Editor: We have previously heard from Madeleine, here, on November 27th regarding the Karen refugees from Burma and their need for proper interpreters.
We may have had a guest column or two in the past, but know that readers are welcome to send us opinions (in a longer format than a normal comment). You can even tell us where we are wrong as long as you don’t name-call—you know start with the racists, bigots and hatemongers garbage. Send your submissions in the body of an e-mail or as a pdf file to Ann@vigilantfreedom.com. I don’t have a lot of time to edit so try to have at least checked your spelling. You can use a pen name if you wish. And, remember if you write a book length article it will likely not be as widely read as a shorter opinion piece.
Here is Madeleine:
I fully accept that there is a ‘refugee industry’ as termed and defined by you at the Refugee Resettlement Watch. I accept that many of the U.S.A.’s federal refugee contractors with its hundreds upon hundreds of sub contractors are rolling in money but can only supply cockroach infested slums to the refugees. Something is very wrong with the mathematics here. How much does it cost to clean and disinfect a house or flat including the drains and lavatory? If this is not done, new incoming refugee tenants could be blamed for infestation that was actually caused by the previous vacating refugees or other citizens. Infestation does not occur overnight as I am sure you know (I do not think I should be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs – as Americans quaintly say. Neither do I want to be offensive to the Americans and would add that the same slovenliness happened in the U. K. by our authorities). I fully accept that there is exploitation of the refugees, not only by the people in the Refugee Industry who are well paid to look after refugees or by unscrupulous indigenous Americans but also by refugees upon other refugees which starts at source, in the refugee camps, those awaiting departure to re-settlement countries.
In fact I can also add and support your statements on the refugee industry by pointing out that if one really wants to get the cash in the big business of charity one should start at source, as an N.G.O. in the country where the refugees are being re-settled. In Thailand, an N.G.O. can earn around $1,000 a day. The following small extract from ’The Economist (U.S.)’ elucidates:
“Once little more than ragged charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are now big business. Somalia, where that exchange took place, (see full article) is heaven for them. In large parts of the country, western governments, the United Nations and foreign aid agencies cannot work directly; it is too dangerous. …outsiders must work through local groups, which become a powerful source of patronage. “Anybody who’s anybody is an NGO these days,” sighs one UN official”.
(Extracted from “Sins of the secular missionaries (there are tens of thousands of non-governmental organizations in the world, many dispensing assistance, others serving special interests and even governments)”. By ‘The Economist (U.S.)’, January 29, 2000. This article accurately expresses my experiences with N.G.O.s and I do recommend you read this article in conjunction with my comment. It is a breath-taking piece of work. [Editor: here is a link for I believe a shortened version of that Economist article]
At source, there is even a greater problem than that of equitable distribution of money for the refugees and that is security, national security for the citizens of America, the U.K. and the refugees themselves. Categorically I state that there are people who are entering the U.S.A. and the U.K. who are not true refugees as defined by U.N. Their intent for becoming a refugee can range from spying on America (or the U.K.) or on the fleeing true refugees by the regime that they are trying to escape; to destabilization of the host country, criminal activities and the usual ‘economic’ refugees. Clues as to who is or is not a true refugee can be perceived by the destitution of the person arriving from the refugee camp. In most cases a true refugee has zilch and what they have is likely to be mementoes of loved ones grabbed in those desperate moments of flight; not signed birth, school, college and marriage certificates, or even passports. Other clues can be found in the speed a refugee has taken to be placed in the higher socio-economic echelons, ergo, has their been some sort of preparation or prior planning? Surely, a true refugee is more likely to be unskilled and can only hope for factory work in the host country for some years whilst proceeding with an education. Another clue is the language. If I take for example the Burma/Thai border, true refugees have been there for 25 years or more. They eke out a living with little more than their own survival skills and knowledge of farming and have no money. It is very telling on the N.G.O.’s as described above, and host governments that they cannot speak English. Money has been sent from many sources for education and the teaching of English, so why is it that very large amounts of true refugees do not get this teaching. Where is the money going?
Bribery is another answer along with those provided by ‘The Economist’ (as above). Bribery is everywhere, in Burma, in Thailand, in the various N.G.O.s, in the refugee camps and amongst the refugees by other refugees. The U.K. has long been known as a ‘soft touch’ by economic refugees but a new tag has arisen in Thailand for Americans which is ’weak’ or ’easy’. This tag comes from what is deemed and the best way I can of explaining it, ‘putting one over the Americans’. With bribery, the identity of another ethnic group can be brought – in this case someone had gotten hold of a Karen’s. This ’Karen’ was seen entering a mosque and eventually was re-settled in America. That the American interviewer and other staff did not know that there are no Muslims within the Karen (except by marriage) has given rise to a prevailing feeling that ‘you can do anything in America’ meaning ‘you can try anything on America’. The Karen who saw this did report it to an N.G.O. and when I eventually heard about this and more incidents, I wrote to my M.P. One ruse was to assume the identity of a minister of the Christian religion because one could be easily lost in the crowd of many Christians serving there.
Another factor that allows bribery and ruses to flourish along with this terrible and brutal war being waged by the Burmese Military Junta to annihilate the Karen is the lack of media coverage. I rarely see any news bulletins on the BBC, other TV stations here, Radio or newspapers about the daily carnage of death, murder and torture going on in Burma. That the British do not know who were their Allies in the 2nd World War is immediately cottoned onto by the arriving false and economic refugees from the other ethnic groups, who inform their buddies back home or in the refugee camps which gives rise to more bribery and more ruses and the continuation of this terrible war with more killing, rape, murder and torture of the Karens.
I have been viewing some American T.V. stations and I find an absence of any reporting on Burma as well. Recently I emailed Miss Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regarding her article:
‘Refugees protest Catholic Charities centre – Ethnic Karens demand translator,’ Dated: Wednesday, November 25, 2009.
I was dismayed that pertinent information regarding the Karen was not published nor was any interest shown in the supporting evidence from ‘DEKHO!’ The Journal of the Burma Star Association (U.K.). It is at this point that I took a greater interest in the Refugee Resettlement Watch web site (www.refugeeresettlementwatch.org).
Had there been more interest and knowledge about the refugees and the Karen, Bishop Zubik would never have shown his appalling ignorance when he said: ‘”But they didn’t speak English.”
His lack of knowledge showed little genuine caring for the Karen.
However, although seemingly anti-refugee, the Refugee Resettlement Watch did post my comment on the Karen and accepted the supporting evidence (‘Burmese Karen must have Karen Language Interpreters’, November 27, 2009). This episode substantiates many of the criticisms elucidated therein on the ‘Refugee Industry‘. It is not to say that I agree with all that is written on Refugee Resettlement Watch (RRW) but I do agree that we cannot re-settle all refugees and that there may be other ways and options to consider.
Anyone with a cursory interest in Burma knows that the Burman has an arsenal of racist terminology and attitudes towards the Karen and that there is nothing unusual about the Burman saying that the Karen are ‘lazy’, ‘dirty’ and ‘stupid’, it is everyday language. I have no wish to repeat some of the more hideous racist language here. If Bishop Zubik had any understanding at all of the Burmese refugees he would have appointed Karen Interpreters/Translators from the very beginning. This should be true of every situation in America and around the world including the Three Rivers Coalition for Justice. No other race, or member of another race has the right to speak on behalf of the Karen race. They are presently fleeing persecution because of their race and religion and they have a right in a free world to speak for themselves, through a Karen/English Interpreter/Translator if necessary.
I am aware that it is very much of the American culture to speak English. Therefore, I would like to explain some more about the Karen and languages to invoke their understanding. The main reason why many Karen do not speak English is that they are true refugees. They are fleeing torture, death and annihilation at the hands of the Burmese Military Junta. The villages where their schools are have been burnt to the ground, their teachers and other villagers have been killed, murdered, tortured, raped, used for slave labour or they have escaped to the refugee camps in Thailand. I have previously explained conditions within these refugee camps and asked where the money sent for learning English has gone; many Karens have been in those camps for over 25 years with no education. The Karen language itself is what we Europeans term as picture languages, so imagine how much harder it is for us to learn Chinese as opposed to French or Spanish. The Karen language has two main dialects, Sgaw and P’o. Within these dialects are further dialects. Previously the Karen were multi-lingual speaking another Karen dialect, Burmese and English. Many more Karen were able to Interpret/Translate Burmese than Burmese could understand Karen. As the Karen have had little or no education for the last 25 years, it is considered by experts that the Karen would need 1,000 hours of being taught English to bring them back to fluency.
The Karen, were Our Allies of the 2nd and 1st World Wars. Britain should never ever have left them to become refugees, let alone face ethnic cleansing. Neither should they have suppressed the information that they were our Allies. One of the reasons for their annihilation by the Burmese Military Junta is because they fought for us. The Karen did not stop to count the money in their pockets when they volunteered to help save the lives of American Soldiers, nor did they calculate their tax return or ponder their consciences as to whether it was a true act of charity. Most certainly, Bishop Zubik should never have treated the Karen the way he did. It is our duty before God and Man to help the Karen. I do not think they should be called refugees, they belong in a different category, perhaps called ‘Duty’, ‘Allies’, ’Loyalty’ ’Special’, ’Friends’, or even ‘Debt’. I have great faith in the generous hearts of the American people that this wrong will be put to right.
Readers may reach Madeleine Blu, Bwetee Pe Lulu Team at firstname.lastname@example.org