Why we need a complaint hotline

Yesterday when I reported on the ‘Refugees 101’ course recently taught by Barbara Day of the US State Department, I asked if there was a complaint hotline at State or at the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Health and Human Services where citizens and refugees could register a complaint.  No one has yet reported to me that there is such a place, so I am assuming at this point that there is none.   And, don’t say contact the Inspector General’s office—they never listen!

Here is a story about the large number of refugees in Ft. Wayne, IN and about how World Relief has just opened an office there in competition with Catholic Charities (that is my view of it anyway!).  Back in June, I called this a volag cat fight!

You can read about all the issues in Ft. Wayne yourselves, but near the end of the article the new World Relief director, Jeff Keplar, inadvertently mentions a big no-no on the part of World Relief in Aurora, IL.

“We have such an opportunity to reach out, to get out of ourselves,” Keplar said, to not let selfishness, even in uncertain times, thwart compassion. Such was the case for Keplar recently while in training with World Relief in Aurora, Ill., when he and a caseworker visited a new Burmese refugee family.

“There were three generations in one room that had come over together. When we arrived, the grandfather grabbed my hand. He had a very big smile. There was one piece of furniture, a futon pad – no frame, just the pad on the floor. He motioned for me to sit on it. … It was his way of showing me honor and how grateful he was that we had come to help.”

World Relief has signed a federal contract to supply the basic needs of a refugee family, go back to see Barbara Day’s presentation linked above.   This is why we need a hotline.

At RRW we continue to maintain that we can debate about how many refugees come to the US and from where, but when we do admit them, these agencies contracted to resettle them, must do their jobs!

We will give the Obama administration a little time to institute such a tips hotline and if they don’t do it, maybe we will.

UNRWA: tied to terrorism, and counting citizens of Jordan as refugees

The former chief attorney for UNRWA has issued a report full of facts the “international community” needs to face up to.  The Jerusalem Post’s Tovah Lazaroff reports here. The main point is the agency’s terrorism links,  but there’s another important point within the article that I didn’t know, which I will go into later in this post. The article begins:

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees does little to check whether its staff or clients are terrorists, its former chief attorney, James Lindsay, says in a newly published report.

Allegations linking terrorists to UNRWA are not new. Israel has said many times its troops were fired on by gunmen using UNRWA facilities, that UNRWA vehicles transported weapons and that some of its staff members were terrorists.

UNRWA has denied those charges and Israel has often retracted them or found them hard to prove.

This latest claim against UNRWA, contained in a 67-page critique of the organization published at the end of January by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has more authority behind it, because Lindsay was a senior lawyer for UNRWA from 2000 to 2007.

We’ve  posted on UNRWA’s terror links previously, here, here and here, and several more linked to in the last link.

Lindsay seems to be soft-pedaling UNRWA’s connections to terrorism.

“These failings have occurred not because UNRWA consciously supports terrorism but rather because it is not particularly concerned about the issue. Its main focus [is] the provision of services and protection of Palestinian refugees,”  he wrote.

“Even if terrorism constituted a greater concern, the agency is not equipped to undertake the extensive security investigations that a thoroughgoing anti-terrorism effort would require,” he said.

Lindsay cited examples of past charges against UNRWA staff, including a 2002 UNRWA driver who was accused – but never charged – with carrying weapons in an ambulance and a Gaza headmaster employed by UNRWA who was also an explosives experts for Islamic Jihad. The headmaster was killed by Israel last year.

UNRWA has no preemployment security checks and does not monitor off-time behavior to ensure compliance with the organization’s anti-terrorist rules, Lindsay wrote.

“Evidence of area staff members who have had second jobs with Hamas or with other terrorist groups does occasionally come to light,” he wrote.

Even so, Lindsay noted, of the 5,000 UNRWA staff who worked in the West Bank and the 10,000 in the Gaza Strip, most of whom were Palestinians, few had been convicted of terrorism-related charges.

And who would convict them? The Hamas government? The article also includes some good background information about UNRWA.

Now here’s the part I didn’t know.

But not all those serviced by UNRWA need the organization, Lindsay wrote in his study, particularly given that a majority of them have been resettled.

In Jordan, where 2 million Palestinian refugees live, all but 167,000 have citizenship, and are fully eligible for government services including education and health care.

To continue to call citizens of recognized states refugees is suspect and suggests “that the agency’s continued existence is due at least in part to political purposes” even though UNRWA was not designed as a political organization, Lindsay said.

Eliminating UNRWA services in Jordan to all but the 167,000 noncitizens could reduce its refugee list by 40%, Lindsay said.

In deciding to whom UNRWA provides services, it assesses “refugee status,” not need, he wrote.

Some recipients of aid could afford to pay for the services they now received for free, he wrote.

I knew there were a lot of Palestinians in Jordan, but I didn’t know that almost all of them were citizens. Yet they continue to receive aid as if they were refugees! That’s outrageous. It’s natural that UNRWA would try to serve all the people it could, increasing the number of Arab refugees by giving children refugee status in perpetuity, and discouraging resettlement to keep the numbers high. That’s what bureaucracies do — try to perpetuate themselves and increase their turf.

But UNRWA isn’t an independent entity. It’s an agency of the United Nations. There must be general agreement within the UN that the Arab refugees should be treated like dirt, that UNRWA deserves ever-growing funding, and that these refugees should never be resettled until Israel is wiped off the face of the earth, which is the fate it deserves. If those who control the UN thought otherwise, they would at least take the step of taking away UNRWA’s responsibility for those Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of real countries.  

Not that there was any doubt about the UN’s attitude toward Israel. But this Jordanian citizenship business does make a nice point on which some western country could raise a fuss. I’m sure if it were brought to President Obama’s attention he would immediately insist on CHANGE. (No HOPE of that!)

I’m tacking on another link here, which isn’t directly about refugees, but makes a terrific and related point about  Israel and its enemies. It’s a piece in on Commentary Magazine’s website called The Addicted Palestinians.

Obama, Marcuse and “change”

Note to readers:  This is more of my continuing mental wandering into the concept of “change.”  If you are wondering what it has to do with immigrants and refugee resettlement, you will just have to take my word for it, it does.   In fact, I believe that immigrants are the fuel for the fire in changing our system of government. 

Yesterday, our friend Richard at Blue Ridge Forum and I were discussing Saul Alinsky’s influence on Obama and he suggested I read more about the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse.   He directed me to “What is Cultural Marxism?” by William Lind here.  The gist of what Marcuse and the Frankfurt School was all about is the establishment of multiculturalism as a force to destroy American government and society as we have known it.

Marcuse was a founder of the Frankfurt School:

In 1923, inspired in part by Lukacs, a group of German Marxists established a think tank at Frankfurt University in Germany called the Institute for Social Research. This institute, soon known simply as the Frankfurt School, would become the creator of cultural Marxism.

To translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the members of the Frankfurt School – – Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, to name the most important – – had to contradict Marx on several points. They argued that culture was not just part of what Marx had called society’s “superstructure,” but an independent and very important variable. They also said that the working class would not lead a Marxist revolution, because it was becoming part of the middle class, the hated bourgeoisie.

Who would? In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question: a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals. [Edit:  This is before third world immigrants].

Next, please read ‘The Mystery of Senator Barack Obama: In the wake of Herbert Marcuse’ by Prof. Paul Eidelberg here, in which he discusses the teachings of Marcuse (others) that we have no essence other than what we create for ourselves.  For those of us who believe in a higher power and that we do have God given rights this concept is extemely hard to wrap one’s head around.   The gist of this thinking is that there are no rules—not even the Constitution (but that’s a topic for another time).

I wrote about  Saul Alinsky’s view of the same concept  here in Alinskyism Day 16.  Change is disruptive, change is creativity and has value all by itself.

I don’t have any concluding thoughts because I am myself still trying to grasp this concept.

Here is a bit from Prof. Eidelberg I wanted you to see that would perhaps encourage readers to study the links provided here as a way to further understand who we have elected President of the United States. 

Lincoln regarded the principle that all men are created equal—equal in their unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—as a self-evident truth, absolute and immutable, indeed, the foundation stone of Republican government.

In contrast, Obama’s The Audacity of Hope rejects any absolute truth, political or theological, that binds future generations. Change for Obama is not only a political but a philosophical principle. But from this it follows that Obama can say or be one thing today and something quite different tomorrow. Recall his flip-flop regarding Jerusalem: undivided one day, and divided the next.

That all might be fine on the campaign trail—changing positions all the time—but I think it will be his undoing as President.  Hopefully he will not undo America in the process.

All of my bits and pieces, my disjointed ramblings on this concept, can be found in our category, Community destabilization here.

Comment worth noting: Rohingya group accuses UNHCR of creating recent boat men crisis

This (below) is part of a comment (press release) from a group called the Rohingya Boat People Watching Group that we received in response to my angry post on Friday about Time magazine whitewashing the Rohingya story.

I don’t completely understand what is going on, actually maybe I don’t understand it at all!  The group appears to be claiming that rumors about the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) giving out “International Citizenship Cards” is responsible for hundreds (thousands?) of Rohingya risking their lives to get to Malaysia.

The Rohingya Boat People Watching Group is deeply shocked over the involvement of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kuala Lumpur in encouragement of dangerous traveling for the persecuted Rohingyas.

Recently, the UN Refugee Agency has asked Rohingya Information Center (RIC), a separatist group led by Abdul Ghani and Haji Mubarak to enlist undocumented Rohingya refugees in Malaysia which involved in making money to support both UNHCR’ Field Survey Team and Protection Unit.

Following the collection of lists, at least 15 to 20 boats of Rohingya people are ready to jump into the sea to come to Malaysia as most of their relatives and friends have sent information in Arakan State that UNHCR in Malaysia is going give International Citizenship Cards for the Rohingya by late February and early March 2009. Later, the Government of Malaysia will issue Malaysian Citizenship Card together with those who were registered for IMM-13 in August 2006.

The group ends its press release with a demand that UNHCR stop putting Rohingya in danger.

So, we urge upon UNHCR to immediately cease all kinds of ill-motives in pushing people in danger and thus must stop boat traveling of Rohingyas from Arakan State, Burma (Myanmar). It also must register all those undocumented refugees who are passing vulnerable lives. It would also protect all the boat people who are stranded in Indonesia and Thailand without any hesitation.

One of the things that annoyed me so much about the Time article was that it said the Rohingya have no support groups providing publicity.  This strikes me as lazy journalism because we have run across quite a few such groups in the last year.  Maybe he means no groups saying exactly what the refugee pushers want to hear, and a criticism of the UN is not one of those things.

What is the real story here?