Monday, November 10, 2008

Palin at her Wasilla office homecoming

The Storm After the Quiet

The good news about Obama has at times seemed completely unreal. A part of me has had such a difficult time believing all the good news: Palin's shaming, Lieberman's shaming, the potential closing of Guantanamo, the 200 some odd Bush policies to be overtured immediately including stem cell research and the gag rule on international family planning ...I still have a difficult time believing it. Every time I see Obama on tv, I imagine McCain up there, continuing the Bush tradition of posing and doing absolutely nothing to advance the nation. It's mindblowing to think that we could have a president that will try to help our country, and the world, rather than harm it.

But my concern about all of this good news (not to be a complete killjoy) is that a lot of issues--both domestic and international--may fall by the wayside or become outright ignored by the US media. One such is the refugee problem. Today I decided to blog about Iraq refugees as part of the Bloggers Unite effort to raise awareness for refugees.

Remember "Operation Iraqi Freedom" --yeah, perhaps not the most apt title, as some two million Iraqis have had to flee their country since it began in 2003, and 2.5 million have become internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Bloggers Unite

From Reuters:

Tens of Thousands of Iraqis may come to U.S. in '09

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has surpassed its goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees this year and expects more, perhaps tens of thousands, next year, the State Department said on Friday.

The United States expects to admit a minimum of 17,000 Iraqi refugees in fiscal 2009, which begins October 1, the department's senior coordinator for refugees said. Thousands more Iraqis and their family members could arrive through a special visa program for people who worked for the United States or its contractors.

"I think you'll see the U.S. government admitting over the course of fiscal 2009 tens of thousands of Iraqis into the United States," coordinator James Foley told reporters.

Up to 3,000 could come from Baghdad, where the United States began interviews this year, he said.

So far this year, 12,118 Iraqi refugees have arrived and 1,000 more are booked to travel to the United States by the end of this month, when the U.S. fiscal year ends, he said.

That marks a huge leap from just 1,600 Iraqis admitted in the previous year. That number drew widespread criticism from refugee groups that said Washington should do more to help millions of Iraqis who have fled instability and violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The number is still lower than what some other countries have taken. Sweden, a country of 9 million people, has admitted over 40,000 Iraqis since 2003...
(more here)

Please watch the following excerpt from "The Party After the War," a documentary about Iraqi refugees:

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