Eat Your Cake; I'm a Vietnamese Refugee (2010) (10’09) This documentary is about courage and survival and having the will and perseverance to succeed despite considerable obstacles. The story of Mitchell Pham's remarkable journey is told through the evocative use of stop-frame animation, created from a Vietnamese traditional folded paper craft, mixed with live action to show an innovative account of his harrowing but ultimately inspirational journey from Vietnamese prison camp, to a life in New Zealand after the Vietnam war. [more inside]
Judith Kerr, now 94, escaped Nazi Germany with her family on the eve of Hitler's rise to power. Writer of 33 books (so far!) she is the creator of the much loved Tiger who came to tea, as well as the lovable, recently deceased Mog. [more inside]
Food has always been at the heart of Syrian identity, and for nearly a million refugees that is true in a new, sharper way. When homes are destroyed and families scattered, food is a rare constant. It can also be a means of survival. For those who have lost jobs and professional status, cooking is an easily transferable skill, so conflict tends to spread cuisines.~ source article
Sumaya Agha is an American photographer of Syrian descent, who has among other things spent several years documenting the lives of Syrian refugees in camps and in transit. There's a continuity in her work with families across multiple years, as with young brothers Amir and Ibrahim in 2013 and in 2015.
The ungrateful refugee. As refugees, we owed them our previous identity. We had to lay it at their door like an offering, and gleefully deny it to earn our place in this new country. There would be no straddling. No third culture here. A long personal essay in the Guardian.
Asylum seekers are risking their lives to make their way into Canada on foot to exploit a loophole in the US-Canada Safe Third Country agreement. Immigration experts expect the number of individuals attempting this journey will only increase under the incoming US administration.
PBS Frontline Powerful film using cell phone video and interviews following five stories of desperation and hope. [more inside]
Jim Estill put up $1.5 million to bring 58 families to Canada. He found them homes, gave them jobs and even bought one man a dollar store. How the mild-mannered CEO of an appliance company became the Oskar Schindler of Guelph. [slTorontoLife]
Wonder and worry as a Syrian child in Canada transforms [slNYT] The Mohammads were from a particularly conservative village in Daraa Province. Their union was arranged by their families and governed by clear tenets. Back home, Eman Mohammad, 36, did not leave the house without asking her husband’s permission. She did not socialize with men who were not relatives. Women in the village did not drive. Against the odds, and Abdullah’s initial reluctance, she had worked as a nurse, one of only a few women in her circle to be employed outside the home after having children... [more inside]
While the International Court of Justice in The Hague takes up a dispute between Kenya and Somalia over maritime oil and gas reserves this week, Human Rights Watch alleges that Kenya's plan to close the Dadaab refugee camp complex, amidst protest from Somalia, violates the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention, which requires that repatriation of refugees must be voluntary. Earlier this year Kenya's Interior Ministry announced that the camp, covering 50 km² (20 mi²) and home to nearly 300,000 people, would be closed by November. Ground was broken to construct the earliest portions of Dadaab in October 1991 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a temporary measure to aid Somalis fleeing from their country's civil war, but as the years passed the site became home to refugees from other conflicts and to refugees from drought and famine, at its height holding more than half a million people. [more inside]
Syrian Refugees in small town Canada A feel good story about Syrian refugees settling in small town Canada [more inside]
For the first time in history, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is fielding a small team of refugees – between five and 10 athletes who will represent not a country, but all those without one. [more inside]
Drawing upon his own experience as a refugee of that war who later settled in the United States, Nguyen tells the program host Michael Krasny: "I knew that in writing a novel about a communist spy that the easiest way for me to write this book would be for the spy to renounce communism and embrace American individualism. This is how one gets published in the American literary industry, and I refused to do that." [more inside]
Epic journey of Kunkush - a refugee cat. A story which could have been raised in a lab to strike at the heart of all those on Metafilter who love cats and a good cry. (SLGuardian)
What It's Like Experiencing Canada as a Refugee [video] “Amidst ongoing attacks from public figures such as Donald Trump, it's easy to forget that Syrians and other desperate refugees are, in fact, people. One person is pushing back and rolling out the red carpet: Kourosh Houshmand. [more inside]
A Syrian Refugee's first month in Canada Vanig Garabedian, 47, was on board the first government-organized flight of Syrian refugees to Canada on Dec. 10. He came with his wife Anjilik Jaghlassian and their daughters Sylvie and Lucie, 12, and Anna-Maria, 10. The very first people to leave the plane, the family’s arrival in Toronto was widely photographed, as was their meeting with the prime minister. One month later, Garabedian, an obstetrician/gynecologist for 15 years in Aleppo, has settled into an apartment in the suburbs of Toronto.
The Seattle Natural Hazard Explorer lets you explore where different parts of the city of Seattle, Washington are most vulnerable to potentially catastrophic geological events like earthquakes (previously) and volcanoes. It is one of many visualizations or choropleths that connect ever-changing data with explorable geographic locations, such as an Atlas for a Changing Planet and Syria: Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis
The first official Canadian government flight carrying Syrian refugees touched down at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late last night. [more inside]
Neil Kaplan is fascinated by the stories told by old passports, especially those relating to the Holocaust, and the resonance they have for today's immigrants and refugees. "It seems strange to admit that in 2015, the right to exist in certain physical spaces on Earth—spaces bound by imaginary lines drawn on maps by our governments—can be prevented by a pocket-sized paper travel document."
Two million children are fleeing Syria, this is where they sleep.
The Tangled History of Barbed Wire by Robert Zaretsky [Boston Globe]
“Like inventors from Joseph Guillotin to Alfred Nobel, whose creations escaped their original purpose and were yoked to evil ends, Joseph Glidden would have been shocked at what became of his. In 1874, the Illinois farmer and New Hampshire native, fastening sharpened metal knots along thick threads of steel, created barbed wire. Thanks to its high resilience and low cost, the rapid installation of the coils and lasting dissuasion of the barbs, the wire transformed the American West. Ranchers could protect their cattle against predators, both wild and human, as they pushed the frontier ever further west. The wire itself came to be called 'devil’s rope.'”Previously. Previously. Previously.
Death in Syria by Karen Yourish, K.K. Rebecca Lai and Derek Watkins [New York Times]
“With each passing day there are fewer safe places in Syria,” Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chairman of the United Nations panel investigating human rights abuses in Syria, wrote in a recent report. “Everyday decisions — whether to visit a neighbor, to go out to buy bread— have become, potentially, decisions about life and death.”
In the grand scale of naval hardware, the Phoenix isn't much to look at. It's 136 ft long and forty years old. It has a small crew of twenty including paramedics and drone operators. But over the past two years it has rescued 11,000 migrants from the Mediterranean. It is the sole vessel operated by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) unless you also count the two onboard dinghies. The station was started and funded by Paul Catrambones in 2013 before turning in part to private donations. How MOAS conducts Search and Rescue. [more inside]
When you’re facing the world’s biggest refugee crisis since the second world war, it helps to have a sober debate about how to respond.
The Detainee’s Tale by Ali Smith Over the last few weeks, writer Ali Smith has taken part in the Refugee Tales project, a group of volunteers who befriend and support immigration detainees. This is her response:
So: the first thing you remember knowing is that there isn’t any more school. Your mother dies when you are three, you don’t remember. You never see your father, so you can’t remember him. You know, from being told, that your father’s family fought with your mother’s family; his were Hausa, hers were Christian. So you get given by your father’s family to a man in the village and for a short while there’s school under the great big tree, where you sit in the shade on the ground and the teacher sits on a seat and you get taught letters and reading. Then the school has to have money so the man you’ve been given to takes you to the farm. You are six years old. There is definitely no school on the farm.Story contains descriptions of trauma/distress.
Consider an arthouse, darker, noir version of Men in Black with secretive alien refugees trapped in Manhattan, tentacle sex and concept art by H. R. Giger. Clair Noto's The Tourist could have been transformed into a great movie in the right hands. Instead, it has languished in permanent development hell since the 1980's. Some call it "the greatest scifi screenplay never produced" (Article, part 1 and 2.) Decide for yourself and read Noto's original screenplay. [more inside]
Photographer Shannon Jensen's series “The Long Walk” documents the shoes belonging to some of the 30,000 refugees who traveled by foot across the border from Sudan’s Blue Nile state over to neighboring South Sudan. Additional background on the Amnesty award-winning project. [more inside]
Immigrant boat headed to Italy, capsizes, more than 200 people in the water. A little more than a week after a boat sinking that killed over 300 people, the Italian navy has reported another boat is sinking. As refugees flow into the EU, looking for asylum, countries are torn between saving lives and stymieing the flow of people pouring into countries already under strain from austerity. [more inside]
Australian Labor Party's 46th National Conference starts today in Sydney. Key agenda items - Gay marriage, refugees, and Uranium sale to India. Follow it live.
In 2005, Manuel Bravo, 35, walked to a stairwell of the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Center carrying a bedsheet. He hung himself. The note he left indicated that he had done it so that his son, Antonio Bravo, 13, could remain in the United Kingdom to be educated. The pair were to be deported back to war-torn Angola the next day, where they alleged that they had been victims of abuse by the ruling party. Now, Antonio is 19, training to be an electrician, speaking in Yorkshire dialect, no longer speaks his native Porteguese, and will be deported back to Angola if his humanitarian visa is not extended. "My family, they're English," he said, referring to the Beaumonts (his adoptive family). "Britain, that's my culture." [more inside]
In Australia, about 250 detainees rioted last week at Christmas Island's infamous detention centre in protest of their harsh treatment and long incarceration. The Federal Opposition has called for the rioters to be charged amid controversy over police use of beanbag rounds and tear gas. A former detainee is also
"Voice of San Diego reporter Adrian Florido set out to find a family, he writes, "whose experience could illustrate the day-to-day challenge for Burmese refugees" in San Diego, since "more than 200 Burmese families have arrived [in that city] since 2006." In the process, Florido met a 24-year-old man named Har Sin" who was unable to hear, speak, read, write or use sign language, and wound up writing a two-part story about him: In a New Land, Hoping to Hear and Breaking Free of a Life Without Language. The story is available as a downloadable pdf: A Silent Journey Series. / Via The Kicker, the daily blog of the Columbia Journalism Review [more inside]
Energy shortages and poor sanitation are two of the most serious problems in refugee camps. Now engineers say they can solve both problems by harvesting energy from human excrement.
Refugee camps to use gas from human waste.
Refugee camps to use gas from human waste.
The Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration control, has initiated a program to test the DNA from of potential asylum seekers in an attempt to confirm their true nationalities. The initial program is a six-month pilot limited to claimants arriving from the Horn of Africa. The program, currently using forensic samples provided on a voluntary basis, could potentially expand to other nationalities if successful. The Home Office spokeswoman said ancestral DNA testing would not be used alone but would be combined with language analysis, investigative interviewing techniques and other recognized forensic disciplines, but many are decrying the "deeply flawed" program, from refugee support groups to scientists in the genetic forensics fields (via). [more inside]
Inside Somalia. Mike Thomson of the BBC makes a rare visit to the refugee camps in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
This past Thursday the Canadian government granted refugee status to Brandon Huntley, a South African who has been living illegally in Canada since 2005. Huntley claimed that if he were to be repatriated back to South Africa he would be persecuted due to the fact that he is white. The South African government is not amused. [more inside]
I am a Palestinian refugee; my parents are refugees too, as well as my grandparents. I have been raised in a place called a refugee camp. With Israel still banning foreign Journalists from Gaza; read some of the Blogs from people inside or with friends and relatives inside the war zone. Then there is The electronic Intifada.
Radio Lajee is one lone Aussie woman in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank, teaching young Palestinians how to podcast and share their stories with the world. The project's been going for a little over six weeks, but already there's four episode up on the site; all of them in English. These include a story about the beginning of the Camp, a day in the life of a 14 year old Palestinian girl, a celebration of the traditional dance style of Dabke and a cooking segment by future celebrity chef, Amal Abu Srour.
Misc-Olympics-Filter. (gadget can be added to your Google homepage). Former Sudanese refugee chosen as US flag bearer for opening ceremonies. And a scandal after BeijingTickets.com (now shut-down) fails to deliver tickets that they sold: BeijingTicketScam.com
Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum in the UK. Mehdi, now 20, was studying in the UK when Parham (his boyfriend) was arrested for the crime of homosexuality by the Iranian government. Mehdi was named by his boyfriend and warned he was liable to arrest on his planned return. The UK Home Office denied him asylum [despite a thoughtful campaign by human rights campaigners] - because it was said he had overstayed his student visa and was therefore not seen as genuinely seeking asylum. So he escaped to the Netherlands. That's where it gets complicated. [more inside]
Riverbend resurfaces in Syria
At least I think so, anyways. And so do, apparently, about 150 delegates from the International AIDS Conference. They've decided that they'd rather stay here than go back to their homes, mostly in Africa, and are claiming refugee status in order to meet this goal. While it's understandable that some of these claims may be legitimate, and that the home countries might not have been as enticingly developed as Canada, it does seem that for some "delegates", their claims are not what they may seem.
The Cult of Zaoui. Algerian Ahmed Zaoui arrived in New Zealand in December 2002, having been convicted in Belgium and France (in absentia) for terrorism-related offences, on a false passport requesting refugee status. He was imprisoned for two years (spending ten months in solitary confinement) as a result of the Security Intelligence Service issuing a security risk certificate, before the NZ Supreme Court granted him bail. He now lives in a Dominican Priory in Auckland under curfew, but manages (accompanied by his crusading young lawyer) to give public lectures, offer eulogies, publish a book of poetry, appear in a music video (wmv), sing onstage at the NZ Music Awards, inspire a fund-raising cookbook "Conversations over Couscous", and has become (depending on your viewpoint) a reluctant or carefully cultivated celebrity.
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