Comment worth noting: Rohan Swee on the Ft. Wayne Burmese debate

I don’t know how many of you are following the discussion on-going here at another comment worth noting.* Commenter Ellen spoke forcefully about her frustration with an overload of refugees in Ft. Wayne, IN.  Then another commenter, whose name is “Reader,” responded critically with the usual flagrant attempt to silence critics by impugning Ellen’s character.  After some back and forth, which you should see if you haven’t already, comes another commenter, Rohan Swee, with a brilliant comeback. 

But, it’s more than a comeback!  What Rohan says sums up much of our thinking at RRW.  I only wish I could say it half as well!

First “Reader” says:

“I have noticed that native-born Americans have a VERY short memory.”

Rohan Swee’s response:

No, Reader, you haven’t “noticed” any such thing, because you can’t “notice” a non-existent phenomenon. You aren’t “noticing” anything, but rather giving expression to your belief in the smug, lazy-minded, and convenient fiction that only the ignorant or the “haters” could possibly disagree with your views on this issue.

“Native-born Americans” are not, as a matter of fact, unaware of their own ancestry and the history of immigration in this country. Seriously, would you take one minute to ponder how silly your claim, and every straw-man that follows from it, is? It does not take immense erudition or unusual intelligence to reflect that times and circumstances change, and that refugee or immigration polices that are appropriate at one point in history might not work as well at other times – something I think any sane person ought to be able to recognize – and that decent people can disagree about what those optimum policies for a given time and circumstance are. The history, hardships, and success of your or my immigrant grandparents at a certain juncture in history are not necessarily relevant to setting contemporary policy. I doubt you’d really be on board with the “classical” immigration policy of grandpa’s day that you’re so wistfully invoking, as it was no-aid, “sink or swim”, and upwards of 50% of immigrants had to go back home because they couldn’t hack it. So how about letting go of the childish and self-serving falsehood that people disagree with you about this and related issues because they either don’t know, or are strangely in denial about, nigh-on universally known points of fact, or because their personal qualities of compassion and justice are just so inferior to your exalted self’s.

This endless, vacuous invocation of “but your ancestors were immigrants”, as if that is all one needed to know, and as if it were a fact that rendered all opposition to your viewpoint obviously misguided, is beyond lazy and thoughtless. And it is getting very, very tiresome.

Reader says:

“What offends me at core of my being is the accusations made against resettlement workers who give their heart and soul to their work and refugees who only are seeking a safe place to live that actually presents them with an option for a future.”

Rohan again:

The fact that you immediately leap to personalize the issue – my heart, my soul, my personal experiences – exemplifies the sheer emotionalized mindlessness that befogs this debate. Your personal compassion, dedication, or whatever is irrelevant to whether our current refugee programs are prudent and sustainable, or imprudent and damaging. It’s not all about you.

Reader, there are millions of people on this planet in the same situation as the unfortunates you work with. We cannot take them all in, and our first obligation is to our own. The fact of their misfortune does not give you, or any unanswerable agencies, some unimpeachable claim to arrogate policy-making to yourselves, on the basis of self-alleged superior compassion.

Rohan, whoever you are, thank you so much for putting into concise language what we have been trying to say with thousands and thousands of words over the span of more than 2 years.

* Comment worth noting is a category we set up some time ago to highlight comments that we thought needed to be more prominantly posted or they would be lost to new readers.

Australia: Murder of Sudanese refugee not racially motivated

There must be more (a lot more) to this story from Australia.   A judge has ruled that the murder of an 18-year-old refugee from the Sudan was not racially motivated.  And, it’s not clear to me what such a ruling in Australia would have meant anyway.

The murder of a Sudanese refugee was not racially motivated despite his killer spraying racist graffiti just hours before the bashing, a judge said.

Just hours before the attack, Clinton David Rintoull sprayed the abusive words on the wall of a house in suburban Noble Park in September 2007.

He later stood outside the house armed with a metal pole and shouted: ‘These blacks are turning the town into the Bronx. I’m going to take my own town back. I’m looking to kill blacks’.

Expressing anger and remorse that she had even brought her son to Australia, the victim’s mother had this to say.

Mr Gony’s mother Martha Ojulo Alama expressed her outrage at the decision.

‘My son was preyed on and killed like a dog on the street and today the justice didn’t give me what I was hoping to hear, what I was hoping that they deserved to get,’ she said, in Sudanese, outside court.

Ms Alama said she could not forgive herself for letting him die a violent death in Australia.

‘He could have died where there is a cause in Sudan … but here someone is killing you for nothing.’

As I said at the outset, there must be more to this story.

Yemen detains and deports refugees other than Somalis

Since I was on the subject of Yemen (and Obama ordering a missile strike there), I thought this story from UN Radio was interesting.

The number of people making the perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden into Yemen has risen by 50 per cent.

United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says more than 74,000 Africans have reached the shores of Yemen this year up from 50,000 recorded in 2008. Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

UNHCR says the refugees and migrants, most of them fleeing desperate situations of civil war, political instability, poverty, famine and drought in the Horn of Africa make the dangerous journey on smuggler’s boats across the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea under harrowing conditions. In some cases they are beaten, raped, killed or thrown overboard into the shark infested waters.

More Ethiopians  than Somalis have arrived in Yemen this year.

“Unlike in previous years, Somalis are no longer the majority of arrivals. With nearly 32,000 Somali arrivals this year their number remains steady in comparison to 2008. However, the number of Ethiopians reaching Yemeni shores more than doubled this year – totaling over 42,000 people.

I don’t know why Yemen would discriminate and not grant asylum to Ethiopians unless these are non-Muslim Ethiopians.   I wish the UN would stop being so politically correct and tell us why there is a  double standard.

Yemen currently hosts over 150,000 Somali refugees. UNHCR says it does not have access to Ethiopian nationals arriving in Yemen, but has raised its serious concern over the continued detention and deportation of Ethiopians without granting them access to asylum procedures.

Obama orders US missile strike on Yemen?

I thought I would get an early start posting this morning before the global warming induced huge snowstorm knocks out our rural cable!   I came across this story at Gateway Pundit, one of my regular morning reading stops.  If you are thinking how does this involve RRW, remember that I’ve reported a couple of times lately that Saudi Arabia (with its state of the art border fence) was trying to keep the riff-raff Shia Muslims from Yemen out of their country and that Saudi Arabia had recently apprehended Somalis helping the Yemenis, here.

Holy cow!  Now Peace-prize Obama is bombing Yemen!  Here is the story Fox News is reporting:

The U.S. has launched two missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Fox News, signaling an escalation of the Obama administration’s fight against the terrorist organization.

The politically sensitive strikes Thursday, first reported by ABC News, supplement efforts already under way by the government of Yemen to go after Al Qaeda in the country, the officials told Fox News, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the operation.

Such an operation is particularly sensitive in Yemen. “It’s very difficult for Yemen to ask the U.S. for help given the nature of their population and its views about the West,” one official said. “And the U.S. doesn’t want to compromise their ability to ask for help.”

Is this about protecting Yemen and the US or about protecting Obama’s friends, the Saudis?

By the way, one commenter at Gateway Pundit suggests Obama is ‘wagging the dog’ after his failure to achieve anything at Copenhagen, or on health care reform.

Endnote:  I wonder how Yemeni Jihadi sleepers, like this guy in Knoxville, TN, are going to be taking this?