Sunday, September 04, 2005

forced migration & seeking refuge within your homeland

P-A & Amanda have both riffed off Chris Rabb's commentary at
Afro-Netizen™ that victims of Hurrican Katrina are not refugees because they are American
Hurricane Katrina victims are Americans!

If Mississipians fled to Jamaica, then they would be refugees.

I don't recall the media referring to Hurricane Andrew victims in '92 as refugees. Do you?

I'll probably loose my liberal credentials for this but I think folks are grasping to find yet another example of racism/elitism because, frankly, there are so many real examples it's tempting to turn almost anything into something in need of being pointed out.

Pointing out the use of the word "looting" to refer to a person of color foraging for necessities, but referring to a white person as "finding" supplies when (s)he is caught doing the same thing is, most definitely, an inherently racist use of verbiage. Anyone who went some place & absconded with luxury items was looting; anyone who went to an unmanned store to take items of need such as food, water, dry clothing, first aid supplies (including necessary prescription medications), a back-up generator w/oil to run it and even an abandoned but functional schoolbus to evacuate people from the area was doing what they needed to do to survive and/or save others under the conditions present in the wake of this particular hurricane.

I agree to taking exception to the President's use of the words "this part of the world" instead of "this part of the country" because, in doing so, it most definitely sounds as though he is trying to distance himself and that CF of an administration of his from their obligations toward "that part of the world" and duck what has been a clear abrogation of responsibility on their part.

The people in affected areas of the Gulf Coast are survivors who have been displaced by horrific conditions and forced into migration in search of refuge. The fact that forced into migration but not immigration for what will be, at the very least, an extended period of time in shelter away from their home does not undermine their status as refugees. I don't know what we called those impacted by Andrew or any other horrible distaster of this sort; what I do know is as badly as the victims of those events were affected, the sheer extent of damage cause by Hurricane Katrina (and the colossal cock-ups by our government that enabled even more extensive destruction) places this devastation in a completely different category.

If someone wants to turn use of the word into a racial/political thing, then maybe it should be done with a back-handed sense of pride to further illustrate this administration's abysmal perfomance marked by pattern of careless disregard by those fortunate sons who seem to be living in their own private country much different than the one the rest of us inhabit. The word refugee elicits a visceral emotional response and images of uncaring tyrants who use their citizens for their own purposes while continuing to mistreat and/or otherwise endanger them. It's a good word and a sadly appropriate one to describe the victims of Katrina & the Busheviks.

  • According to this repsonse to Chris Rabb @ Afro-Netizen, the victims of Hurricane Andrew were also referred to as refugees.
  • There's additional debate at Tattered Coat that is, as usual, well worth the read

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