Comment worth noting: Burmese Karen must have Karen language interpreters

This is a comment we received in an e-mail to RRW in response to my post earlier in the week about the conflict on-going in Pittsburgh regarding Burmese Karen refugees and their charge that Catholic Charities hired a Burmese interpreter and not one who understands the Karen dialect.  This is from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

The protest was organized by Three Rivers Coalition for Justice, a group with ties to organized labor that helps workers with problems such as evictions. It printed a leaflet claiming that Catholic Charities had assigned the Karens a Burmese translator who did not speak the Karen dialect and who treated them with contempt.

A reader, Madeleine, from the UK wanted us to know the following:

In the 2nd World War, the majority of ethnic groups in Burma fought the Japanese. The Karen (and Karenni, an affiliate ethnic group of the Karen), Kachin and Chin fought for Britain and the Allies. The Americans would know the Kachin better as they were in a different part of Burma. This knowledge of who were really our Allies has been suppressed since the end of the 2nd World War, firstly by P.M. Atlee and then consequent British Governments

The Karen played a vital role in saving many, many lives of British and Allied Soldiers from Japanese Prisoner of War Camps. They did this during the conquest of Burma by the Japanese during the retreat of British and Allied Soldiers. They harried the Japanese coming in through Thailand, giving time for the Allied Soldiers to escape and then guided them out through various paths. During the Japanese occupation, the Karen sent out vital Intelligence to the Armies in India. The Japanese knew they were doing this and they would slaughter and torture the Karen when they could find them, men, women and children. With this Intelligence, the Allies were able to re-take Burma and again the Karen were instrumental in the success of this by harrying the Japanese; they were between the Japanese and Allied lines. I have Attached an article supporting this from ‘Dekho’ – The Journal of the Burma Star Association, U. K.

The British colonial administration headed by Mountbatten betrayed the Karen who had been promised that they would be protected after the War from those who fought for the Japanese and that they would be granted statehood in line with the other groups in Burma. Instead, Mountbatten handed over the first Independent Burma Government to those who fought for the Japanese. The Karen were not heard and in many cases not represented at the so-called ‘Democratic’ process of the British Government.

Almost immediately after Independence, those who fought for the Japanese, now the Burma Government, opened fire on the unarmed Karen, blowing up their Churches, their villages, killing men, women and children.
For the Karen, the 2nd World War has never ended. They are being tortured, using techniques taught by the Japanese to the Burman during the War, burnt alive, raped, tortured; for instance, one accredited report states how the Burman Military Junta (Tatmadaw) came across a Karen family in hiding. They tied up the parents and threw their infant onto the campfire where these poor parents had to watch.

The Karen are being slaughtered because:

1) They were part of the Allies of the British & the Allies in the 2nd World War
2) A large majority of them are Christian – the most devoted Christians I have ever met
3) Their homeland is very rich in minerals particularly substances for nuclear use, rubies and oil.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the use of a Burman translator or interpreter can only be detrimental to the Karen. I say this because I have had first-hand experience. When I was assisting in claims for Asylum for the Karen here in the U. K., it became clear that the Court appointed Burman was, quite frankly, lying, when he interpreted to the Judge from a Karen claimant. At other times he omitted to interpret all that the Karen had said. I immediately set about finding and putting Karen translators and interpreters onto an official government web site. Since then, British authorities have only appointed Karen to translate and interpret for Karen.

Note to the US State Department:  Why not identify the Karen refugees who speak English well and get them out of chicken processing plants and into interpreting jobs.

LA Times: (at least) two views from Little Mogadishu

Another take on this article is here, by Brenda Walker at VDARE.

The Los Angeles Times has an analysis of what might have prompted Somali former refugees to trade their lives in Minneapolis (aka Little Mogadishu) for life in the real war-torn hell-hole, Mogadishu.  I don’t really buy the ‘youths trying to find themselves’ angle or the ‘poverty made them do it’ excuse.   As a matter of fact, other refugees from other nations also live in poverty and they don’t take up arms and dash off to terrorist training camps.  The article doesn’t say much about the patriotism angle we often hear, and barely touches on what I believe is the real reason—they responded to the call of Allah.

In any case, please read this article, it’s more than the usual boilerplate story we have seen on this topic because it gives us some new information, even if for some it may get your blood pressure up! 

Here is how it begins, little Moghadishu—a neighborhood Mark Twain would not recognize!

Reporting from Minneapolis – Barely a block from the Mississippi River sits a neighborhood Mark Twain could not have imagined.

Men with henna-streaked beards and women in full-body hijabs streamed Tuesday past the Maashaa Allah Restaurant, the Alle Aamin Coffee Shop, the Kaah Express Money Wiring stall, the storefront Al-Qaaniteen Mosque and other similar structures.

“When I came here as a refugee in 1995, there were just a few hundred Somalis, and we were very alone,” said Adar Kahin, 48, who was a famous singer back home and now volunteers at a local community center.

“Now everyone is here,” she said cheerfully. “It’s like being back in Mogadishu. That’s what we call it, Little Mogadishu.”

Then here we go with the FBI promoting the ‘poverty made them do it’ excuse.

For the FBI, Little Mogadishu has become the center of an intense investigation into a recruiting network that sent young men to fight in Somalia for a radical Islamist group known as Shabab, or “the Youth.”

Investigators say the poverty, grim gang wars and overpacked public housing towers produced one of the largest militant operations in the United States since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Trying to find their identities, some ‘youths’ applaud the Jihadists who called America the land of the devil and others don’t.

Outside the Brian Coyle Community Center, five young men who emigrated from Somalia as toddlers huddled in black hoodies under a cold, clammy fog that turned the day dull gray. They shared smokes and spoke of those who had joined the jihad, or holy war.

“Some of them felt America is the land of the devil,” said Said Ali, who is 20, rail-thin and jobless. “They were losing their culture, their language and their religion. They’ve got family there. They feel at home.”

If he had the money, he said, he would go to Somalia too.

“My friend went,” he said. “He’s running a hotel. He carries an AK-47. He’s living life good.”

Ali Mohamed, also 20 and unemployed, jumped in. “These guys are blowing up women and kids,” he said. “That ain’t right.”

The difficult search for identity is an old story in this area.

This is new information: the radical cleric who is thought to have influenced Major Nidal Hasan is fingered in this article by none other than our old buddy Omar Jamal.  I wouldn’t put it past Jamal to shift the attention away from the mosque in Minnesota to an Imam in Yemen.

Some members of the group that went to Somalia were said to be followers of Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born firebrand imam who preaches on the Internet in flawless English about the need to fight for Islam.

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused killer of 13 people at Ft. Hood in Texas this month, had exchanged e-mails with Awlaki, who is based in Yemen.

Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center here, said Awlaki’s fierce sermons helped inspire several of the youths who later joined Shabab in Somalia. Awlaki has praised the militia, which U.S. officials say is allied with Al Qaeda.

“They exchanged messages on his blog,” Jamal said. “They prayed for him. They watched his videos. They fell under his spell of influence.”

Finally at the end, a hint about the real reason these youths joined the Jihad—the mosque and the call of Allah.

“All these guys who left, we looked up to,” Bosir said. “When we came here to play basketball, they would go to the mosque. And somehow, they got brainwashed. And now they’re dead.”

Just a reminder to readers, we learned from Zakaria Maruf, one of the  missing (maybe now dead) youths, that they heard the call of Allah.

If only we citizens and people in authority in places like the FBI, would start to focus on the real reason (religion) and not try to analyze this in terms of our view of the world, we might actually avert Islamic radicalization and inevitable terrorist attacks.  These Somalis don’t care about patriotism or material things, two main driving forces in American society, they care about creating an Islamic caliphate across the globe!

For new readers :

The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing.  That specific program has not yet been reopened, but will be soon.  Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.