How Important is Electing Barack Obama this November? VERY: African & Other Immigrants- There is a Clear Choice Between Obama & Mitt Romney.

There is a Clear Choice: Obama is for you, who are often left out of mainstream America. Remember that.

How  important is electing President Barack Obama to you this November?  If you are an immigrant, particularly, an African Immigrant, you can no longer stay home, be silent, pretend this is not your country or let others vote for ‘their’ President. You need to claim the promised land that you have entered, and make a difference for the world. This election is the most important election, even more so, than the 2008 elections. President Obama and the Democratic Party are facing a great challenge this year because there is a clear choice. Your life will never be the same if Mitt Romney is elected as President of the United States. Get out your tennis shoes, talk to your children, talk to your neighbors, volunteer, and vote, like your life depends on it.

Don’t Let Obama Fight this Battle Alone- Join Before It is Too Late

VOLUNTEERING: Do you have to be a citizen to vote? Yes. You have to be. But, do you have to be a citizen to volunteer, to give your money to help Barack Obama get elected or to campaign with the phone bank or go door to door? NO. All you have to be is a legal resident of the US to volunteer. To vote, you have to be a registered voter, so get on with it, if you have not yet done so. Many other states have ended their voter registration, however.

I am a Volunteer, and each week, I make phone calls, open my home as a phone bank, etc. etc. Yesterday, during our phone call hours at the Obama for President office (The Local Democratic Party Offices), I spoke to an immigrant, an Indian or Pakistani woman, living in one of the most affluent areas of our town. She told me that she had never voted in her life even though she had been in America for decades and is over fifty years old. Why had she never voted? I did not ask her. But she told me that she did not know what to do. She’d just got her voter registration confirmation in the mail, just one day before the PA deadline. Wow, she made it. But she said to me, I do not know what to do when I enter the booth, how to vote. “I am scared.” Wow!

She is an educated immigrant, probably, a doctor, by where she lives in my community. But she has never voted in her life. Is this because, like many of you out there, she didn’t feel that her voice mattered? Well, this is America, the greatest country on earth, if you ask me, where every vote and every voice matters, where the law is on your side. Do not let all the noise about voter IDs and all the intimidation make you afraid to exercise your rights. Go, and get in involved, your life depends on it.

Examine the Candidates Against their Promises Despite the Confusion with Mitt Romney’s recent switch from what he would do with your health insurance, your Medicare, your Medicaid, etc. etc.

I spoke to another woman yesterday, a non-immigrant American. She’d just got a new job after losing her previous one. She lost her health insurance after losing that job. Now, the new job is making her wait three months despite her medical conditions. Times are hard, isn’t so? So, now, she’s waiting for the new job to kick in its insurance so she can see the doctor. But you known what? She told me that she was Undecided.

My question to her was, WHY? Why is a woman who has no health insurance, who is moving to a new one, thanks to God, undecided, and probably, will vote for Romney? I told her that she’s lucky to have a new job and a new health insurance. But you know what, “your new job/insurance under Romney will deny you treatment because it’s been many months since  you’ve been uncovered, and when you begin the new insurance coverage, you will be a case of Pre-existing condition.” Under Obama’s health care policy, she will have her Pre-existing condition covered. Wow! How hard is that to understand?

For us, immigrants, the stake is higher. A new president holds the key not just to your living condition in the US, but also, that of your life as an immigrant, immigration laws and issues, foreign policies toward the rest of the world, your children’s future and stay in this country, your life as a citizen or resident alien, wars or ending wars, and on and on. Stop pretending this is not your country. We all love America, and I know you do, too. God bless America, God bless the world, God bless you.

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Dear President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Please Do Not Grant Former Warlords, War “Vigilantes,” War Criminals and Former Killers Any State Funerals

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The death news of and the request for a State Funeral for former Military leader, Charles Julu, militant of the Samuel Doe era and the leader of many military raids in which tens of thousands of Liberians were killed and massacred and our nation destroyed, should spark new controversies about warlords, war criminals and former killers. Liberians and peace loving people around the world should be outraged.

Sirleaf-Charles-JuluPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a photo, shaking hands in 2008 with Julu

I was reading an article in a Liberian newspaper in which citizens of Grand Gedeh are calling on the Liberian leader, Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to grant the former military leader/warlord, General Charles Julu a State Funeral. I do not have anything against the good people of Grand Gedeh or the family who earnestly believe in the good deeds of Charles Julu. They want the best for their son, one that carried out their war with expert precision, but as a peace loving Liberian, I am disturbed when Liberians cannot understand that those who have in the past massacred our people should never be rewarded whether in death or in life. Were I from Grand Gedeh County, of course, I would not want to lead this mission of calling on our nation to grant Mr. Julu the highest honor of our nation by giving him a State Funeral.

The legacy of the Liberian warThe price we paid in the Liberian civil war (fellowsblog.kiva.org/…/)

After all, all of us who lived in Liberia in the William R. Tolbert era, the Samuel Doe administration, and finally, during the bloody Liberian civil war know how much of the war was attributed to Mr. Julu and his inhuman militant spirit and to his militants. We know that many of us trembled when his name was mentioned because his name meant massacre and mass destruction.

Yes, he was serving “his country” in a way that he thought “best,” fighting to help his ethnic people win the war that destroyed hundreds of thousands of our people and our nation. We know that he personally massacred people, and there’s no history that can erase that blood, whether he is dead or not. He is the equivalence of Charles Taylor or Samuel Doe or any other warlord of the times. Yes, he was doing what they wanted, but in the business of executing this duty, he became known as one of the horrible criminals of those terrible civil wars that spanned fourteen years. Like any good person with a forgiving heart, I am sad that he died too, like many of those he killed. That no matter what we do, we all die and go to that same unknown. I am saddened that he could have done better for his nation, and I wish he’d lived differently. Maybe, he too, was a victim of the Samuel Doe craz, but hey, he did not bring peace to our land, and was not even a Liberian Statesman.

What is important and what I am glad about is that his death should not only throw light on his death; it must stir up other questions of war criminals who are still enjoying honor and respect from our nation simply because they have power. President Sirleaf will be judged by how she takes seriously all of the recommendations of the Truth Commission, which includes allowing those who destroyed out nation to face the consequences of their action. President Sirleaf, do not forget that the very people who are pleading with you today will be the ones to criticize you tomorrow about the very requests they are making. Do not heed them. Ironically, the very Liberians who believe in the TRC report that you should not run for a second term are the same ones who want to honor those who actually carried arms and orchestrated many massacres and killings throughout that bloody war. What in the name of God is going on here?

I am shocked and continue to be disturbed by those who want us to bury the past without allowing justice, without allowing those who caused the wanton destruction of the lives of so many to pay for their crimes. How can we build a nation over the bones and blood of so many innocent victims without giving them their proper respect and expect to still have a peaceful future? How can we continue to honor those who have not been cleared by this unbelievable Human Rights abuses and expect to build a peace-loving nation? When will we learn that tribalism and false honor does not bring fruitful rewards?

I lived in Monrovia most of the first two years of the civil war that began in 1989, and I was in Congo Town when the terror of the first months of the destruction of Monrovia took place in 1990. I watched as Liberian/Krahn military men roamed Monrovia, including my neighborhood of Congo Town, killing my neighbors and indiscriminately setting up barriers. And don’t get me wrong, I am not even from Nimba, and I saw what went on.

I saw them kill innocent Liberians who were fleeing the desperate city of Monrovia in the Exodus from Monrovia between June and August. I too, over and over, nearly was executed by these crazy men and women. I visited and prayed with the citizens of Nimba who took refuge in the St. Peter’s Lutheran and in the Methodist Church, brought contributions to them, provided my pigs to the Catholic Relief priests to feed the refugees, and shockingly, I wept when it was alleged that Charles Julu and his militants had led the the mostly Krahn army of Samuel Doe to massacre hundreds of those very people in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on July 29, 1990.

I saw the burning flames of Monrovia, and was in Congo Town when that massacre took place. I listened to the radio that July morning as the massacre was attributed to the vigilance of Charles Julu. All historical records show that he led the massacre, and today, he is dead.  So what shall we do- honor him now?

There should never be a State Funeral for him not because we do not acknowledge his “greatness”as a warrior, but because we do not think it is fair to honor people who kill innocent people anywhere on our globe.

Any Liberian with a conscience, whether that person is from the family of the late military leader or not should understand this common law of nature. I will not be surprised when others start calling for Liberia to provide lawyers for Charles Taylor’s trial for Human Rights abuses. I will not be surprised when Liberians begin to march in the streets in protest against Charles Taylor’s trial, and I will not be surprised when Liberians call on our government years from now to pay for a State Funeral for Charles Taylor, Prince Johnson and all the others who are war criminals and are today, enjoying the fruit of their killings.

The world should pay attention to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) because if we continue to ignore the facts that war criminals should be brought to some kind of justice, we are only postponing our problems. The laws of nature are clear and simple, and the laws of God are also clear and simple: one cannot be expected to kill masses of people and expect to be treated with well wishes throughout their life. One day, that person should be held accountable to the world for such atrocities.

I am certain that there are countless people who will go on the limb again and say, “leave this alone.” Liberians have always been cowards, not standing up for truth, and maybe this is why we never saw the most bloody war in West Africa coming for us. When will we stop believing that someone else will solve our problems? When will we stop being tribalistic, and fight more for justice and peace than for tribal affiliation?

I am from the Kwa family group that the Krahn people are also part of, so I am in a way more connected to the Krahn people than others who come from another family of ethnicity. I understand the warring nature of my people, but I know lies from truth, injustice from justice, and I know that today it is Charles Julu that people want to give a State Burial. Tomorrow, another tribal group or family group will call on the government to honor another warlord, another killer and destroyer of our nation, and then those who are calling on the government today to bury their son will be screaming against that call.

Let justice be done to all men and women. Do not honor anyone who died with the blood of our sons and daughters and with the blood of Liberian on their hands. We do not see the Rwandans or the Jews granting State Funerals to their former warlords and killers. Everyone who lived  in Liberia during the war or who can read any news from Liberia about the war knows that we cannot continue to pretend that what happened did not happen, and we cannot continue to be tribalistic and expect Liberia to change. Please, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the world is watching you. Do not grant anyone whose name was so feared a State Funeral. This is against Human Rights. This is not good for the future of our nation. This is not good for the world. Let’s wash the blood of our people from our nation by practicing true justice. With Love to all peace loving Liberians, I say, do not let the world continue to laugh at us.

The River Is Rising

————————Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

a song for Liberian women

The river is rising, and this is not a flood.
After years of drought, the ground, hardened

and caked in blood, in dry places, here we are, today.

River banks are swelling with the incoming tide,
coming in from the Atlantic just beyond the ridge

of rolling hills and rocks in Monrovia.

Finally, here we stand at the banks!
Finally, here we are, see how swiftly

the tide rushes in to fill the land with salt.

Fish and crabs and the huge clams and shrimps-
all the river’s creatures are coming in with the tide.

The river is rising, but this is not a flood.

Do not let your eye wander away from this scene.
Yes, all the bones below the Mesurado or the St. Paul

or Sinoe or the Loffa River will be brought up
to land so all the overwhelming questions
can once more overwhelm us.

But they are bringing in our lost sister
on a high stool, and there she stands, waving at those

who in refusing to die, simply refused to die.

This is not a song just for Ellen. This is a song for Mapue
and Tenneh and all the Ellens there are.

This is a song for Kema and Musu and Massa.

This is for Nyeneplue and Nyenoweh, for Kou and Glayee
and Korto, for the once solitary woman of war.

This is a song so Wani will also dance.

This is a song for that small girl child who came out
just this morning. They are still seeking a name

to call her- a river name, a name from the water
and from the fire too. That solitary mother in flight

will no longer birth her child by the roadside
where shells were her baby’s first bed.

Let the womb quiver!
Let church bells jingle!
Let hundreds of drums pound, Klan-klan-teh!
Let men bring out old trumpets
so the wind will take flight!

Let that small pepper bird on the tree branch cry
and sing no more the solitary song.

Let the Mesurado behind my home or what was my home
or still is or maybe, maybe, who cares?

The river is rising, but this is not a flood.

Let no man stand between us
and the river again!

(Title poem of The River is Rising by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Autumn House Press, Pittsburgh, 2007)

For more Information, visit the following links on the Liberian war and warlords:

http://www.prlog.org/10297805-massacre-of-600-liberian-men-women-and-children-19-years-ago-remembered-at-grace-lutheran-church.html

http://allafrica.com/stories/200807160771.html

http://www.analystliberia.com/charles_julu_killer_or_vicyim_sept26_07.html

This is what the leading newspaper in Liberia, Tthe Liberian Observer had to say about the dead General:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.voanews.com/english/images/AP-Liberian-boy-Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-for-Liberia-30may07.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2009-07-15-voa2.cfm&usg=__-KPriKQvJTP_Km1uG3IAElVX8_8=&h=210&w=210&sz=42&hl=en&start=20&um=1&tbnid=Lb9S7UHYjYeyDM:&tbnh=106&tbnw=106&prev=/images%3Fq%3DThe%2BLiberian%2BTruth%2Band%2BReconciliation%2BCommission%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

Charles Julu Is Dead

Updated: September 28, 2009 – 7:13pm
News Section:

Gen Julu.jpg
The late Gen. Charles Julu
By:

Observer Staff

MONROVIA — A retired Liberian army general, widely known both as “the Rock” and “The Devil,” is dead.

Charles Julu died over the weekend in Monrovia after a brief illness, family sources said.

Prior to his death, the general’s admirers called him “the Rock” for his courage and bravery to remain firm in the face of uncertainty, while others viewed him as the “Devil” for his alleged ruthlessness.

Julu first came to public limelight in 1973 when Liberia’s 19th President, Rev. Dr. William Richard Tolbert Jr., accused him and others of plotting at the time to overthrow his government.

On account of those claims by President Tolbert, who was also a Baptist Minister and Preacher, Julu was disrobed as a military man.

It remains unclear whether he was ever prosecuted by Tolbert, who was later killed in a bloody coup on April, 12, 1980. The murder took place at the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, and Tolbert’s True Whig Party (TWP), which formed a one-party oligarchy, was dethroned by 17 non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe, a kinsman of Julu’s, became the new Head of State.

Doe became leader of the new military junta, the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), after the bloody coup, during which 13 former officials of Tolbert’s regime were placed on electrical poles and shot dead by the junta. Julu was appointed by Doe as Commander of the Plant Protection Department of the Liberian-American Swedish Mining Company (LAMCO) in Nimba County, Northern Liberia.

In that part of the country, the name Charles Julu became a household word as his controversial methods of operation continued in 1983 during the villainous Nimba Raid, which he led.

It was widely reported that followers of Quiwonkpah, a Gio, attacked the home of Julu in Nimba County. At that time, the finger of one of Julu’s children was reportedly cut off by the attackers as Julu was fleeing his residence.

But, in retaliation, Julu, an ethnic Krahn, is said to have gone on the rampage, rounding up and subsequently killing many persons, especially those he suspected of being involved in the attack on his residence and of being loyal to Quiwonkpah.

Indeed, Charles Julu was feared and controversial.

In an article published by Runningafrica.com entitled “Profiling A General Accused of Second Coup Attempt,” Thomas Kai Toteh, a leading author, writes:

“Though ex-Army General Charles Julu is innocent until found guilty according to the due process of law clause of the Liberian Constitution, many Liberians at home and abroad see him like an old thief who becomes the first suspect or even found guilty before he faces the law….

“Charles Julu was appointed chief of security for LAMCO in Nimba County by the late Samuel Doe. Charles Julu first came in the spotlight as a ruthless individual when he intimidated players of first division soccer teams who went to play LAMCO Enforcers, a team he served as a chief patron. On numerous occasions, he allegedly flogged some players of LAMCO Enforcers accused of being responsible for lost matches…

“During the 1985 aborted invasion, spearheaded by late Thomas G. Quiwonkpa, Charles Julu became a household name throughout Liberia when he allegedly dumped [an] unspecified number of Nimbaian children into wells in a vicious retaliation, eye witnesses said, against Nimba County, where Quiwonkpa hailed from.

“His reputation and that of [the] late Samuel Doe were marred by what was later dubbed the “Nimba Raid.” Consequently, the late Samuel Doe, in order to save face, transferred the ex-general at the Executive Mansion as a commander for the Executive Mansion Guard.

“Julu survived the [1990] rebel incursion after he fled to a neighboring country, where he resided until 1994. He mysteriously appeared in Monrovia during a power sharing government headed by Prof. David Kpormakpor. Charles Julu mobilized a handful of AFL remnants that happened to be members of his Krahn tribe.

“Despite the presence of West African Peace Monitoring Group in Monrovia and at the Executive Mansion, providing security for the transitional government, Charles Julu stole the show in the morning hours when he forced his way on the fourth floor at the Executive Mansion in an attempt to seize power.

“When news of Charles Julu’s presence at the Executive Mansion as a coup maker broke out in Liberia, especially in Monrovia, dark cloud[s] formed. Speculations fill the air and suspicious eyebrows were raised at ECOMOG….

“But ECOMOG gave him an ultimatum to step down or be forcibly brought down (dead or alive). The ex-general still insisted that he wanted to play his tape, even though some of his men had fled.

“Late in the evening, ECOMOG-trained Black Berets, along with ECOMOG Executive Mansion Guards moved on him while ECOMOG Delta Company launched artillery around the Mansion to scare him away. People ran helter-skelter around Monrovia.

“Charles Julu fled the Executive Mansion at around 6:00 p.m. and sought [refuge] near the Barclay Training Center, a military barracks near the Executive Mansion. Security was put on the alert for his capture and arrest.

“Charles Julu was on foot heading toward the Mamba Point area near United States Embassy when a group of National Security agents arrested him and turned him over to ECOMOG.

“He was locked up at the Post Stockade at the Barclay Training Center. No charges were brought against him as the Constitution of Liberia was unofficially suspended due to the civil conflict.

“Charles Julu became a free man by force on April 6, 1996 when fighting broke out amongst four of the warring factions in Liberia. [The] National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) of Charles Taylor and United Liberation Movement of Ahlaji Kromah (ULIMO-K) moved to arrest the late Roosevelt Johnson of ULIMO-J backed by Liberia’s Peace Council (LPC) of George Boley at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).

“It was not confirmed whether Charles Julu took part in the fight, but unreliable sources said he gave orders to defunct Liberian Peace Council (LPC) and ULIMO-J militias to defend the barracks, his only rescue at the time, with their blood…”

Julu was also Commander of the Executive Mansion Guard Battalion in 1984. He remained in that position until 1985 when Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpah launched his abortive November 15, 1985 invasion in which Quiwonkpah was killed by loyalists of Head of State Doe.

Julu was also accused of involvement in other acts of atrocity in the Liberian civil war; but a few months ago, he appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), where he outlined his experiences and/or role in the country’s armed conflict.

In his public testimony before the Commission, the retired general categorically refuted claims of his involvement in mass killings.

He was accused of burying hundreds of children from Nimba County in a mass grave, a claim he also denied. At one point, he pointed fingers at Prince Y. Johnson, now Nimba County Senator, of being behind such lies.

Julu again came to public attention during the invasion of Charles Taylor’s then armed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) military onslaught against the government of Samuel Doe, when he (Julu) commanded government troops into several battles in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa and Bong Counties.

It was during the 1990 war in Nimba that Julu was accused of bundling scores of children into a truck from Nimba, killing them and burying them in a mass grave.

Under the command of a valiant Nigerian Army General, Adetunji Olurin, ECOMOG, the West Africa Peace Monitoring Group, then stationed in Liberia, opened fired on the Mansion and Julu and his loyalists, who took over the Mansion under the umbrella of New Horizon for New Direction, were all booted out of the Mansion.

Giving his testimony before the TRC a few months ago, Julu said he came to Monrovia on September 14, 1994; and the next day he moved into the Mansion which he captured with ease.

Before the TRC, Julu defended his takeover of the Executive Mansion. He said the move was intended to prevent then NPFL leader Charles Taylor from taking over the government by force of arms.

Julu, who was also former Chief of Staff of the AFL, further told the Commission that his action was aimed at filling a vacuum which, he said, was created as a result of the expiration of the tenure of then transitional government.

Early in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, Julu was again charged with an attempted coup plot, but was acquitted due to ‘lack of evidence.’

The people of Grand Gedeh are said to be mourning his loss.

0Copyright Liberian Observer – All Rights Reserved. This article cannot be re-published without the expressed, written consent of the Liberian Observer. Please contact us for more information or to request publishing permission.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY- JUNE 20, 2009: How Many Refugees Does the World Still Need? You Tell Me…

Photo for possible web

Here comes another World Refugee Day to be celebrated or commemorated around the world, most particularly, in the West, where there are less refugees than in the so-called third world and developing countries. With more violence springing up and more people pumping up dictators and war lovers, the question is: “how many refugees does the world need?”

The UNHCR or the United Nations Refugee Agency claims that this day, June 20, 2009 is set aside each year to commemorate the heroic endurance of refugees who have been victimized by violence around the world. UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie appeared alongside UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres “to call on the world to recognize millions of victims of conflict around the world not as a burden but as a potential gift.” This is a good thing.

As a former refugee myself, I appreciate this kind of effort by Angelina Jolie. I only wish there were many more rich, caring celebrities, world renowned people, Presidents of powerful countries, dictators or former dictators out there who care like Angelina. Despite her many efforts, her passion, she alone cannot accomplish what each of us working together can do to end world violence that causes refugee crisis. We cannot cry about the plight of the Iranian people without connecting what that new violence will do to create more refugees.

Photos For Mom 248

This shot was taken during my 2008 visit to the Liberian Buduburam Refugee camp that was home to more than 45,000 Liberians for nearly 20 years.


We cannot love the war in the Middle East without understanding how any war there will cause more commemoration of refugee days. There is a correlation between dictatorship, poor governments, big powers not doing anything to curtail injustice around the world and refugee crisis. When I fled the war in Liberia nearly twenty years ago, I was not declared a refugee nor were any Liberians. But by the time we’d fled in 1991, there were, according to news reports, 250,000 Liberians dead from the bloody civil war and wanton destruction. Ten years later and fifteen years later, the UN has not raised the figure of dead. Today, there are tens of thousands of Liberians still in refugee camps at the end of a fourteen year civil war. Are we celebrating those too? Are we celebrating their courage, their endurance, and if we are, why can’t we pressure the UN to give to Liberians who want to go home the minimum resettlement they need to return? Why give them a hundred dollars to return to devastation, thereby keeping them in refugee camps for another decade. Why?

refugee-spie-1

March 23, 2009 by abluteau:There are millions of refugees around the world. Some of them are in camps, like these children in Chad, but many are not. Often, families get separated as they flee violence or natural disaster

A video of America’s Angelina Jolie, whom we all adore, including myself on her one woman efforts is being watched, but who’s really listening?


There are 45 million official UN confirmed refugees in our world today, not counting the millions of displaced, dislocated, unregistered, real people, mostly women and children who have had to abandon everything to flee death in their homelands. We need to not commemorate this sort of pain; instead, we need to STOP this sort of pain, stop it, stop dictators from being created, stop them from staying in power, stop pumping them up until it is too late, stop rebels from attacking innocent women and children, stop big and powerful countries from profiting on the blood of innocent people, stop Africa from being destroyed, stop the violence currently in Iran, in Iraq, in North Korea, everywhere. We need to stop talking and celebrating what we think we have done. We need to stop sleeping unless we can stop the carnage that is destroying our world. There is no need for us to have a “World Refugee Day” year after year. There should be no refugee if we can remember the horrible violence that is destroying our world.

CHAD REFUGEESblogs.mirror.co.uk/developing-world-stories/c.

This World Refugee Day like in previous years, everyone will congratulate one another again on the achievements the world has made, and the UN, of course, will give reports about their needs and the plight of refugees. The UN will also separate the goats from the sheep, the “refugees” from the “not so refugees,” and will reduce the number just so we don’t look bad, so we don’t appear to be so evil as to sit while other human beings in Dafur and other parts of the world die.

Pakistani-refugees  More than 45m Refugees in the World!

These pictured above are not called “Refugees,” but displaced, get it?

According to National Geographic, in 2003, there were 35 million refugees in the world, most of them women and children. These often talented, very educated, innocent people around our globe were forced to flee their homes, towns, cities, villages simply because some politicians around the globe in connection with the powers that be caused them to be caught up in wars and other violence. Today, according to the United Nations Agency, UNHCR, there are 45 million refugees around the world. But let’s just imagine that this is the figure that fits the United Nation’s description of the word, “REFUGEES.” Remember, the word refugee or the status of a refugee depends on the United Nations willingness to declare a nation’s real people, “Refugee.” The UN does not play around with this word. They can decide that two hundred thousand people who fled Liberia into neighboring countries when the Liberian civil war first erupted “were not refugees” because the UN did not yet see them as refugees, but “DISPLACED PERSONS,” get it?

WITH THIS CALENDAR ON THE UNHCR SITE, YOU SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO MORE REFUGEES

Select another year-range:
Weekday     Date     Year     Name    Holiday type    Where it is observed
Wed    Jun 20    2001    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Thu    Jun 20    2002    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Fri    Jun 20    2003    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Sun    Jun 20    2004    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Mon    Jun 20    2005    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Tue    Jun 20    2006    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Wed    Jun 20    2007    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Fri    Jun 20    2008    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Sat    Jun 20    2009    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Sun    Jun 20    2010    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Mon    Jun 20    2011    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Wed    Jun 20    2012    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Thu    Jun 20    2013    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Fri    Jun 20    2014    World Refugee Day    United Nation day
Sat    Jun 20    2015    World Refugee Day    United Nation day

Photos For Mom 258

These are refugees I met in the Buduburam camp outside of Accra, Ghana. Many still need to return home.

How many countries will fall into refugee crisis before the world pays attention to real people’s needs instead of to politically charged stories? How many millions around the world will die in refugee camps around the globe before we make refugee issues a priority like we make the needs of richer countries?
Today, the UNHCR’s number of refugee stands at 45 million, but the real number will never be known. You must remember with me and account for the millions who are displaced across the borders of their countries, displaced for years in other countries, people who have no country anymore, who cannot return home even if they wanted to. And as you remember, realize also that there are dictators, warlords, like Liberia’s Charles Taylor who are making fun of peace and justice by evading the truth of their war crimes. We need to set aside time to bring them to justice. Remember that there are millions in the Dafur region, in Chad, in Iran, in Iraq, and all over the world who continue to suffer as a result of violence.

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As we slow down our pace in the free world and reflect on refugees around the world, I am reminded of one refugee who waited nearly fifteen years to return home, and on the brink of her return, died.

My young sister-in-law, Ora Sansan Wesley Dixon, who was a vibrant, industrious young woman died just two weeks after she and I stood together in Buduburam, talking about the need to return home to Liberia. Sansan, as we affectionately called her was a hardworker who despite years of the war, having lost her mother and many family, made a small life for herself in the infamous Buduburam camp in Ghana.

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The things that refugees acquired over nearly two decades can fit in a small space of a truck if they survive or acquire anything at all.

Photos For Mom 255 My late sister-in-law, Oral Wesley Dixon in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Accra, Ghana. May her soul rest in peace as we commemorate World Refugee Day.

The lack of medical facilities caused her to suddenly become ill, and died of conditions not quite explained just a couple weeks after the photos below. As you may observe in the photos, I am standing before the truck that was supposed to take the few possessions of dozens of refugees back to Liberia in the UNHCR’s attempt to repatriate Liberians. Liberian women had gone on strike early that year, but never got what they needed to survive their return to the devastated Liberia.

Many had decided it was no use staying in a country where they were not wanted, and were leaving. On the trucks were old beds, chairs, pots and the few belongings refugees could for over a decade. Sansan had also paid for her own few possessions to be placed on the truck. There was no money to take them, so family members had pitched in to fly her back home in August after her things were sent to Liberia. Family had made room for her. She was among the lucky who still had family that cared about her or that had survived fourteen years of warfare.

She offered me food that afternoon, my aid, Enock, refusing to eat from someone who had so little, he said. But Ora insisted to no avail. Enock, a Ghanaian was so saddened, tears welled his eyes to see the sort of condition refugees lived in. There was one small stool, the entire little shack, empty of all of Sansan’s possessions. She was her happy jubilant self, but deep down, she was hurting and she told me so very easily. She’d lost everyone, including her mother whom we wept for as I tried to stay focused on the purpose of my visit to the camp: to be a consolation to her and to her friends. The life of a refugee is more uncertain than anything any of us knows. I knew that for months as I fled in the bushes in Liberia. But when that war fled from in 1990 was supposed to be over, and after all these years, people have to pay for their own repatriation, then why are we celebrating their strength? I am not saying that the UN is doing nothing; I am saying that the UN and the world can do more.

Photos For Mom 254 Ora Sansan Wesley Dixon who died July 2008, nearly a year ago at Buduburam Refugee Camp near Accra, Ghana. May Her Soul Rest in Peace and the Almighty Shine His Eternal light upon her.


For me, Ora Wesley Dixon represents the face of the refugee crisis. In her last days in the Buduburam Refugee camp in Ghana, she had learned to survive, to make a life, got married, found a job helping other Liberians, putting herself through school as a preparation to return home. But her life was cut short by lack of medical care. She may not seem like the poster child of war refugees in tents in the dessert, but she’d already been there after more than ten years of refugee life. She had seen it, but she never lived to return home. She had packed, but never returned.

Today, according to Liberian journalist, Ekena Wesley, there are about 10,000 Liberian refugees still in Ghana alone, with others scattered around the world.

As I conclude this post, I know that there is much more that the world can do to end world violence and bring peace to most of the world’s refugees. There must be more than one Angelina Jolie in the world. All of us in our own small ways can bring the refugee crisis to the world’s attention. There are many more refugees whose plight is much worse than the Liberian, the Sierra Leonean, the Chadian or even the Middle Eastern Crisis. There are worse wars that have lasted decades, like the Colombian war that is more than forty years old. We need to cry out until there are no more refugees or displaced people around the world. We can do it if we are united. Thank you.

Stop the Deportation of Liberian Immigrants:Tell President Barack Obama/ State Law Makers to Keep Families Together Here in the US!

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During the 14 year civil war in Liberia, desperate Liberian civilians were given sanctuary in several countries, including the United States. That is what usually happens when innocent civilians must flee their country because of warfare. Tens of thousands of Liberians were given sanctuary in the United States as well. Those who were allowed to come to the US have lived here for nearly two decades. On March 31, 2009, that temporary protection comes to an end, and the United States is preparing to return these refugees and legal immigrants in mass numbers to a country that has yet to recover from the bloody civil war.

On March 31, 2009, mothers will be sent home away from their children; fathers will be torn apart from their American born children; families will be forced to once more abandon their new life in America to be forcefully returned to a home that is now nearly forgotten. Young people that came of age in America will also be torn away.

Send President Barack Obama a message that it is inhumane to bring African refugees out of danger, keep them here in the US for nearly two decades and return them to their devastated homeland. America is home for them today. Forcefully returning them is wrong.. They are not animals. These are human beings.

Below is a poem I’m sending for your reading as you consider my argument.

Monrovia 2008

——— Patiricia Jabbeh Wesley (Newer poem forthcoming in The Literary Review)

On the side walk, patches of people
linger late.

In the day, they are like rice grains
along the roadways,

and at night,
they wallpaper lame bodies
in the draft darkness
of the broken city.

Crowds of war returnees,
waiting for nothing,
day after day,

waiting for nothing
after refugee camp,
after their former cities
of refuge

spewed them out like dirt,
after wandering the globe.
After death’s passing,
they have returned

looking like returnees
from the dead.

The city is hot, burning like steel
with hunger.

The air used to belong to us here
one woman said,
there used to be a road
to take us back home.

Today, the road homeward is now lost
The road to Cape Palmas, filled
with dry bones.

But on the street,
a motorcade is coming.
Someone is living.
Someone is living on these bones.

Do you know any other refugees from other countries, including Europe, who were brought to the United States between 1989 and 2009, given TPS, and afterwards, deported by mass numbers? I don’t know of any.

Liberian Immigrants who were brought into the United States during the 14 year bloody civil war are now threatened with mass deportation back to Liberia. We cannot allow this to happen in our civilized world. Join the efforts to stop this mass deportation of innocent people who have already suffered enough. Call up your law makers, and stop this madness. Liberia is neither ready nor able to survive such a mass arrival of immigrants and refugees. The video below is what these law-abiding people came from. The situation has not changed that much; so, don’t  let anyone fool you. This is the time to prevent another tragedy. Do not wait until another tragedy happens. This is your time to make a difference.

Why am I opposing this move? Please allow me to give you my reasons. Please allow those of us who are peace loving, humanitarian minded, thinking, well-meaning human beings to make our case. There is something wrong with a world that allows innocent human beings to suffer such a horrific massacre of hundreds of thousands, the destruction of an entire country, and the mass exodus of about a million to foreign countries and refugee camps over more than a decade before intervening in that war.

There is something wrong when those thousands are given “Temporary Protected Status-(TPS)” instead of a permanent status in the United states when the country they were taken from continues to be in ruins. There is something wrong when those tens of thousands who have made their home in America, who have paid taxes for the past nearly twenty years, who are struggling to bring up American born US children are told that “this is it, pack up and leave everything once more and return to nothing.” There is something inhumane about this, and you and I cannot allow this human tragedy to happen.

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This is the Monrovia I saw, where most of the refugees that were repatriated from refugee camps struggle to find a source of living. It is no place to dump more of those who were once displaced and dislocated, and are now settled in the US. Do for Liberians what has been done for other refugees.

You have to be angry about this. You as a good citizen of the great United States, you, the well-meaning, peace-loving human being must pick up the phone and call your State Senator, your state representative, your civil group, and rally with me and with all of the peace loving people to prevent the deportation of law-abiding residents who have already been dealt a heavy blow by the war. There is something inhuman about this threat to deport Liberian immigrants.

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I took this photo of Water Side in Monrovia, Liberia while I was visiting my homeland in July of 2009. This is how crowded the city was before the deportation/repatriation of another thousands of Liberians from the Buduburam Refugee Camp near Accra, Ghana. Let no one fool you, the country side has not been made habitable for returning refugee due to the violence. The United Nations is still in charge despite a government recognized by the world body. Deporting more people to that crowded, devastated country could start a new wave of violence.

The Argument For or Against the Deportation:

Let me port forth the arguments on both sides of the issue:

Some people have been complaining on the Internet that allowing Liberian refugees who were given the “TPS” to continue living legally either by a general clemency or by an extension could take away American jobs. Some contend that it would be unfair.

This is my question to you: Who is it unfair to? Who will lose if Liberian refugees who have already been victimized by the ugly civil war and by world neglect of that war are allowed to remain here in the US?

These Liberians are only the unfortunate ones who were forced to leave their country, and were given refuge by the richest country in the world, a country that Liberia as a nation has stood by since its founding in 1847. Who will lose something when whatever jobs some claim Liberians will take are jobs that only the unfortunately uneducated are willing to do in this country?

Liberian immigrants who came out of the villages and from difficult conditions of that country did not have the money to go to college or the means to find out how, and many today serve as nursing aids in America’s nursing homes, giving care to Americans, paying their taxes, bringing up American children.

What does anyone have to lose by keeping these law-abiding people here serving a country that needs service? I believe that anyone claiming this argument is only selfish, and does not know what it means to lose all of your family, your personal property, your homeland, your culture, and all that is worth living for. Liberians have seen enough, and must be given a total clemency to be permanent residents and citizens if they choose in this country. This is time for America and for Barack Obama to give back to a people who have loved America for nearly two centuries.

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I took this photo during my research trip to Liberia in July, 2008. I was asked to do a talk for this group of young women at a Life Studies (Home Economics, vocational) school. These girls had nothing much going for them even in this over-crowding condition.

The Argument Against Deportation:

Now, concluding- can I ask when we heard that refugees that were brought into the US from other non-African countries were returned in mass by the US government? Or if I am right, is this a rule that fits African immigrant /refugees only?

Whenever one country gives sanctuary to a people during their time of need, this is a great giving. All of those who were caught up in that bloody civil war, folks like myself are very grateful for that. No one knows  better than Liberians what it feels like to lose everything, to lose so many of your loved ones, to lose tens of thousands of your country people, to watch the utter destruction of your homeland, your culture, and to see the craziness of what that ugly war brought upon us.

We know what it means when we have to watch our country people returned forcefully to that memory, to that ugly past, to no jobs or food, some to no family and to ghost towns. If this ever happens, this will be a violation of the rights of these people. This is because when they were brought here and given that TPS, that was all there was, and all that we could get. Refugees are usually desperate people who do not have choices, who take whatever is given them when it is given. But most of these law-abiding people have been here for nearly two decades, making viable contributions to this great land. They cannot be allowed to be forcefully returned without a fight from you, the good American people, the good immigrant residents, the peace-loving people, the Human Rights Activists.

Tell Barack Obama to hear our cry. Tell your state Senator and representatives to hear our cry. Tell your neighbors, your church friends, your community groups to join forces with all of us to prevent the punishment of these already victimized Liberians. Some may say “why didn’t they do something all these years?”

Tell them that refugees who lose everything and must start a new life often do not have the means to fight the laws, pay lawyers, fund the expensive fees needed to fight for citizenship. Those who could, like myself, have done that. Many could only feed their families. Give Liberians a chance to survive this time. Don’t let the sun go down on these innocent people. Do not let the government tear up families this time around. Many Liberians are still torn apart with families all over the world. Don’t let the sun go down without your help. I love you.

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This is what we saw in that war.

Here are some Links on the Issue: http://www.africanloft.com/liberians-in-us-face-deportation/

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/09/liberians.deportation/

http://www.wrni.org/content/local-liberians-face-threat-deportation

http://www.startribune.com/local/north/40516512.html?elr=KArksD:aDyaEP:kD:aUnc5PDiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU