Where do refugees come from? (2011)

Refugees to U.S. by Country of Nationality – Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011
2011 2010 2009
Country Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total              56,384 100          73,293 100          74,602 100
Burma              16,972 30.1          16,693 22.8          18,202 24.4
Bhutan              14,999 26.6          12,363 16.9          13,452 18
Iraq                 9,388 16.7          18,016 24.6          18,838 25.3
Somalia                 3,161 5.6            4,884 6.7            4,189 5.6
Cuba                 2,920 5.2            4,818 6.6            4,800 6.4
Eritrea                 2,032 3.6            2,570 3.5            1,571 2.1
Iran                 2,032 3.6            3,543 4.8            5,381 7.2
Congo, Democratic Republic                    977 1.7            3,174 4.3            1,135 1.5
Ethiopia                    560 1                668 0.9                321 0.4
Afghanistan                    428 0.8                515 0.7                349 0.5
All other countries, including unknown                 2,915 5.2            6,049 8.3            6,364 8.5
Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (Wraps)

Report (May 2012), from Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics is linked here: Refugees and Asylees:2011.

“Because you’re always right….the world will know”

Nope, that’s not what Jesus said.  In John 13:34-35 it says … “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” …. I just got done watching the news and reading some of the posts about immigrants, lesbians, democrats, communists,muslims, republicans, poor people, rich people etc.  The one thing that stands out in what I was seeing, hearing and reading is that too many of us seem to forget what Jesus said was basic-we are called to commanded to love.  Wouldn’t trying to practice love  make most of the inflamatory,  hurtful, hateful dialogue being self-righteously barfed out on each other be radically altered?  Yuck! 

Today’s goal: treating everyone with love, respect and dignity, regardless of ANYTHING else!

I SO agree with Mark Twain when he said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. ” 

Galatians 5:22 “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things!”

God, please help us judge ourselves by the right standards!  Teach us to love as you love!

Uncle Ralph….and the politics of nothing new

Amazing what you can find out about your family (and politics) when you start sorting and shredding the collected documents of the last 50 years….

When I was a kid, I knew Uncle Ralph had died in a logging accident. When I was a teenager, I found out he had had the audacity to run for governor. I also knew this was not looked at as a good thing in the 1950’s-people from our side of the tracks weren’t supposed to dream that big or do anything that noticeable. I was very surprised when my brother told me Uncle Ralph had actually gotten 3000 votes. (Judging by the level of family embarassment, I had expected it to be 3 or 30 votes-not 3000). But it wasn’t until today (stumbling across a couple of articles from the Seattle Times) that I found out why he ran, what he was about, and why there really is, like Ecclesiastes says “nothing new under the sun.”

Uncle Ralph had concluded elections were mainly popularity contests and that the party who wants to get elected makes extragant promises to get elected, then when they’re in office, finds they can’t deliver what they promised without raising taxes, even if they meant to. Then, according to him, the party who’s not currently in power does the same thing and this goes on, and on and on and now it’s 60 years later and it still goes on……

My uncle had some unique ideas….having been really really poor, he was sympathetic to poor people. He thought there should be surplus stores (food banks?) where poor people who needed food could get food and pay whatever they could afford (even if that was nothing) and that they should also be able to get help heating their homes. He thought some of the things being wasted should be turned into other things (recycled?) so people who needed them could use them ….. he thought there should be a limit on campaign expenditures ($1000 tops) so rich guys couldn’t just buy the office.

Uncle Ralph paid his whole life savings ($200) to file as a candidate because he thought doing something was better than just complaining about what wasn’t being done….

Not sure what Uncle Ralph would say about today’s political insanity-my guess is he would probably say taking care of the poor is important and remind me of the words in James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” God, please help us be the change we want to see!

How You Can Help

The following  from the US Campaign for Burma tells one way you can help!


For years, Burma’s military regime has carried out brutal human rights abuses against its own civilians.  Their abuses include the conscription of tens of thousands of child soldiers, the destruction and forced displacement of over 3,300 ethnic minority villages, widespread rape of Burmese women, the killing of civilians, and forcing hundreds of thousands of Burmese people into forced labor, what some call modern-day slavery.
These are not simply human rights abuses — they are mass atrocities called “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes,” meaning that they are illegal under international law such as the Geneva Conventions and Rome Statute. 
In the past, the United Nations Security Council has voted to create a “Commission of Inquiry” to investigate abuses of a major magnitude

— such as in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and the Darfur region of Sudan.  The Commission of Inquiry then makes recommendations to the U.N. Security Council for action. However, no such Commission of Inquiry been created for Burma.
Now, two leading members of the U.S. Congress, Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Don Manzullo (R-IL) have organized a letter to President Obama asking him to press the U.N. Security Council to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Burma’s military regime.  They are circulating a letter in  Congress and asking other Congressmembers to sign-on.  They want as many members as possible to sign the letter, which will then be sent to President Obama.
We need your help to get more members of Congress to sign. When members of Congress organize letters like this they are called “Dear Colleague” letters.  We want you to call your member of Congress and ask them to sign this “Dear Colleague” letter.
Every American is represented in the U.S. Congress by one member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  We would like you to call your Congressional office to urge your member of the U.S. House of Representatives (NOT the U.S. Senate) to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter along with Congressman Crowley and Manzullo.  You do not have to be a citizen; just live or work in your Congressperson’s district. Below are specific instructions on how you can do this. 

 

Click here for the rest of the instructions…….

Waiting for freedom

Eighty-eight years after students first led the movement against British rule, the country’s current rulers are busy sentencing student activists to long terms in prison for continuing the struggle for freedom in Burma.”  (see article and picture below from  yesterday’s Irrawaddy)

Students mark National Day in Rangoon 1938

Students mark National Day in Rangoon 1938

Those who have spoken out, as always in Burma, are still suffering.  Zarganar, a popular comic, was just sentenced to 45 years, and Gambira, a monk involved in the 2007 protests was sentenced to 68 years.  Pastor Eugene Cho included some really good video clips on the situation in Burma and the history of the conflict in his post for today. 
As the picture above from the Irrawaddy demonstrates, Burma has been waiting for freedom and human rights for a long time.  The injustices continue.  US Campaign for Burma has a list of action steps you can do to help speak for and advocate for justice for those suffering under this illegal regime.

Newly Elected Head of Karen National Union

Naw Zipporah Sein, a long time leader of the Karen Women’s Organization, and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee, was elected head of the Karen National Union (KNU) last week.  The YouTube video linked below shows an interview done in July of 2007, discussing the situation in her country and the ways she has been involved in advocacy for many many years.   She is a leader who tries to bring unity, who “reaches across the aisle,” and who serves her people with integrity….. may God bless her, give her wisdom, and protect her.  (The last person who had this job was assassinated in February of 2008).  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsxb58XzGi4