27 September 2007

Middle East Report #244 (Fall 07)

Among her many talents, Michelle Woodward, who keeps the excellent blog photo beirut is the photo editor at Middle East Report. She has posted on the latest issue, and especially on its photographic aspects, here. I reccommend not only the magazine but Michelle's insightful reflections on the ethical and political difficulties that she sees in the ways that photographers represent members of "refugee" populations.

Coincidently, The New York Times ran an opinion piece today on the scandalous record the U.S. is establishing regarding Iraqis displaced by our war. It reads, in part:

"Many are restarting in Sweden. Between January and
August this year, Sweden took in 12,259 Iraqis fleeing
their decomposing country. It expects 20,000 for all of
2007. By contrast, in the same January-August period,
the United States admitted 685 refugees, according to
State Department figures.

The numbers bear closer scrutiny. In January, Sweden
admitted 1,500 Iraqis, compared to 15 that entered the
United States. In April, the respective numbers were
1,421 and 1; in May, 1,367 and 1; and in
August 1,469 and 529.

True, the Iraqis in Sweden are asylum-seekers, whereas
those reaching these shores have refugee status conferred
by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. But the
numbers — representing the bulk of the Iraqis getting into
a country of nine million and another of 300 million —
are no less of an indictment for that."

Since there wull be readers who consider The Times unreliably liberal let's try Voice of America for another perspective on the refugee problem our war is creating:

"The International Organization for Migration says more
than 2.25 million people are displaced within Iraq and
another two million Iraqis have sought refuge in other
countries, most in neighboring Syria and Jordan.

The International Organization for Migration says
most Iraqis are fleeing their homes because of
sectarian violence carried out by militias and insurgents.
It says 88 percent of the displaced say they were
targeted because of their religious or sectarian identity."

And lest we in the U.S. feel uniquely burdened with guilt, The Guardian reports that Amnesty International is criticizing Great Britain, our partner in the coalition of the willingly misguided, for a similarly pathetic record on admitting Iraqi refugees fleeing the fiasco to which they (the British) have contributed. The story starts by observing that "Britain has forcibly returned more Iraqis than any other European nation and is not doing enough to help Iraq's neighbours cope with the largest population movement in the Middle East since Palestinians were displaced after the creation of Israel in 1948." And we all know how well that earlier displacement has turned out! Having been driven out of Europe (and elsewhere) by murderous anti-semitism the Jews established Israel and, in the process displaced Palestinians who have as yet to find anything resembling an adequate home.

So, let's really go out on a limb here: The long term consequences of Bush's disasterous war will not be pretty.
P.S.: I want to recommend that you spend some time at photo beirut. Michelle is smart and a talented photographer. I myself am especially partial to the work she is doing on graffiti and posters.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

ME report?
Palestinians still hate and want to murder Israelis.

The ME is still run according to medieval theocratic bullshit.

04 October, 2007 16:04  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

ANON. You are articulate and insightful as always. I can almost hear you hyperventilating through the ether.

04 October, 2007 19:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? Wow, guess you're Mr ESP then as well as Mr Lefty Jerkoff.

Its a reasonable summary.
On which you say nothing, because it inconveniently confronts your bullshit head on.

08 October, 2007 08:39  

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