Hagerstown Refugee article (Part II): Doesn’t this endanger some refugees?

I just told you in my previous post that I had been lazy about posting on a Hagerstown Herald Mail article about refugees in my county.  Go check out what I said, here.  However, when I saw this article published at something called Refugees United, it got my attention.

The Herald Mail story gives a pat on the back to George Miller who previously ran the Virginia Council of Churches in Hagerstown before he was let go during the political problems the organization faced  (the ones I told you about in the previous post).   Miller has befriended an African refugee, who is apparently doing very well in our county, but who literally ran for his life because he was reporting against his government in Africa.

So, now here he is with a big photo and a story that tells all about where he lives and works in the US and that he has family still in the Ivory Coast prominantly featured at a website for finding refugees.   Isn’t it just possible that while patting themselves on the back and wanting so badly to show the public they are good people that they actually endanger some refugees lives?  Who benefits, does the refugee (Diabate in this case) benefit or do the do-gooders just get to feel good while promoting their political agenda?  Can’t his enemies better find him and his family now? 

Here is what the Herald Mail tells us:

Miller has been inviting Diabate, 36, to celebrate holidays with him since Diabate arrived in the U.S. three years ago.

“We usually have him for Easter and Christmas dinners, and even Thanksgiving,” Miller said.

Before fleeing, Diabate said he worked as a teacher and then as a reporter, writing stories critical of the government.

His struggle, which included being arrested and brutalized by unidentified attackers in 2005, was chronicled on The Herald-Mail editorial page in February 2007.

Diabate ran from his attackers, and then walked 200 miles to Ghana.

He is still in touch with his family — brothers, sisters and four daughters. For the last two years, he’s been trying to bring his daughters to the United States.

Who is behind Refugees United?   I just went to their site and then to Guidestar to see what I could learn.  Guidestar gives us the following description of what they are about, sounds all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?

Refugees United works to provide a global, anonymous and secure network to assist refugees in reconnecting with missing family members. Working across borders and boundaries, without taking into consideration the legal status of a refugee, or which conflict he or she has escaped from, the network is aimed at all in search of missing family.

Furthermore the platform operates in 23 different languages, providing an all-important function of anonymity, allowing any person to register with as much or as little information as he/she is comfortable with sharing with the world. Family-known traits such as nicknames, pet’s names and so on, coupled with data on age, former villages or regions, provides a seamless and global network able to restore family contacts.

It is the aim of Refugees United to continuous work with refugees, empowering them in their quest to find loved ones, bringing them into the decision making process and with the ability to make active choices in their own lives. Refugees United also actively seeks open partnerships with organizations in pursuit of alleviating the suffering of refugees, IDPs and stateless persons.

They really don’t have much of a website, but they have a blog where they have posted this Herald Mail story.   On their itty bitty site you find this disclaimer:

We do NOT recommend the service of Refugees United to people at risk of being traced by potential persecutors.

Well, now I am wondering if they asked Mr. Diabate if they could plaster his information and photo on their blog? 

Because Refugees United (New York City address) only began in 2008, they have no Form 990 on file at Guidestar, but they do have their funding sources:

Bitten and Mads Clausen Foundation – $200,000

The Way Forward – $75,000

JL Foundation – $50,000

The $200,000 is from a Danish leftwing foundation.   The other two I couldn’t find much information about because there are several ‘The Way Forward’ projects, one is at Ford the other at Chase Manhattan Bank and the only JL Foundation I found didn’t seem remotely connected to refugees and immigration.

I was thinking gee, it’s too bad that Obama didn’t have this site last year before he was surprised and embarrassed by the press discovering Auntie Zeituni living illegally in subsidized housing in Boston.  I wonder if he could use this site now to find the still elusive Uncle Omar?

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