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Adopt refugees, children, & families fleeing war to make worlds of difference

By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota

Rather than focusing on simply raising awareness on the pain and suffering of persons displaced by war, why not take one step further? What if families across Minnesota were encouraged to adopt refugees and displaced persons from around the world as their own?

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Look around the Twin Cities and you will find highway billboards with pictures featuring sad-looking dogs. An appeal is made to the inner humanitarian in us all to act on an injustice. The world is becoming an inferno with no end to the madness. In Syria, Aleppo was recently recaptured by forces loyal to a tyrannical war criminal, yet we continue to stand idle as atrocities unfold on our newsfeeds. Women, children, and the elderly made a last chance escape out of Aleppo hoping to find sanctuary in neighboring Turkey. The sad truth is that a great deal of Syrian civilians will never make it to safe ground under an unrelenting clout of civil war. Here is a proposition we should all consider, what if those highway billboard signs began featuring the tearful faces of Syrian children in addition to other war-battered peoples? On the surface, the main idea would be directed toward raising awareness generally.

Nowadays, it is all too easy to block out a world of sad, but inconvenient truths. We have the ability to remove, block out, and unsubscribe from trends that are unsettling to us. That is nothing but selective attention which desensitizes us to a reality of ominous truths. Rather than focusing on simply raising awareness on the pain and suffering of persons displaced by war, why not take one step further? What if families across Minnesota were encouraged to adopt refugees and displaced persons from around the world as their own? Does such a proposition carry too much controversial baggage? It is all too sensible to argue that human lives are invaluable; therefore, society should mirror that all too universal standard. There are many different ways to adopt refugees and displaced persons fleeing war zones. There is the traditional method of direct adoption; this is where one child or family is brought into the United States through programs of state-sanctioned sponsorship.

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Refugees, an undeniable element of the American dream

By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota

It seems rather reasonable to argue the United States owes the millions of people it has displaced, directly or indirectly, amnesty through a program of refugee resettlement.

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Wherever there are immigrants, there are refugees. The United States is a nation of immigrants, but is it also a nation of refugees? The Puritans were one of the earliest European settlers that arrived in the New World. They fled the Old World to escape bigotry and persecution for their beliefs. They found solace at Plymouth Rock because it offered a place free of bigoted persecution. Therefore, would that make the Puritans America’s first major batch of refugees? At the time, issues surrounding the drama of immigration were not there because as a nation, the United States was nonexistent.

It cannot be stressed enough. The United States is a nation built on the bedrock of immigration. It can be argued that every major wave of immigrants were the refugees of their time. They escaped subsistence by means of serfdom. The foundation of the nation is supported by the promise of providence; a staple of the American Dream. The United States is a grand experiment ceaselessly working toward its optimization. It is the civic responsibility of every generation to impartially define the American Dream. Each definition can be used as an existential nuance to repatriate its foundations to the present.

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Costs & Conflicts of Assimilation

By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota

Be one of us or one of them.

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Assimilation is a difficult thing to experience. Some choose to live insular lives which leaves very little room for external engagement. As a matter of principle, the ways of the old world are traditionally followed without question. The children of refugees find themselves in a very difficult position. There is this underlying belief suggesting that a way of life must be chosen. Either embrace the ways of the old world or become part of the new. That decision carries with it a weighty proposition. For a great deal of expatriated youths living across the United States, there is this feeling that a choice must be made between parents and their external surroundings. For example, parental refugees may choose to maintain minimal proficiency with the English language in addition to their newly acquired surroundings. Their children generally function as bridges which assist in overcoming barriers of language and culture. That eventually leads to a conflict of interest which materializes in a clash of ideas.

Youths experience a world that is fundamentally different from that of their elders. Such conflicts originate from cauldrons that brew oppositional antagonisms with old world traditions. An ongoing trend among refugees finds a need to keep assimilative forces at an arm’s length. The rationale behind that is supported by an analogy of fear.

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A Humanitarian Event For Syria

By Amber Michel, Engage Minnesota

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So often we feel powerless to address the immense suffering of our fellow human beings. Those feelings

of helplessness have become especially oppressive as we see hundreds of thousands of our Syrian sisters and brothers struggling, fleeing, starving, and dying.

My name is Amber and I am an organizer with CISPOS (Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria).

When I talk about Syria, one of the comments I hear most often is, “I don’t even understand what’s happening over there. It’s just so complicated.” People frequently follow that up with, “It’s so sad but what can we really do?” It is tempting to simply leave it at that, change the television channel, go back to homework, and busy ourselves in the activities of daily life.

Instead, I encourage us to give serious consideration to those two sentiments.

1. It’s just so complicated.
2. What can we really do?

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Kenyan refugee camp friendship rekindled in St. Cloud

By Ibrahim Hirsi, St. Cloud Times

IbrahimHirsiIllo400The recent stream of Somali immigrants and refugees who are making their mark in St. Cloud is partly the reason Hussein Mohamud and Feisal Ali decided to live in the city.

The childhood friends who grew up in the dusty and arid Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya also picked St. Cloud to be closer to their families here — and to Minneapolis, which has a vibrant Somali-American presence and serves as the capital city for Somalis in North America.

“It’s a small place,” Ali said of St. Cloud. “Anywhere you want to go in the city is just about 10 minutes away. People really like that.”

Mohamud added: “St. Cloud is really a nice city. It’s promising for young Somalis … many kids are graduating from colleges and high schools.”

Before their arrival in St. Cloud, Mohamud and Ali spent more than two decades in Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world.

Both escaped the civil war in Somalia — which erupted in 1991 — and sought refuge in the camp, which has more than 400,000 people. They initially thought the war would end sooner and planned to return home in a matter of months.

That wasn’t the case, however.

The civil war in Somalia stretched into decades. For Ali and Mohamud, this meant living more than 20 years in dire conditions in the camp.

Continue reading at St. Cloud Times

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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