Update March 6th: Transitionland’s “Rumble Time” response here.
Readers, I guess it’s pretty obvious that we have critics from time to time and one of our newest critics is an anonymous blogger called Transitionland. Actually we are o.k. with anonymous critics, we really like critics of any sort as long as they don’t take too much of our time commenting here. In the past we have encouraged long-winded critics to start their own blog and even call it ‘Refugee Resettlement Watch Watch’ if they liked. But, Transitionland, whoever she is, already has her own blog. That is good. The more debate there is about refugee resettlement the better.
Here is what Transitionland said about us today.
A certain anti- refugee resettlement blogger recently wondered if the “refugee lobbyists” had “overplayed their hand” by advocating for more Iraqis to be resettled in the US, given how disappointed some Iraqi refugees are here.
1) Yes, resettlement needs to be overhauled. Everyone who works in resettlement KNOWS THIS.
We agree! If everyone KNOWS THIS, lets get to work. I have all sorts of ideas!
2) AGAIN, the disappointment of Iraqi refugees and other refugees from more developed countries is also a problem of unfortunate, Hollywood-fuelled expectations about life in the United States. Refugees from all over are absolutely shocked to find out that not only does poverty exist in America, but they themselves will be living in American poverty, at least for a little while.
I disagree, I don’t believe Hollywood has anything to do with the Iraqi refugees misconception about what their lives would be in the US. Someone in the UN, an overseas processing entity, or representatives of groups who want to bring lots of refugees to the US mislead them. Their stories are uniformly the same and we have written about 17 locations in the US where the story is the same. But, why would anyone be deceptive about something so important?
3) Being poor in Sweden or Germany or the Netherlands is not the same as being poor in America. Being poor in America sucks –but being poor in Syria or Jordan, Pakistan, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Turkey, or Thailand is scary-awful. And not all refugees can be resettled in Sweden.
Again, I disagree. I love America and think it’s the greatest place in the world. I’ve traveled extensively and in no other country can you pull yourself out of poverty easier than in the US. With our freedom and opportunity you can be anything you want to be. Heck, welfare states like Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany are far from having a black man as President. And, have you checked out the social unrest in Sweden these days, they are deporting Iraqis (and other immigrants) as we speak.
I agree Transitionland that I wouldn’t want to be poor or anything for that matter in those “scary-awful” countries.
So let’s cut it with the “they’d be better off if they went baaaaack!” crap.
Well, some are going back. Believe it or not, some Iraqi refugees may prefer their culture and their not-always-safe homeland to being on welfare and at the mercy of paternalistic do-gooder refugee agencies.
And, please answer me this. If America is such a mean, hard-hearted country then why is it so important that you bring refugees here; you can’t have it both ways. In other words, if refugee resettlement advocates said, “We love America and we think its the greatest country on earth and we want to share our freedoms and great bounty with others” I would have more respect for their position. Instead, and this is especially so with the Iraqis, we hear from the refugee lobbyists that America is a bad country, we should feel guilty about Iraq and so therefore we owe Iraqi refugees a life in this rotten, greedy, racist country. That is crap.