Archive for Refugees

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Aggie’s already told you one way the UN spends your money.

Here’s another:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, two years ago was sitting on a stockpile of $437 million in unspent cash, even as a U.N. auditing agency warned that its sloppy handling of funds imperiled future contributions from U.N. member nations.

The report, issued last year but only recently passed through the U.N. General Assembly, cites UNHCR for sloppy bookkeeping, poor financial oversight, managerial disarray, and a lack of tools to judge how well it was doing its job of helping tens of millions of the world’s displaced people.

The U.N.’s independent Board of Auditors used remarkably straight-forward language to lambaste the refugee agency, whose largest donor, the United States, contributed $712 million to UNHCR in 2010, according to the State Department. The auditors noted that the relief agency, which is financed largely by voluntary contributions, spent about $1.9 billion in 2010; its budget two years earlier was about $1.1 billion.

The auditors pointed out that there were “strong indicators of significant shortcomings in financial management” at the agency, headed since 2005 by Antonio Guterres, a former Socialist prime minister of Portugal. “This is a major risk for UNHCR,” the auditors warned, “given the increasing pressures on donors to justify why they provide public funds to international aid organizations.”

Moreover, the inspectors did not seem optimistic that the situation would change soon, even though UNHCR’s management now says that it is working hard on a wide variety of fronts to change the disturbing situation.

Disturbing, dishmurbing. Who’s going to miss several hundred million dollars?


Prussian Liberation Organization?

Imagine a people starting a war, losing it, and expecting to get all the land back that they lost in the war—plus more for their idiot nephews and other family members born since the day they had so ignominiously launched and lost the conflict.

NFW, right?

In 1945, Stalin seized East Prussia, Germany’s venerable redoubt on the Baltic Sea, as a spoil of war. A portion went to the “People’s Republic” that the Soviets had just created in Poland. He kept the rest. The last surviving Germans were killed or deported. The cozy old Königsberg of the Teutonic Knights—the home, during the Enlightenment, of no less than Immanuel Kant—was transformed into Kaliningrad—a bleak Soviet place named after Mikhail Kalinin, the token peasant who was titular head of Stalin’s USSR.

Nearly 70 years later, the countries behind these borders have changed, but the frontiers have not, and will not. The Polish part is finally and truly Polish; the sliver of East Prussia given to the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic is now a part of independent Lithuania; the rest of the old Soviet slice is a seedy Russian exclave surrounded by the European Union. The only Germans there are tourists, in search of an elusive land that lingers on in family lore and in the dreams of the dispossessed for a vanished, fondly imagined, past.

There is no movement for right-of-return of Germans to East Prussia, no UN agency to wipe their behinds (and theirs alone), no call for statehood for a land lost to history. Germans have a home called Germany (conveniently), and they’re doing quite well for themselves. And last I checked, no Germans (or very few anyway) were spouting vile, antisemitic language or threatening war—which is saying something!

Good thing that’s the model for the world today. Remember the world as it was, embrace it as it is, try to make it better tomorrow. And everybody is following that model, right?


Why Israel is Not in Poland

This has received a lot of attention on the web, but it’s still worth sharing:

It is doubtful that there has ever been a more miserable human refuse than Jewish survivors after World War II. Starving, emaciated, stateless—they were not welcomed back by countries where they had lived for generations as assimilated and educated citizens. Germany was no place to return to and in Kielce, Poland, 40 Jews who survived the Holocaust were killed in a pogrom one year after the war ended. The European Jew, circa 1945, quickly went from victim to international refugee disaster.

Yet within a very brief time, this epic calamity disappeared, so much so that few people today even remember the period. How did this happen in an era when Palestinian refugees have continued to be stateless for generations?

I believed the Jewish refugees were called “displaced persons”, and the miserable condition of their existence cannot be exaggerated.

The author imagines these camps fostering generations of angry, stateless Jewish refugees. But of course he has to imagine—because it didn’t happen.

Instead, the Jewish refugees returned to their ancestral homeland. They left everything they had in Europe and turned their backs on the Continent—no “right of return” requested. They were welcomed by the 650,000 Jewish residents of Israel.

An additional 700,000 Jewish refugees flooded into the new state from Arab lands after they were summarily kicked out. Again losing everything after generations in one place; again welcomed in their new home.

Get that? The Jews of Europe and the Jews of Araby were left penniless and stateless after the war, but they didn’t stay that way. In a fair world, the miracle that is Israel, risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Jewish existence in the 1930s and 40s, would be celebrated in story and song around the world, instead of only in Israel. Who knows better than Israel that we do not live in that world?

I imagine the argument will be made that while the Jews may have achieved all this, they did not have their land stolen from them. This is, of course, a canard, another convenient lie. They did lose property all over Europe and the Mideast. And there was never an independent Palestine run by Palestinian Arabs. Ever. Jews and Arabs lived in this area controlled first by the Turks and then by the British. The U.N. offered the two-state solution that we hear so much about in 1947. The problem then, and now, is that it was accepted by only one party, Israel.

And then, this point—which I should have known was too good to be made by me alone:

We don’t hear about any of this because giving human beings hope and purpose doesn’t make great copy. Squalor, victimhood and terror are always more exciting. Perhaps in the end, the greatest crime of the Jews was that they quietly created something from nothing. And in the process, they transformed themselves.

Golda Meir is credited with having said that if the Jews had not fought back against the Arab armies and had been destroyed in 1948, they would have received the most beautiful eulogies throughout the world. Instead, they chose to stand their ground and defend themselves. And in winning, they received the world’s condemnation. Meir said she would take the condemnation over the eulogies.

As I have written to my own distraction, the world has reserved the role of Victim for the Jews. Whenever the Jew plays against type, the reviews are excoriating. But give the Jew his or her “natural” position as object of oppression and derision, and the house erupts in applause.

[Bleep] that, I say. That’s a mug’s game.


Hey, Israel, Can You Scoot Down?

Our friends from the Great White North need a little room in the dock:

Canada hit back on Tuesday over a United Nations “expert report” that criticizes how minorities are treated in the country, charging it contains inaccuracies and bases several findings on unsubstantiated claims.

The rebuke at the Geneva-based UN’s Human Rights Council came just minutes after Gay McDougall, the UN’s Independent Expert on Minority Issues, tabled the document at a session where Libya, China and Iran are expected to to slip under the radar despite claims of series persecution of minorities by those countries.

Both her statement and the report charge that minorities in Canada are victims of disproportionate levels of poverty, job-market and workplace discrimination, and racial profiling by police.

According to the report, Canada needs to give minorities special help to get jobs, to become more politically active, to move out of poor areas and to cut their high-school dropout rates.

Canada should also ensure that Muslim and Arab communities don’t feel they are “targeted” by counter-terrorism measures, the report says.

“The report contains strong comments on racial profiling, without offering clear statistical evidence to support such observations,” Alison Leclaire Christie, Canada’s deputy permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Council.

“Unfortunately, in some cases, findings appear to be drawn from anecdotal evidence or from an assessment by one individual or journalist.”


The UN can frame a country based on “anecdotal evidence or from an assessment by one individual or journalist”?

Shut up!


Sorry. So Canada, how does it feel to be Zionist? HAHAHAHAHAHA! [Must stop that!]

I love Canada, I really do. Any place that produced Mark Steyn and Kathy Shaidle is okay in my book, no matter how nationalized, socialized, and progressivized it is. I even felt okay about America losing the gold medal hockey game.

So it is especially enjoyable to see the very model of a modern socialist republic accused of xenophobia, racism, and intolerance—while Libya, China and Iran get off scot-free! (If that’s not an ethnic slur.)

Come on, Canada. It’s pretty funny, you have to admit.


800,000 Jews Expelled From Muslim World

But who’s counting?

About time they got noticed:

And yet, for all the president’s talk of “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world” and shared “principles of justice and progress,” neither he nor anyone around him, and certainly no one in the audience, bothered to notice one small detail missing from the speech: he forgot me.

The president never said a word about me. Or, for that matter, about any of the other 800,000 or so Jews born in the Middle East who fled the Arab and Muslim world or who were summarily expelled for being Jewish in the 20th century. With all his references to the history of Islam and to its (questionable) “proud tradition of tolerance” of other faiths, Mr. Obama never said anything about those Jews whose ancestors had been living in Arab lands long before the advent of Islam but were its first victims once rampant nationalism swept over the Arab world.

Nor did he bother to mention that with this flight and expulsion, Jewish assets were — let’s call it by its proper name — looted. Mr. Obama never mentioned the belongings I still own in Egypt and will never recover. My mother’s house, my father’s factory, our life in Egypt, our friends, our books, our cars, my bicycle. We are, each one of us, not just defined by the arrangement of protein molecules in our cells, but also by the things we call our own. Take away our things and something in us dies. Losing his wealth, his home, the life he had built, killed my father. He didn’t die right away; it took four decades of exile to finish him off.

Mr. Obama had harsh things to say to the Arab world about its treatment of women. And he said much about America’s debt to Islam. But he failed to remind the Egyptians in his audience that until 50 years ago a strong and vibrant Jewish community thrived in their midst. Or that many of Egypt’s finest hospitals and other institutions were founded and financed by Jews. It is a shame that he did not remind the Egyptians in the audience of this, because, in most cases — and especially among those younger than 50 — their memory banks have been conveniently expunged of deadweight and guilt. They have no recollections of Jews.

In Alexandria, my birthplace and my home, all streets bearing Jewish names have been renamed. A few years ago, the Library of Alexandria put on display an Arabic translation of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” perhaps the most anti-Semitic piece of prose ever written. Today, for the record, there are perhaps four Jews left in Alexandria.

When the last Jew dies, the temples and religious artifacts and books that were the property of what was once probably the wealthiest Jewish community on the Mediterranean will go to the Egyptian government — not to me, or to my children, or to any of the numberless descendants of Egyptian Jews.

It is strange that our president, a man so versed in history and so committed to the truth, should have omitted mentioning the Jews of Egypt. He either forgot, or just didn’t know, or just thought it wasn’t expedient or appropriate for this venue. But for him to speak in Cairo of a shared effort “to find common ground … and to respect the dignity of all human beings” without mentioning people in my position would be like his speaking to the residents of Berlin about the future of Germany and forgetting to mention a small detail called World War II.

André Aciman, a professor of comparative literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center, is the author of the memoir “Out of Egypt.”

He also didn’t mention the Jews of Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria… etc.

They all lost their homes, their businesses, and many of them lost their lives to Arab persecution. While not on the scale of the Holocaust (6,000,000,000 vs. 800,000), what happened to Jews in the Arab/Muslim world was an enormous tragedy – and an inconvenient truth for the Left. Jews were humiliated, robbed, raped, murdered, tortured and exiled. And our President was silent, as if it never happened.

- Aggie

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