On Monday Reuters published an opinion piece by Ken Bacon head of Refugees International in which he lays out a game plan for the Iraqi displaced people. He mentions resettlement in passing and tells us that the Obama Administration should increase aid to neighboring countries, Syria and Jordan, who have large numbers of Iraqi people still living in their countries.
Most significantly he says the following in the Op-Ed entitled, “Obama Pledges To Help Millions of Displaced Iraqis Return Home.”
The next challenge is to convince the UN, the U.S. and the government of Iraq to work more closely together to create conditions for safe return. Some 2.6 million Iraqis are displaced within their own country, on top of as many as 2 million refugees. This population is too large to be resettled or absorbed by other countries; the only reasonable solution is for them to return to Iraq. In fact, Iraq needs them back. Many of the refugees are professionals—lawyers, engineers, doctors and teachers—who are needed to help rebuild their own country.
Where have I heard that before? Right here! Judy and I have been saying that for months and months. We have also pointed out in dozens of posts that the Iraqis coming to the US are not faring well.
Look at this photo published in a Finnish newspaper yesterday of the Iraqi refugee headed home to Iraq from Utah. For the whole story, see Judy’s post here. Friends had to scrape together the money for his plane ticket home. Why aren’t the volags, who obviously did not do a good job of resettling this family, required to pay the airfare home for those who want to leave the US?
The caption (in case this link disappears at some point) on the photo of the man weeping and in a wheelchair is:
Tarek Darwish weeps as his son Husham Shammar, 17, wheels him to the vehicle that will take him to the airport for a three-day journey back to Iraq, away from his family, at right, Thursday Feb. 26, 2009 in Murray, Utah. For former Iraqi attorney Darwish, his wife Nahida Mahmoud and their five children, arrived in Utah as refugees craving a new and better life but instead it has been a list of disappointments.
So, if we can believe that Bacon, whose organization just this past November urged Obama to bring 105,500 Iraqis here this fiscal year, has changed his tune, then we will be right in line to cheer him on in this new, more sensible, and more humane approach.