Once again, Shelbyville citizens need an education on Somali culture…

….but what about Somalis needing an education?  

Can there possibly be any hope for regular Americans to say that immigrants should become Americans and accept our culture, without suggestions being made that they are narrow-minded hicks?  Not likely.

Last Sunday Shelbyville, TN was treated to a forum to teach the country folks all about Somali culture.    Apparently spearheaded by community organizers from the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative (oh brother!), the ‘educational program’ attracted approximately 50 local  residents.

Panelist Salaad Nur realized the urgency and importance of hosting an event after “the recent wave of negative press towards the Somali community in Shelbyville,” according to a press release from the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative.

“We are Americans just like all other immigrants before us and we contribute to the community in many manners, including taxes,” Salaad said. [Edit: Why do we keep hearing from Somalis that because they pay taxes they contribute.  I just heard it the other day, is it some sort of new talking point?]

“Even with some cultural differences we have much in common, and it is important that we educate people about our culture so that there is no fear or misconceptions.”

Be sure to check out the comments.   Commenter Dianatn echoed a common theme and gave me an idea.

I think we have this backwards I do not live in Somalia so why should I need to learn their culture. It seems to me the Somalis should be given the forums on American Culture if they are going to live here.

First go back and read Judy’s post about defending Western Civilization and countering the concept of “multiculturalism” with “culturism.”   

How about if some of you local citizens who are unhappy that the Somalis don’t seem to get aspects of American culture, get a forum together on American culture for the immigrants (including the women!) in Shelbyville.  It could be an all day thing, or a series of evening workshops.   Give it a name like Preserving American Culture through Education.

Here are some possible topics:

Our history and our Constitution

Women’s rights in America

Holiday traditions in America

Common etiquette (on the road, in a store, at the job, at school)

Freedom of religion with a primer on the various religions we practice

TV and movies and the role they play in American’s lives


Don’t laugh!  I am being very serious.  This is what needs to be done.  Is there a local college that would help host it, and I’m sure you could find volunteer teachers.  You could even do play-acting scenes on how to behave in the supermarket.  O.K. now I’m getting carried away with myself! 

Take the initiative, and see who comes.   If the Somalis don’t show up, well that says something (says a lot!).  If they do, maybe they will learn to be better neighbors.  Frankly, because these groups that call themselves names like “Welcoming Tennessee Initiative” are so  crazy in love with multiculturalism they likely don’t teach immigrants anything about how Americans live.

Endnote:  I’m chuckling, if it works, you could even formalize your group (Preserving American Culture through Education, I guess you can tell I like that name) and apply for government grants just like the community organizing groups that put this event on surely do.

See our extensive coverage of the Shelbyville Somali controversy here.

Iraqi refugee: America is a bad dream

Yes another sad story about Iraqi refugees suffering under the care of resettlement agencies in yet another US city.   All of last year, we heard over and over again from groups like Refugees International how we needed to bring Iraqis to the US ASAP.  Well they are here and they are very unhappy and what is Refugees International doing about it except lobbying for more Iraqis to come to the US?

This story is from Dallas, Texas.  Although Transitionland will surely accuse me of posting another “melodramatic and silly” post as she did when we wrote about Kentucky recently, at least one Iraqi refugee is grateful that someone is collecting their stories in one place.

Damn, damn, damn, how is it that the story is the same in every city?  And, I know its not just the Iraqi refugees suffering, it’s just that they are more willing to speak up.

This is a long article, please read it.

One refugee is quoted as saying:

His rent assistance stopped after four months, and to pay the bills he had to do the unthinkable. “I called my family in Iraq to send me money,” he said. And they asked him, “You are in America, and you are asking us for money?”

“They know that America is a dream, but it is a bad dream,” he said.


“Why do you put me here America so I can’t pay the rent?” he asked. Despair over his living conditions as a refugee landed him in the emergency room. The bill was $952. “Maybe I die here, not from the militia, but from getting sick.”

And a third:

“What’s the solution? What should I do?” she cries. “It’s the biggest mistake I made, to come over here. What is my fate?”

Maybe it’s time for people to write to the recently nominated Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and tell him this is going on around the country.   We should be doing more to help Iraqis return to Iraq, help rebuild their country and if that isn’t possible we could do more to help them live among people who share their culture and way of life in the Middle East.  What good are we doing plucking them from where they are comfortable and dropping them into poverty in strange (and sometimes dangerous) American cities?  

Is this about the well-being of Iraqis or the do-gooders’ wish to feel good about themselves?   Has the refugee resettlement industry become so sacrosanct that no one inside it is willing to speak up for reform, short of asking for a financial bailout?  Problems are much more complex and widespread than some extra bucks will solve, and the mess needs to be cleaned up!

Iraqi says Rudd government will let them in

The Australian reported yesterday that  Iraqis waiting in Indonesia for United Nations processing are ready to hop a boat to Australia now that the tougher enforcer of immigration, John Howard, is no longer in power.   Rudd denies it.

KEVIN Rudd has brushed off suggestions Iraqis waiting in Indonesia for their refugee claims to be processed plan to head to Australia due to his government’s policies.

The Prime Minister’s comments come as two Indonesian men, aged 32 and 40, faced Perth Magistrates Court charged with people-smuggling offences. They were remanded in custody until May 15.

An Iraqi man, who has been living in Indonesia for nine years and is a confirmed refugee awaiting resettlement by the UNHCR, says he was aboard a boat from Lombok to Australia in 2001 that was intercepted by the Australian navy and turned back to Indonesia. But he has since heard from family in Australia that things have changed under the Rudd Government.

“Kevin Rudd, he change everything about the future,” he told ABC Radio.

“If I go to Australia now, different, different. Maybe accepted. But when John Howard (was the Prime Minister of) … Australia he said come back to Indonesia.”

Read it all.

It’s pretty much a ‘given’ isn’t it, if a country loosens its rules, asylum seekers will take more chances?

One bit in here that interested me is that the Iraqi quoted above says he tried to get into Australia in 2001.  To hear the refugee lobbyists tell it, the Iraqi refugee problem sprang up in 2003 with the US arrival in Iraq.  They NEVER mention how severe the problem was under Saddam Hussein.  And, as I have said on previous occasions I would have more respect for groups like Refugees International if when they blamed the US for the refugee problem,  they would each time acknowledge it existed under Saddam Hussein too.   See this post from almost a year ago on the topic of hiding  previous complaints about Saddam Hussein creating refugees.

Write to him: Eric P. Schwartz, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, State Department

From the White House website thanks to one of our ever-watchful readers:

Eric P. Schwartz is Executive Director of the Connect U.S. Fund, a foundation/NGO initiative focused on foreign and international affairs, and Visiting Lecturer of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Between 2005 and 2007, he served as UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, working to promote coordination, accountability to donors and beneficiaries, and best practices in the recovery effort. Prior to that, he served as lead expert on conflict prevention and reconstruction for the Congressionally mandated Task Force on United Nations Reform, and as a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Between 1993 and 2001, Schwartz served at the National Security Council, ultimately as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs. For eight years, he was the NSC official responsible for refugee issues, and managed Administration policy responses on the rescue of Kurdish refugees from Northern Iraq, the resettlement of Vietnamese boat people, and safe haven for Haitian refugees and Kosovars. Prior to that, he served at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, where he was responsible for most of the Committee’s work on Asian refugee issues, including Vietnamese boat people, Laotian refugees and the U.S. immigration issues relating to the transfer of sovereignty in Hong Kong.

We wrote about Mr. Schwartz here a month ago.

Although he is a nominee, I can’t imagine with a PC list of accomplishments like the one above, that he wouldn’t be confirmed.    So, it just occurred to me, now that the Obama Administration has finally selected a leader for PRM, why don’t all of you with problems with the program write directly to him.

Eric P. Schwartz

Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

US Dept. of State

2201 C St. NW

Washington, DC 20520

I know, I know you are saying sending a letter to Washington is the same as sending it down a rat hole, but do it anyway.  I bet he has no clue for instance that Iraqi refugees are so unhappy across the country and are packing up and returning to the Middle East, or that volags have been closed because they neglected refugees, or that Somalis are returning to Africa to join al Shabaab.

Or, here is a good one, tell him how you feel about the Uighers coming to your town, he will be the one responsible for finding them a home.

Let us know if you get a response!