Manchester Local, Refugee Running for Alderman at Age 20

There’s an aldermen race going on next week in Manchester. And one of the candidates on the ballot would be the city’s youngest elected if he wins. He turned 20 Thursday, attends UNH Manchester, and is a refugee from Kuwait.

Manchester Local, Refugee Running for Alderman at Age 20 | New Hampshire Public Radio

…Because immigrants are motivated citizens. Period.


Stuffing shoe boxes for the world’s poor? Maybe you should reconsider 

For many churches, Operation Christmas Child is a well-established — and easy — expression of their compassion for the poor. Some congregations, however, are discovering better ways to engage the world’s impoversished.

Stuffing shoe boxes for the world’s poor? Maybe you should reconsider – Baptist News Global

The language of this article is not, well, my cup of tea but the ideas discussed are pretty interesting

‘Textbook example of ethnic cleansing’: 370,000 Rohingyas flood Bangladesh as crisis worsens

The U.S. is “alarmed” by allegations of killings and village burning by the Burmese military.

…Hundreds of thousands of the long-persecuted ethnic minority continued to stream via land and rickety boats into Bangladesh this week, arriving exhausted, dehydrated and recounting tales of nightmarish horrors at the hands of the Burmese military, including friends and neighbors shot dead and homes torched before their eyes.

…Relief efforts have been rapidly overwhelmed, with stocks of food, temporary shelter kits and other supplies running low. Prices of vegetables, bamboo and plastic sheeting used to make shelters are soaring.

…Burma’s more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims are essentially stateless, and the Burmese government considers them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The minority group has endured decades of discrimination and neglect, which worsened in 2012 after Rohingyas clashed with Buddhists in Burma’s western Rakhine State. More than 100,000 were then confined to camps, where their movement, access to jobs and education were severely restricted.

…U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein on Monday pointed to satellite imagery and reports of “security forces and local militia burning Rohingya villages.”

“The Myanmar government should stop pretending that the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages,” he added, a swipe at Suu Kyi’s government, which has accused the Rohingyas of doing the torching themselves. He called it a “complete denial of reality.”

‘Textbook example of ethnic cleansing’: 370,000 Rohingyas flood Bangladesh as crisis worsens – The Washington Post


Aung San Suu Kyi’s Commitment to Human Rights Questioned in Light of Myanmar’s Rohingya Crackdown 

The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them alleged insurgents, have died in the recent violence and accused the militants of “terrorist” atrocities against non-Muslim civilians as well as burning down their own villages.

However, Rohingya people and rights groups accuse the army of a brutal campaign of reprisals against civilians, with one UN official last year suggesting that “crimes against humanity” had occurred.

The violence has triggered a flood of Muslim Rohingya refugees from the predominantly Buddhist country. The UNHCR on Monday said 87,000 people had fled into neighboring Bangladesh since Aug. 25. Aid agencies say that some had suffered bullet wounds.

Some Rohingya have alleged atrocities including children being beheaded and a group of men forced into a bamboo hut before being burned alive. International media and independent observers are barred from the area and NBC News has not been able to verify such accounts.

….Satellite imagery analyzed by Human Rights Watch shows hundreds of buildings have been destroyed in at least 17 sites across Rakhine state since Aug. 25, including some 700 structures that appeared to have been burned down in just the village of Chein Khar Li, the organization said in a statement issued Saturday.

The government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing non-Muslims in Rakhine. Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rahkine Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 140,000 Rohingya into displacement camps, where around 100,000 still remain.

…[The] government regards most Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

…While the human-rights icon has previously been accused of remaining “silent” when it comes to abuses against the Rohingya — who are largely denied citizenship or freedom of movement by Suu Kyi’s government — statements and graphic images that have been published by the State Counsellor’s Information Committee are now facing scrutiny.

Suu Kyi rarely speaks in public so that body is often the only guide the public has to her opinion on key issues.

Some of the social media posts by the information committee were accused of promoting hate speech — including the use of the term “extremist Bengali terrorism,” which is considered inflammatory. Others attempted to link international aid groups to terrorism.

Zeid Raad Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, described statements from the information committee as “highly irresponsible” saying they would “only increase fears and potential for further violence.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Reputation Marred by Myanmar’s Rohingya Crackdown – NBC News


Michigan’s Iraqi Chaldean community is choking on the taste of snake oil

Estimated at 121,000-strong, Michigan’s Chaldean community is the largest in the world outside of Iraq, from where these Aramaic-speaking Mesopotamians claim their ancient roots. It’s a result of multiple waves of immigration, mostly starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when many came to the United States as refugees fleeing anti-Assyrian killings and the chaos of the Iran–Iraq War. Since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, sectarian violence, civil war, and the rise of ISIS have killed or displaced more than two-thirds of Iraq’s Christians.

The Chaldeans of Michigan have a conservative history, consistently supporting the Republican Party with votes and donations, and they voted heavily for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, helping him win Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence inspired many Chaldeans to show up at voting booths with unprecedented enthusiasm by promising to protect persecuted Christians in the Middle East. A Chaldean priest publicly blessed Trump while he was on the campaign trail, and conservative Christians praised Trump’s commitment to Christian minorities on Facebook. Few in the community expected that Trump’s immigration crackdown—touted in part as a means to protect the country from radical Islamists—would come to target them.

Michigan’s Iraqi Chaldean community is fighting to protect dozens of people from deportation.

Tragic? Yes. Surprising? No.

Taking a statement (like, say, “oh, we’ll just deport Muslims”) as gospel just because it sounds good or the listener really wants it to be true seems so naive. Is it really such a radical idea to evaluate the veracity of something with more of a skeptical eye? Sigh….