Geez, I sure missed this one! I’ve been wondering for years if the ‘diversity is strength’ gang in the US Refugee Resettlement Program had actually put Burmese Muslims (Rohingya?*) in the same apartment building as Christian Karen people in Salt Lake City. Thanks to reader Melissa for spotting this lengthy story in the Salt Lake Tribune from right after the murder in 2008 of 7-year-old Hser Ner Moo that reports that the accused, whose case should be advancing in court this month, is a Muslim.
You really need to read the whole sorry and very sad story of the resettlement of these Burmese families in Salt Lake City by either Catholic Community Services or the International Rescue Committee. “Mr. Tomorrow” worked (probably still works) for one of them.
In 2006, the U.S. invited thousands of Burmese refugees at Mae La to apply for resettlement. Cartoon and Pearlly signed up, believing America was going to save them. Their children would have a better education, and they would have the chance to work hard toward a house, a car, a more comfortable life.
But within weeks of their arrival in Utah in August 2007, Cartoon and Pearlly were confused.
They had been careful to ration the meat and rice provided by their resettlement agency, but now they were running low on food. They didn’t know how to find their resettlement caseworker, known by refugees as Mr. Tomorrow for his lack of follow-through. They couldn’t call for help because their phone wasn’t connected.
Gee, where have we heard that before?
Here, however, is the most important part of the story:
News of Hser Ner Moo’s murder raced across the ocean to Mae La [refugee camp—ed], where thousands of families believed immigration to the U.S. would be their salvation.
Some said her death proved America’s dangers. Perhaps refugees were sent to bad neighborhoods, home to gangs. Others worried she was killed because she was Karen. Some families skipped resettlement interviews, one of the first steps in applying to emigrate to the U.S.
The U.S. embassy finally posted a letter explaining the man accused in Hser Ner Moo’s death was not an American. He was one of their own, a refugee from Mae La.
Rage flashed through the muddy lanes where Hser Ner Moo had once skipped rope and played hide-and-seek. In the camp, tension lingers between the Karen and Muslims, and some choose to live apart. Hser Ner Moo and Esar had lived in separate sections of Mae La.
America had made them neighbors.
It is just as I thought when I first saw the story of the murder four years ago. The multiculturalists’ myth is that decades of hatred and religious conflicts, more than a century in this case, can be simply forgotten when refugees are resettled in the great American melting pot. Let’s put them all together and there will be love and understanding and religious harmony!—ahhhhh!
*For new readers: I placed this post in my Rohingya Reports category, among others, however the ‘R’ word has not yet been used in connection to the alleged murderer (that I know of!). You should know that there is an increasing drumbeat by the resettlement contractors, especially the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at the May 1 meeting, to bring more Rohingya Muslims to the US.