Kilian Kleinschmidt: The Syrians at Zaatari are the most “difficult refugees I’ve ever seen.”

Kleinschmidt is German and he was brought in by the UNHCR to try to get some control over the chaos at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan which houses 116,000, plus or minus, Syrians every day.

This is a must-read eye-opening story from Der Spiegel for anyone interested in the possibility that some of these refugees may, sooner or later, be on their way to the US.  (Emphasis below is mine)

Kleinschmidt talks with “refugees.”
Photo: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Local mafia controls a Jordanian camp housing over 100,000 war refugees from Syria. A German aid worker competing with these criminals is determined to preserve the camp residents’ dignity.

Kilian Kleinschmidt walks into the camp armed with a 6-inch stainless steel hook. “I hate refugee camps,” he says. He is holding the hook in his hand like a dagger.

It is getting dark, and a military policeman tells Kleinschmidt that under no circumstances should he go into the camp at night. Kleinschmidt walks through the gate in silence.

The Zaatari Camp houses 116,000 refugees who fled to Jordan from the war in Syria. They live in trailers and tents with the letters UNHCR imprinted on them in blue. The UNHCR, or United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is Kleinschmidt’s employer. The refugees arrive in buses from the border in this stretch of desert in northern Jordan, and their numbers are growing by the day. The local Bedouins say that before the refugees came, the only resident of this desert was the devil. Not even scorpions lived there.

Kleinschmidt’s job is to ensure that the refugees survive in the Zaatari Camp. He wants to give them back their dignity, and he is supposed to create order in the camp. Kleinschmidt is German. A German can restore order — at least that’s the gist of the plan.

The refugees receive water, food, shelter, toilets and warm blankets for the night. They could be satisfied. Instead, they stormed a trailer where detergent was being distributed, and broke an aid worker’s foot with a rock. Kleinschmidt was caught in the middle of a battle between the military
police and refugees, and his throat still hurts from the tear gas. Refugees also pulled a police officer from his obstacle-clearing tank and beat him on the head with a rock.

Every day, four buses stop at the camp to collect people who want to travel back to Syria. The refugees stand in line in the morning, and when the buses arrive, they fight over seats, because they would rather live in a war zone than in Zaatari. For Kleinschmidt, the camp is a place where the devil still lives today.  [We reported on the numbers leaving Zaatari and returning to Syria, here, just a few days ago.—ed]

Der Spiegel lists, with some cynicism, the aid agencies operating at Zaatari, describing how they put on a show for high power visitors.    Check out the article for the list that includes our very own International Rescue Committee (one of the nine top federal refugee contractors) soon to be headed by former British Labor Party leader David Milliband.

He doesn’t know how many aid workers are in the camp. According to a list on the UNHCR website, 139 organizations are helping the people in Zaatari. Doctors Without Borders is there, and so are Electricians Without Borders and Gynecologists Without Borders. Clowns Without Borders, which performs in crisis zones to cheer people up, has already left.

Private donors from Saudi Arabia brought in several hundred residential trailers without discussing it with Kleinschmidt or his team first. South Korea spent $20,000 (€15,300) on a soccer field that no one uses. There is a Dutch guitar group, although Kleinschmidt has no idea what they are doing there. And the Korean ambassador in Jordan plans to offer Taekwondo lessons for the children in Zaatari soon.

Most difficult refugees he has ever seen.   Ungrateful too!

It stands to reason that there is little in the realm of the living or the dead that could still shock Kleinschmidt, but
the camp in Zaatari has done it. “These are the most difficult refugees I’ve ever seen,” he says.

Why does he think that, asks the reporter.  Kleinschmidt:

First: These people come from a country where the elite are their enemies. Now they have fought for their freedom and don’t want the next set of elites to tell them how many lentils they are allowed to eat. Second: Many refugees believe that the international community owes them something, because it isn’t stopping the killing in Syria. Third: The mafia.

So, who are the “mafia?”  Men like Abu Hussein (watch for him to turn up in your city someday as a resettled refugee whose resettlement contractor is the IRC!).   Please read the whole description of Hussein and this exchange, I’ve only snipped a bit of it.

Hussein lives in a trailer that cost $3,000. The air-conditioner runs with electricity he is tapping from the Italian hospital. The water for his tea is from canisters provided by UNICEF. He hasn’t worked, paid or thanked anyone for any of it.

The reported asked Hussein:  What is his assessment of the work by the aid organizations?

Hussein takes a few drags from his cigarette and then inhales deeply, as if he were about to go diving. Then he slams his fist on the carpet, so hard that the coffee pot shakes. He begins to shout. “I went to the World Food Programme and said that I wanted a piece of cheese. They told me that someone in Geneva had to make that decision. I wonder who is sitting in Geneva deciding whether I can eat a piece of cheese?”

He continues to shout for half an hour, talking about corruption and Jews and cheese. He complains about the fact that some of the male aid workers have ponytails. Finally, he shouts that Mister Kilian is the only halfway decent one of the lot.

And, then just when you think Kleinschmidt is maybe tough enough and skilled enough to keep the place from burning down, he is quoted as saying something dumb, or, come to think of it, perhaps it is incredibly revealing about himself and the mindset of “humanitarian” aid workers generally.

When asked why he became an aid worker, Kleinschmidt responds: “If we know that we are doing good, we find it easier to love ourselves.”

I have no objection to using refugees for personal psycho-therapy as long as it’s all being done in the deserts of the Middle East and not in our towns and cities!

Readers, I have no category yet for Syrian refugees but it looks like I’ll have to start one.  In the meantime, type ‘Syrian refugees’ into our search function and you will get everything we’ve written so far.

Photo:  The photo is from this piece at the NYT on Kleinschmidt in May.

What is the death rate of refugees in St. Louis?

Karrar Abudarb

Here is a story about an Iraqi refugee who died in St. Louis a few years ago when he and a group of other immigrants brought their own soccer goal to a public park, didn’t secure it and he died when he tried to do pull-ups on it.

His family sued the city and just this week received $40,000 in a settlement.  It wasn’t more because the jury decided his death was mostly his fault.

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

ST. LOUIS   •   A St. Louis jury awarded $40,000 Thursday to the parents a young man who was crushed by a soccer goal in Wilmore Park.

Karrar Abudarb, a 19-year-old son of Iraqi refugees, had been playing a pick-up game of soccer with 11 of his friends when the fatal accident happened the night of Nov. 19, 2007. According to witnesses, Abudarb hung from the metal crossbar of a portable goal and did some pull-ups, causing it to tip over and crush his skull. City paramedics declared him dead at the scene.


The makeshift goals that Abudarb and his friends used were next to regulation sized fields and anchored goals that the city provided. But, according to court testimony, the group used the portable goals because they had a small number of players and needed a smaller field.

City Counselor Thomas McDonnell argued the city could not be held responsible for equipment that other people bring into its parks, and said Abudarb knew the goal was not anchored — he helped move it prior to the game — and he realized the risk but swung from it anyway.

Just in the last month we’ve seen Somalis, Bhutanese and Bosnian refugees killed in St. Louis.  Has anyone seen any updates on these murder cases?

Increase in flesh-eating parasite observed in refugees in Syria, Middle East generally

Sand flies carry the disease.  Here is the story in the Gulf News (which credits the Washington Post for the story, but I don’t see it there in a quick look):

Cutaneous leishmaniasis in refugee populations in Middle East

Al Salama, Syria: A crowd gathers at the centre of Bab Al Salam, a refugee camp on the Turkey-Syria border that is home to some 13,500 internally displaced Syrians. Children sit at their mothers’ feet, playing with plastic toys in the melting mud. One boy’s cheeks are pocked with small red dots; a boy next to him, wearing nothing but a diaper, has a large crusted lesion on his leg – signs of an infectious skin disease that is spreading throughout Syria and the neighboring region.

Since war came to Syria a little more than two years ago, the country has been transformed into a public health nightmare. Gastroenteritis, which causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, is ubiquitous among displaced populations – both inside and outside Syria – and a measles epidemic is currently sweeping the northern portion of the country. (At least 7,000 cases of the disease have been detected since 2011, according to Doctors Without Borders.) An outbreak of water-borne diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and dysentery, meanwhile, is all but “inevitable,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

But in camps like Bab al-Salam, it is a silent, flesh-eating parasite that is literally leaving its mark on the population. Cutaneous leishmaniasis, also known as the “Aleppo evil” or the “Aleppo boil,” is carried by sand flies and causes painful lesions that can become secondarily infected, often resulting in disfigurement. Another form of leishmaniasis – visceral – affects the spleen and liver, and it is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria. Mercifully, it is only the nonlethal parasite that is coursing through the Syrian countryside, where years of fighting has made seeking medical treatment extraordinarily difficult. Still, the parasite leaves its victims scarred for life.

There is more, here.

For more on health issues and refugees, see our category on the topic by clicking here.

Phoenix police discover presence of refugee contractors in wake of murder of Burmese refugees

First I came across a story about how the police in Phoenix, AZ  had gotten together with refugee resettlement contractors to find ways to communicate better with the city’s mushrooming multi-ethnic refugee population, and that’s how I learned about how two Burmese refugees were murdered with kitchen knives as they confronted what appears to have been a gang of Hispanics.  (Ah, the joys of multiculturalism!)

Police investigate the crime scene back in April. Two Burmese refugees murdered outside their apartment building by a gang of youths shouting “derogatory names.”

Here is the get-together story.  I am amazed that at a preferred refugee resettlement city like Phoenix police are just now learning about the resettlement agencies that must have been working there for decades.  It further confirms to me that in many parts of the US there is virtually no consultation and communication between the myriad government agencies interfacing with large new non-English speaking populations in  target cities.

Arizona is the sixth largest US resettlement state, click here.  (18,415 went to Arizona in under 6 years!)

From the Arizona Republic:

Tuoy-Giel, the president of the South Sudanese Community Association of Arizona, leaders of other refugee groups, resettlement organizations and Phoenix police met Thursday in an effort to enhance communication and partnerships between refugees and police.

Detective Luis Samudio said he organized the meet-and-greet hoping officers will learn more about how to better serve a growing refugee population. About 2,500 refugees come to metropolitan Phoenix each year, officials said.  [Readers: that is a huge number for a city to absorb each year.—ed]

Police were caught “by surprise” by the language barrier when two Burmese refugees were recently murdered, Samudio said. The police are calling the double homicide at a central Phoenix apartment complex a possible hate crime.

The refugee population is scattered throughout Phoenix with the majority located in three of the department’s eight precincts—Cactus, Mountain View and Central City, Samudio said.


Representatives from the four resettlement organizations in Phoenix gave a brief overview of the refugee community and tips on how to help them.  [Learn more here about Arizona refugee resettlement—ed]


Officers also can use the resettlement organizations as a resource as they have staff members who speak different languages and have translators on-call, she said ( Donna Buckles of Refugee Focus, formerly Lutheran Social Services.)

That story led me to the story (also at  the Arizona Republic) about the latest arrests  (three days ago) in the murder of the two refugees in April.

Police have arrested the remaining three people suspected of fatally stabbing two Burmese refugees in Phoenix two months ago, but they continue to hunt for the woman who drove the three to Nogales, Mexico, to escape prosecution, officials said.

Investigators arrested Cassandra Devore, 18, Daniela Stone, 17, and her brother Michael Stone, 16, in Mexico on June 19, according to police. The two juveniles are being charged as adults, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Ofice. Two others were arrested May 7.

The arrests last week brought an end to a manhunt that started in central Phoenix in late April in a murder case that prosecutors are considering as a possible hate crime.

On April 28, a group of three males and two females were suspected of chasing three Burmese refugees, a 21-year-old man and two 16-year-old boys, with knives and metal pipes near 29th Avenue and Camelback Road, court records showed.

Earlier two males from the group had confronted the refugees and taunted them with “derogatory names,” documents say.

The Burmese refugees ran back to the Serrano Village Apartments near 28th Avenue and Camelback Road to a unit where a wake was being held and told those inside that a group with knives was chasing them, police records showed.

Ker Reh, 54, and Kay Reh, 24,  stepped outside to talk to the group, which was trying to force its way into the apartment, according to police documents.

Police said they believe the group used “large kitchen-type knives” to stab the Ker Reh and Kay Rey to death. The group then fled the scene.

Hispanic mom drove her kids to Mexico to escape the police (police are still looking for her!):

Police on May 7 arrested Johnny Romero, 22, on suspicion of second-degree murder and Jonathan Tineo, 16, on suspicion of aggravated assault. Tineo also is being charged as an adult, according to Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Romero’s wife told police that Lovonne De La Luz Ruiz, 40, the mother of Daniela and Michael Stone, drove her children and Devore to Nogales the day after the incident to avoid arrest, according to records.

Possible hate crime:

Cobb said prosecutors can present to a jury that the defendants committed the crime out of malice toward a victim because of the victim’s identity such as race, color, religion or sexual orientation.

This is not new to us.  Tensions run high in rough multicultural neighborhoods where refugees are usually dropped off by contractors believing that the now mythical American melting pot will work its magic.  The melting pot is broken because the numbers are too high!

Egyptian wanted in Tennessee for questioning in murder of wife

Subheading #1: Meat packer brings the joys of multiculturalism to small town America!

Subheading #2: Nashville famous for its diversity.

Subheading #3: Did David Lubell and the folks at ‘Welcoming Tennessee’ know this creep?

Subheading #4: The murdered wife worked at a Nashville hotel—surely it wasn’t Loews Vanderbilt? (just wondering!)

Alaa Youssef went to Egypt with his young daughters after allegedly depositing his wife’s body to rot along a highway in Kentucky.

Diversity is strength alert! Youssef is suspected of killing his wife with blunt force trauma to the head and fleeing to Egypt with young daughters.

He worked in Shelbyville, TN  at Tyson Foods (although most news accounts are leaving out the Shelbyville/Tyson Foods connection).  Hmmmm!

For longtime readers of RRW, do you remember the controversy back in February 2009 when Egyptian diversity visa lottery winners were being bused from Nashville to compete for jobs with Americans lined up at Tyson Foods?  When I saw this AP story (thanks to a friend from Tennessee), I wondered if he was one of the winners (or perhaps the now dead wife was the lottery winner).

Here is the AP story at

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Nashville man who fled to Egypt with his two children was charged on Thursday with criminal homicide in the death of his wife.

The body of 27-year-old Madiha Roshdy was found last month by a highway mowing crew in Kentucky, but authorities were unable to identify her until this week.

She was not reported missing until June 20 after a friend learned that family members in Egypt were worried about her.

Police searched the couple’s Nashville apartment and the car belonging to the husband, 39-year-old Alaa Youssef. Police believe it is likely that Roshdy was killed at the apartment a few days before her body was found May 29 along the northbound lanes of Interstate 65, north of Elizabethtown, Ky. That is some 115 miles north of Nashville.

She died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Roshdy last reported for work at a Nashville hotel on May 25. She was last seen by neighbors on May 26.

Youssef, who worked for Tyson Foods in Shelbyville, flew out of Nashville with the couple’s two young daughters on June 7. They arrived in Cairo on June 8.

Police have begun preliminary discussions with the U.S. Justice Department about the international issues presented by the case.

Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said he did not know whether Roshdy and Youssef were Egyptian citizens.

They are not likely refugees (they could be asylees), but apparently gained entry to the US through some LEGAL immigration program—diversity visa lottery is a possibility, but surely Tyson Foods has some record of Youssef’s immigration papers!  Or, didn’t they even ask.

Changing the subject (slightly!)—be sure to see Senator Jeff Sessions calls out the meat packers as major players behind-the-scenes on amnesty bill (S.744).