, but will it be for you?
For those fleeing tyranny in hope of safety, will they find it?
For those who are caught between the rockets of Israel and Hamas, will they ever know peace?
When will we, as human beings inhabiting the 3rd planet from the Sun, spend more time trying to erasing borders and knocking down boxes instead of trying to create or build more?
One can only hope it is soon.
Galatians 3:28– http://biblia.com/books/nrsv/Ga3.28
Gospel According to St. John 14:2– http://www.biblestudytools.com/john/14-2-compare.html
“Mending Wall”– http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-mending.html
“New Colossus”– http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm
- See also related news story.
From Truth to Redress: Realizing the Return of Palestinian Refugees, Tel Aviv, 20-30 Sept. 2013 [access via PRRN Blog]
- Follow link for videos.
"Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Is the Camp a Space of Exception?," Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, vol. 2, no. 1 (Summer/Spring 2014) [full-text]
Time to Rethink Approach to Iraq's Displacement Crisis (Global Public Square Blog, July 2014) [text]
Vulnerability, Needs and Intentions of Internally Displaced Persons in Northern Iraq: Rapid Assessment Report (REACH, July 2014) [text via ReliefWeb]
What Makes Palestine Refugees Poor? (UNRWA, July 2014) [access via PRRN Blog]
- Regional Focus: MENA, esp. Iraq (25 June 2014)
Doctor Who TV (blog)
What If… the 8th Doctor Had Had a Full TV Run?
Doctor Who TV (blog)
Places involved in such a galactic war can suffer from resource depletion, famine, disease, over-industrialization, environmental degradation, forced migration, residual violence, breakdowns of gender relations and a multiple of civil disputes. I would ...
As European countries throw up their walls and clamp down on refugees and migrants, the latter are increasingly responding with peaceful resistance.
By Susi Meret and Martin Bak Jørgensen
Ideals of liberty and freedom are prominent features in Hamburg’s institutional rhetoric. Carved out in golden letters in a nineteenth century inscription displayed above the main entrance to the Rathaus, the city’s Town Hall, the words in Latin proclaim: ‘Libertatem, quam peperere maiores, digne studeat servare posteritas‘ — may posterity strive worthily to preserve the liberty which our ancestors achieved.
However, the liberty cherished by our ancestors and highly praised by our politicians today does not apply in equal measure to all. There are groups in our societies still largely excluded from what the majority considers basic civil rights. In particular, liberty and freedom often do not hold up for asylum seekers, refugees, ‘irregular’ migrants and other disenfranchised groups who today are denied the right to move freely, to work and to live a decent life.
Like many other European cities experiencing rapid socioeconomic growth, the history of Hamburg documents a fast-developing trade, flourishing business and financial industries, and a dynamic industrial sector. Hamburg’s development dates back to the period of the Hansestadt, when the city was part of the Hanseatic League which granted almost undisturbed expansion to trading activities and autonomy from central government. As a Hamburg maxim goes: ‘Wherever there’s trade, there tread Hamburgers’.
The city lying on the banks of the river Elbe was for more than 800 years one of the major centers of maritime power and today it is still renowned for its industriousness, wealth and prosperity. Over the past centuries Hamburg was ravaged by epidemics (the cholera years), by famine, by fires and flooding, by wars and economic recession; but every time it managed to rise up again. Important economic activities and trade were brought to the city of Hamburg by ‘strangers’, including the Dutch, the French and the English.
As a result, the city has a historical record for teaming up with outsiders. The open and industrious Hanseatic spirit attracted foreigners who were drawn to Hamburg in search of a better life and job opportunities — and occasionally also to find refuge, as with the Sephardi Jews coming from Spain and Portugal in the sixteenth century, or the Dutch Calvinists who sought shelter from the persecution of Philip II’s Catholic armies.
Hamburg today remains one of the major industrial transport hubs in Europe and the second wealthiest city in Germany. Every year at the beginning of May, Hamburgers gather at the Landungsbrücken for the anniversary of their harbor. This event not only celebrates the city’s huge port as the main source of employment and economic activity in the region, but also as a place lending Hamburg its identity as a city of trade.
Again, last May, locals and visitors flocked at the weekend port festival under the official city slogan: ‘Hamburg — gateway to the world’. Welcoming words reiterated by SPD major Olaf Schulz in a public speech, praising Hamburg for being an ‘international’, ‘cosmopolitan’ metropolis, where ‘everyone who decides to stay contributes with their own ideas, personal history, individual talents and skills to the city’.
Unfortunately, the city’s main characteristics of freedom, openness and cosmopolitanism refer exclusively to free trade, business and the movement of goods and raw materials — not the free movement of people. Amidst all the activity and industriousness there are people in Hamburg who continue to live in destitution and whose claims for basic rights and recognition are systematically ignored by the Hamburg Senate and the German state.Destitution as a weapon
Poverty, marginalization and exclusionary policies are also part of Hamburg’s history, even if they seldom feature in official rhetoric. In the past, as well, authorities used urban planning to displace and disperse the city’s poor, trying to make poverty and destitution ‘invisible’ to the eye of the well-off Hamburgers by moving them into remote districts, further away from the heart of trade, business and finance in the center of town. Business and growth simply required a suitable environment: social peace, work, order and discipline for perpetual growth. Nowadays, the accelerating gentrification process in the city continues to fulfill the same function: a process of displacement and dispossession, which allows for capital investment, surplus value absorption, and accumulation through urban redevelopment and cycles of ‘creative destruction’.
Like in other major municipalities, the way to achieve this in Hamburg has often implied a strengthening of state authority and the enforcement of new practices of discipline, control and surveillance over groups of people considered to be contentious and potentially threatening to the status-quo. Historically, target groups included the working poor, the unemployed and the city indigents. Laws, regulations and control contributed to discipline the poor, to prevent dissent and uprising, and to physically remove unwelcome social groups from the city quarters.
Take, for instance, the so-called Poor Laws developed in the nineteenth century, which exerted forms of physical and moral control and punishment over the deprived and indigent. The enforcement of the Poor Laws penalized the unsettled and those considered not to belong to the community, as well as the “paupers” who did not to comply with the prevalent social values of obedience. These methods of law enforcement also spread the opinion among the population poverty was a condition for which the individual was mainly responsible, as a result of his or her lack of a healthy working moral and personal integrity.
At the same time, these laws reaffirmed state authority, emphasizing the borderline of social acceptability between the ‘worthy’, ‘deserving’ working citizens versus the ‘deviants’, the ‘unsettled’ and non-working. Entitlement to poverty relief was subject to the joint control of state authorities, the church and dominant economic elites, who could prevent the subalterns from initiating autonomous resistance and attaining a political consciousness, which could eventually succeed in unifying their claims and instigating rebellion.
Direct parallels can be traced between these practices of the past and present-day conditions, showing similar mechanisms of control, exclusion, displacement and punishment of the subaltern in society. Destitution is still used as a weapon today: for example in the form of a ban on working and mobility rights (the so-called Residenzpflicht) that often follow the status of asylum seekers and refugees in Germany, thus creating an artificial social dependency that fuels forms of stigmatization and practices of exclusion well portrayed by opinions that asylum seekers and refugees are social and economic parasites living at the expenses of the state and German society.
Particularly in times of crisis, conventional discourses describe asylum seekers and refugees as ‘scroungers’, stealing welfare resources, housing and eventually native people’s jobs. Their existence is made invisible by authorities, which usually confine them in remote and prison-like environments, where people cease to have a normal life and their existence does not disturb the rest of society. Asylum seekers’ and refugees’ claims for rights have been systematically ignored and purposely obstructed by institutional powers and dominant elites, whose involvement facilitates non-coercive forms of consent and silent submission to rules and regulations, when state authorities have difficulties to act directly on subjects.When the subaltern raises her voice
It is when subalterns react and rebel against the rules of hegemonic groups that the system responds more powerfully. It happened recently with the ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ movement, which was formed in March 2013 as a direct response of a group of refugees from the Libyan war to a number of German and European laws. About 300 refugees coming from Italy openly challenged the limits to free movement imposed by the Dublin Regulations that prevent them to move to, stay and work in another European country than the one they first arrived in.
In Hamburg, the group came together and began to organize a protest movement. The group has since engaged into a fundamental and vital struggle for their own right to stay and, indeed, for the rights of all asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to freely decide where to move, live and work. Their slogan — ‘We are here to stay!’ — directly challenges the still widespread idea that asylum seekers and refugees are only here on a temporary basis. ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ became the principal driving force behind numerous public demonstrations, solidarity initiatives and social and political events organized with the support of local movements and advocacy groups and sustained by broad segments of civil society.
Opposing procedures and laws limiting their right to dissent and make their voice heard, the group organized a sit-in in front of the Town Hall last June 5, pleading local authorities — and in particular Mayor Olaf Scholz — to accept their demands for a working permit and for the right to stay in Germany. Their peaceful demonstration was met with police violence; several of the refugees and supporters were beaten and pepper-sprayed, while some were arrested, detained for a day and deprived of their Italian refugee documents. After that, some of the mainstream media and established political parties reconstructed the facts by framing the protest as a clear sign of ‘radicalization’ within the Lampedusa group, supposedly instigated by Hamburg’s ‘extremist’ left-wing milieu.
Meanwhile, local politicians forged dubious explanations maintaining that Hamburg’s refugee system has reached dramatic economic and social conditions and that the municipality ‘no longer has room’ to accommodate all refugees, nor the resources to find or create further space. This explanation was difficult to understand considering the countless empty state-owned buildings and the pace of gentrification in the city.
But local authorities in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany have chosen to be hardliners; as the recent case of the police crackdown on the occupied “refugee school” in Berlin exemplifies, whenever asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants refuse to comply with individual pseudo-solutions, they are systematically threatened with ultimatums, evictions, detention and deportation.
For many, the ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ protest epitomizes recent developments in the mobilization, self-organization and social struggle of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany and Europe more generally. What we are witnessing is a phenomenon of rising self-empowerment and self-organization among subaltern groups that are acutely aware of their common experience of racial discrimination and social exclusion, and that want to achieve political recognition and concrete collective agency at the local, national and European levels.
Besides Hamburg, new asylum seekers’ and refugees’ movements have established in several major cities in the past year, including Berlin, Hannover, Frankfurt/Hanau, Nürnberg and Munich. The composition, practices and strategies of these struggles vary, differently influenced as they are by opportunity structures at local level and by the nature of political support from local advocacy groups, activist networks and civil society organizations. However, besides the obvious local differences, what is common among these mobilizations is the attempts to work together, to learn from each others’ actions and practices, from misplaced alliances and mistakes in order to further entrench solidarity and understanding from European society. This effort needs to be further strengthened and supported in the future in order to avoid fragmentation of the movements.The March 4 Freedom
The March 4 Freedom action that ended with an Action Week in Brussels, coinciding with the European Council Summit that took place on June 26 and 27, aptly illustrates how transnational linkages and cooperation can be put to work in this way. The March 4 Freedom originated in different European countries and was underway for a full month.
Those involved camped at Parc Maximilien in Brussels, where debates, demonstrations, hearings and movie screenings were organized. Over 450 people occupied the park. The decision-making processes were organized collectively by various groups including the ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ collective, as well as activists and organizers from Berlin, Hanau, the national coalition of Sans-Papiers (CISPM), and collectives from Italy, France and Belgium.
As ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ pointed out and exposed the paradoxes between Hamburg’s liberal history and its contemporary asylum and immigration policies, March 4 Freedom did the same at the European level. Europe’s history is a history of colonialism — and today’s problems cannot be understood without acknowledging this past.
The Action Week, which culminated on June 26 in a main demonstration against Europe’s inhumane laws and policies on asylum and migration, also shows how the struggles have expanded. The slogans in Brussels emphasized the struggle as being one of increasing precarity, not only in terms of the right to stay and move freely, but also of the right to work and decent living conditions for all. Viewed from this angle, there is a possibility — a necessity even — to place the struggle of migrants and refugees in the broader context of the struggle of the “precariat”; of all those, migrants and locals alike, whose life is marked by constant insecurity and unpredictability.
This common perspective stresses the need to unite different, individual struggles across sectional divides. After all, as was shouted from a rooftop in Berlin last week: ‘you can’t evict a movement’ — and this movement might just grow bigger than any of us could have predicted.
Susi Meret and Martin Bak Jørgensen are assistant and associate professor, respectively, at the department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University. They are both affiliated with the COMID (Centre for the Studies of Migration and Diversity) research group.
Japan Hands over Upgraded and Strengthened Usratuna Vocational Training ...
This project is funded by the Government of Japan through the scheme of “Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Projects (GGP)*”, and jointly implemented by OVCI and Usratuna Sudanese Association for Disabled Children at a cost of ...
The least productive Congress ever was perfectly content to allow immigration reform to languish until next year, while they focused on getting their sorry asses re-elected. But then reality hit.
Mass migration of unaccompanied children from Central America brought the issue front and center. A little-known. bipartisan bill passed in the waning hours of the Bush Administration to protect children from sex trafficking is standing in the way of speedy deportation of 1000s of children, according to the New York Times.
While they languish in detention centers in Texas, Arizona, and California, more women and children cross the border – fleeing violence in their homeland and looking for family in the US.
Many powerful forces are at work to determine their fate…
Powerful Political Forces at Work
President Obama and Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson are working on getting emergency funding to process the children through the already strained and horribly cumbersome immigration system. Before 50,000+ immigrant children arrived, the immigration system was already backlogged and understaffed with 367,000 pending cases and only 243 immigration judges.
Republican leaders– including Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and Rep. Matt Salmon– want to amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which would enable speedy deportation of children from non-contiguous countries.
On the other side of the aisle, the Congressional Progressive Caucus passed a resolution to protect asylum laws– like the 2008 bill the GOP wants to change. From the Huffington Post…
“To see politicians oversimplifying this desperate plea for help as an immigration enforcement issue is concerning, and to see their willingness to weaken the protections of the [2008 law on unaccompanied minors] is even more so,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in a statement. “We must place the well being of these kids first. We should allow the protections in our existing laws to play their intended role.”
Aligned with the Progressive Caucus, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this week called for provision of legal representation for the refugee children, which was recommended by the 2008 law. From the New York Times [link includes video]…
“Instead, it [the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008] required that they [migrant children] be given an opportunity to appear at an immigration hearing and consult with an advocate, and it recommended that they have access to counsel. It also required that they be turned over to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the agency was directed to place the minor “in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child” and to explore reuniting those children with family members.”
On the international level, United Nations officials are urging classification of many Central American migrants as “refugees displaced by armed conflict”. This designation would put pressure on the US to process the children differently and could result in many more of them staying in the US, rather than being sent home to violence and an uncertain future. The UN also called for a regional meeting of migration and interior department representatives from the US, Mexico, and Central America held on July 10 in Nicaragua. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss updating 30-year-old declaration regarding refugees.
From Fox News Latino:
“Officials with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees say they hope to see a regional agreement on that status Thursday…
“While such a resolution would lack any legal weight in the United States, the agency said it believes “the U.S. and Mexico should recognize that this is a refugee situation, which implies that they shouldn’t be automatically sent to their home countries but rather receive international protection.”
“Most of the people widely considered to be refugees by the international community are fleeing more traditional political or ethnic conflicts like those in Syria or the Sudan. Central Americans would be among the first modern migrants considered refugees because they are fleeing violence and extortion at the hands of criminal gangs.
“‘They are leaving for some reason. Let’s not send them back in a mechanical way, but rather evaluate the reasons they left their country,’ Fernando Protti, regional representative for the U.N. refugee agency told the Associated Press.”
The UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) released a report entitled Children on the Run in March 2014. (Report here.) It states unequivocally that the Central American children are refugees seeking asylum from violence. From the UNHCR…
“The UN refugee agency, in a report released on Wednesday, said it was concerned at the increasing numbers of children in the Americas forced from their homes and families, propelled by violence, insecurity and abuse in their communities and at home.
“Children on the Run, which was launched in Washington, DC, also calls on governments to take action to keep children safe from human rights abuses, violence and crime, and to ensure their access to asylum and other forms of international protection.
“With violence and insecurity permeating the Americas region, we found a strong link between this unabated situation, new displacement patterns and the children’s reasons for leaving their homes and families to flee northward. They escaped armed actors, generalized and targeted violence in their communities and abuse in their homes,” said Shelly Pitterman, UNHCR regional representative in the United States.
The report analyzes the humanitarian impact this insecurity has had on children, forcing them across international borders to seek safety on their own. Based on a 2013 study funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, “Children on the Run” unveils the humanitarian impact of the situation through interviews with more than 400 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico held in US federal custody.
“It shows that the large majority of these children believed they would remain unsafe in their home countries and, as a result, should generally be screened for international protection needs by authorities along the way.
“A 17-year-old boy who fled Honduras told the UNHCR interviewers, “My grandmother is the one who told me to leave. She said: ‘If you don’t join, the gang will shoot you. If you do, the rival gang will shoot you, or the cops. But if you leave, no one will shoot you.’”
“A 14-year-old girl from El Salvador cited in the report, stated: “There are problems in my country. The biggest problem is the gangs. They go into the school and take girls out and kill them . . . I used to see reports on the TV every day about girls being buried in their uniforms with their backpacks and notebooks. I had to go very far to go to school, and I had to walk by myself. There was nowhere else I could go where it would be safer. I lived in a village, and it was even worse in cities.”
“The number of children making the perilous journey alone and unaccompanied has doubled each year since 2010. The US government estimated, and is on track to reach, 60,000 children reaching United States territory this year in search of safe haven.” [Emphasis added.]
A few of the ugly American protesters in Murrietta, California said that the US can’t possibly afford to take care of 1000s of migrant children and Moms and noted that the US can’t take care of its own children. Wall Street is at or near an all-time high. CEO pay and corporate profits have skyrocketed since the crash. The US has plenty of money. It’s just in the wrong hands. Tax the rich, and we can take care of all of the children– ours and the migrants.
Click on the “Immigration” link on the home page of this blog or in the tag cloud for related stories.
JB, Merete, Nar ,Pimm and Pelican are on their way to the Pyramid. JB’s red cheeks are even redder, and glistening from sweat. He breathes heavily and has to take frequent breaks.
There are dark blue thunderclouds rolling in as they approach the Pyramid. The Daisies and the Poppies have mingled and greet JB in a cascade that sounds windy, but more appreciative.
JB is shaking his head. He stops, turns to Merete and says, “ I don’t know if I should do this. Maybe I am tempting fate, you know…”
There is a thunderous flapping sound. They look up: toward the dark sky, a V of Wild Geese flies right above their heads – honking their haunting voices- so close that they can feel the wind of their wings
Nar rises on two legs and howls in wild adoration. Merete puts her hand on the heart and snaps for air.
JB grabs Merete’s hand. “I am right where I am supposed to be, my love. Lord, forgive my doubting heart.”
Croc and Elyse are waiting for them outside the entrance.
“I had the feeling it was your big day today” says Croc.
JB breathes and does not speak. Nar jumps up on his shoulders and blows into his ears. Immediate relief for JB, who pats Nar fondly on the head.
“ Shall we go in then?” says Croc, and Merete pulls Pimm and Pelican out of her basket. She looks fondly at them and places Pimm on the left side and Pelican on the right side of the entrance door.
Croc looks at them and laughs. “Never underestimate the power of sentient toys” he says. Our scribe Leelah has a dear friend, Bobo – an unusually large toy bear with a mild speech impediment. For weeks, he was garroted to the grille of a garbage truck, which took its toll on him. At the end he ended up with the illustrious savior of sentient toys, Andrea Levin. Friend of Leelah’s too. .. Now, these two characters …much unexpected Guardians of the Door” he says. “But you made these dolls, Merete, I remember – very peculiar types”
“And Mimsy asked me to switch their heads, you see. Now they are really powerful! “
“Butterblug” says Pimm
“Dillipink” says Pelican
“Absurd shamanism is my favorite kind” says Croc, and as they pass through the door, a loud whistling is heard and it starts to rain almost horizontally.
Inside is dark, and the smell of spruce is overwhelming. As they start to tone the AHHH-hymn that opens the heart, small light-points are seen – tiny Lightbeetles bring a soft and secretive atmosphere, and they hear Mimsy’s giggling:
In one swoop, the Lightbeetles attach themselves to the spruces, and JB breaks out in tears -
“It’s just like Weinachten. We called these Johannisglühwürmchen.- Look, the trees have red apples – and silver tinsel -“
Merete takes his hand and they start mounting the stairs. All the niches are filled with little trees, no objects anywhere.
JB sits down heavily. “Perhaps I waited too long to return,” he says with low voice – “it has been almost a week…”
“What did you expect?” asks Nar and puts her paw on JB’s thigh.
“Well – something – at least a letter – some signs – of them.”
There is one niche you haven’t looked at
“Oh Mimschen! Of course! The hand-print- niche“
He stands up, kisses Merete loudly on her head and runs down the spiral stairs to the niche. “Please come, everybody!”
They all take turns placing their palm in the hand print in the niche, and as Croc says THREADS they are transported into a dark space which smells strongly from fresh wool.
“OH! The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet! This is it! We found it!” JB laughs and cries and hugs Croc, they tumble into one of the soft knitted/woven walls and a cloud of Lightbeetles nesting in the knitted wall arises, softly lighting the circular room.
In the middle stands a tree trunk, hollowed out – it is lined with fragrant moss. In it: An owl figurine, a bird nest, a silver flute, a lantern, an acorn, a pickle on a fresh green leaf, a red top, a green leather pouch, a blue ceramic bowl with two golden fishes -
And all around them – a Gobelin circling the cabinet. Forms are swirling, dancing, from formless into form and then back into new constellations
“Croc -they are weaving my heart fully alive” says JB. “I don’t know who “they” are – maybe there’s an invisible knitting and weaving Master. Maybe it is Sakkara herself -”
“Maybe it’s you, my friend,” says Croc. He makes a pause, and adds:
“You see, when I had that last Pyramid-tour with the Adorabuhls, I noticed that the souls of your lost ones were present and wanted contact – looking for an expression, a non-grief-connection if you will – just share their love for you and with you.”
“ But – they are dead! ”
Croc looks at JB , his eyes are black. Then turning into dancing blue:
“Oh, really! Dead, eh? Then who is that guy who think he lost connection with his parents, one wife and ten children in another life? Who still is going under the name Johann Sebastian Bach – still composing, still one of greatest Lovers in the Universe? You are dead?”
Mimsy giggles, and Nar jumps up and down and high-fives JB.
JB looks like newly awakened and bathed after a particularly grim nightmare. “Eh. Thanks old boy. They are all here, then “ he says, and wonder seeps into his voice
The little group turns their eyes to the shifting forms on the Gobelin before them. From the hollowed out trunk with the objects shoots a pillar of scintillating light and the objects seem to become transparent, gossamer-thin, as they arise and attach themselves to the Gobelin. The scent of slightly moist wool grows stronger, as the very fibers of the wool open up to receive the information from the objects and the symbols.
“All that is needed is my wish to heal my heart and receive the Love that is available,” JB tells himself. He looks tenderly at Merete: “Schätschen – from now on I will have even more to give you.”
For a small second Merete looks worried – and JB smiles. “I am not talking quantity, liebling.”
They are watching as the objects become en-woven in the Gobelin, attaching themselves to figures that seem to grow out of the it.
“Mein Gott – meine Familie…and there I am too, next to Vati – but grown up – how utterly fantastisch confusing”
“It reminds me of the images we see in my little Black Box” says Croc , “They smell too- this wool-smell has a peculiar mesmerizing quality to it“
Before the eyes of the group the images constantly change, reshape and regroup themselves: now endless procession of refugees, children being separated from parents, massacres, wars, endless wailing, women burying dead babies, babies being sacrificed in glowing pits for Baal – the images slide into each other, they seem to arise from the Gobelin in layers, always being replaced with new variations of the same story of separation and loss
Then there is a nearly transparent layer on top of it – when you focus on it, the layer coalesces and figures are dancing, celebrating, making music, making art, making love -
“It all depends on where I put my focus then” says JB, his eyes look far away. He seems to have lost all signs of age
There he is now,his image woven into the Gobelin, moving and merging into new forms and characters – new costumes, new loved ones – or is it the same loved ones in other shapes only -
St. John Passion - Herr Unser Herrscher -choir ; http://youtu.be/lZkQro0CLwo
What does not change is the radiance from the hearts – and the connection of pulsating light- threads between them
As the witnesses look, the whirling dance of forms abates, and JB calls out the names as he spots his loved ones, one by one – they look at him and softly call out his name
JB rubs his eyes – “We have been wrong about death. It’s just smoke and mirrors – just like time – very useful means for playing mortal, though – and it’s all so – so-“
“Convincing” says Nar
The witnesses are watching a situation in the Gobelin where a small dark-haired boy with a tail is weeping and howling in the top chamber at the Pyramid while JB is playing Toccata and Fugue – and a Sun Cross is seen shining high in the apex of the Pyramid, the boy melting into it
“JB – I have the feeling that this incident with that boy changed the world” says Croc, and JB’s eyes slightly cross
A single pickle is left in the center of the trunk in Cabinet. JB picks it up and is about to let it go into the Gobelin when Nar makes a big jump into JB’s lap: “This one belongs to me.” She eats the pickle. Immediately her body goes transparent and changes into a little girl with chestnut red hair. She smiles at JB and puts her little chubby arms around his neck: “Tata!”
“You - are – really Regina Johanna”
The girl vanes and Nar reappears. JB can’t talk -
“You – she – what – help – really??”
“I am as surprised as you, clumse” says Nar, almost subdued by Mimsy’s wild giggling
JB looks deeply into Nar’s eyes: “Are you going to stay with us for good, little one?”
“Little one - get a grip, man! I am a Fennec now. I love being Fennec!”
“You confuse me no end, Nar. First time we met you were a bitch and proud of it, as you stated – and when you dreamed me, you were male if I am not mistaken – and I am not mistaken -“
“Well – shape shifting is rather common on Hilaryon – “ Nar looks at Croc’s feet – “ but Spirit is genderless. It’s fun to change, though – and I really like being a Fennec. You should try it, Papa.”
“Juicy, eh” says JB
“Juicy” says Nar.
The Lightbeetles are gathered in a circle under the ceiling. On the Gobelin, ten smiling faces look down on JB and his friends. “We will be whomever you need us to be, to remember” they let him know. “Until only music remains.”
The forms start blurring into “Starry Night” by Van Gogh. Then, the image of an angel crushing down into a flowerbed in Norway, losing 3 long feathers. A little girl spots them in her garden and wonder if she can sell them and be rich
“Well – this is what I can’t understand “ says JB. “What has that image to do with my family?”
“Maybe absolutely nothing. Maybe everything.” Croc puts his cheek to JB. There is a pink radiance of tenderness around them. “Maybe all we ever really need to do is be with it all.”
Swirls swirling, tiny bits of colors connecting with others tiny bits – agonized weeping – ecstatic laughing
You need to be very far up to see the pattern
“I am just happy to be down here with you all” says JB. They hold hands, there is a moment of utter blackness and there they are, standing in the opening of the Pyramid, facing the meadow outside.
The daisies shine like silver white stars in the dark blue night-meadow. JB lies down in the meadow and looks up into the starry sky. He does one tender sweep with his hand and picks down a star.
“Shipshap“ says Pimm
“Satori“ says Pelican
http://youtu.be/v33yqeDQx5s – at 14:41
© Leelah Saachi 2014 All rights reserved
The Maritime Executive
Into the Blue: Rethinking Maritime Security
The Maritime Executive
... is best understood by the relations it has to other challenges, including national security and seapower, the marine environment and marine safety, economic development and the blue economy, and human security and the resilience of coastal populations.
Dallas County, Texas Judge Clay Jenkins is coordinating a church — local government — Texas — federal government effort to develop temporary, humanitarian shelters for the flood of refugee children who have crossed the Texas border and are now in detention.
Here he is on the Rachel Maddow show:
From The Scoop blog, Dallas News here are some recent quotes from Jenkins:
“Whatever you think about immigration, these are children,”
“Children need to know they are valued,”
“I don’t want my child or her friends or any child to think that when children are in crisis that we turn our back on them in crisis because of their nationality or the language that they speak,”
What is significant about Judge Jenkins is that he started speaking out about the refugee flood of children from Central America in compassionate ways when much of the public discussion was about legalities and when to send them back.
Many officials, especially here in my home state of Oklahoma, have toured child detention facilities just so that they can come out in front of cameras and deliver lots of anti-Obama sound bites. Very early on there was little mention of the humanitarian nature of this flood of children.
And of course it has spawned many harsh responses from the far Right about whether we ought to be doing anything about it at all.
Here is an interview that he did recently with Tamron Hall after Glenn Beck had received harsh criticism from his own listeners for suggesting that this was a humanitarian problem:
The best quotes from this interview:
“What does your bible tell you?”
“What do the words on the Statue of Liberty tell you?”
Isn’t it stunning that anyone in this political climate would refer people back to their biblical faith? Harsh, uncaring attitudes toward the poor, the weak, and the powerless have become so commonplace that now we just expect to hear those expressions.
It leaves me wondering just exactly what people believe.