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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.

omar
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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A personal story of surviving war in Somalia

By Saciido Shaie, Engage Minnesota

saciido
As a young girl full of hope, I lost that hope the day I left my country of birth, Somalia. I want to share how I came to the US and left Somalia without my choice.

I remember leaving my home not looking back, not knowing what was going on. The only thing I knew was that something awful was happening and that people were dying, yet I didn’t know why. I was very scared, confused and did not know what to do.

As my family and I left with my aunt’s car, my eyes were glued to the window.  I watched the people on the street.  I saw injured people crying for help on the sidewalk, yet no one was helping, everyone was running. But one thing that I can’t ever forget was, as I was watching people on the sidewalk, running, carrying backpacks, and carrying their babies on their back, walking without shoes, there was a child maybe one-year-old sucking his dead mother’s breast. This made me cry for many days. I remember looking at the baby, and telling my mother to stop the car so that I can help the baby. I remember how devastated and shocked I felt. I still remember the red shirt he was wearing.

You see, it is not easy to forget such incident, how can I when I still see the sand and the dust all over his little face and the tears and the horror on his face. How can I forget the cry and the scene as if I am rewinding an old horror movie? But make no mistake, as it was, and still is a reality of my past that hunts me down up until now. I wish someone heard me when I called my mother asking her to stop the car and didn’t.

“Mom, please stop the car,” I keep repeating the same cry, and I thought maybe my mother didn’t hear me at all. Then again, I said, “mom, the baby, please let’s help him.”

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Preventing the Next War?

Keith Ellison’s Iran Forum and the June 10 Call-In to Congress

By Lydia Howell

On May 28, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., hosted Iran scholars for a community forum in a packed hall at the First Unitarian Society church in Minneapolis. The focus was on the U.S.-Iran relationship, estranged for over 30 years, which many fear may become the next chapter in the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism.”

“Nary a day goes by that someone isn’t saying something abut Iran in the media. Part of my responsibility as a U.S. congressman is to be a forum to discuss the critical issues we face and to promote dialog about the most pressing issues,” said Ellison. “To quote [African-American writer] James Baldwin: Anything that cannot be faced cannot be fixed.”
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