Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tne News with a pinch of Salt!

In Ghana, refugees from Liberia are clamouring to be resettled in the USA. Much to the annoyance of the Ghanaian government, the Liberians at the refugee settlement are demonstrating because they do not wish to settle in Ghana and want instead to settle in the U.S.A. The Ghana government feels slighted for opening their doors and giving refuge.

What a state of affairs...The Ghanaian government has said, they are not holding anyone in Ghana. They have said the refugees can go back to Liberia, the one place they can return to without needing a settlement visa or landed immigrant permit. Liberia has been at peace for probably a decade or so, since the cessation of violence from the Charles Taylor wars of civil unrest.

Here's the problem: Apparently the U.S.A. which has taken in the largest number of Liberian refugees has determined that they have filled their quota. Additionally the war has ceased, meaning that it should be safe to return to Liberia. Of course, there is a great difference between being a refugee in the U.S. A. and being a refugee in Ghana or for that matter anywhere else in Africa. If you were going to seek refuge, I'm pretty sure you ( and I) would choose the Canada or the U.S.A., places with more wealth and greater civil liberties than other parts of the world.

So one ends up in Ghana for refuge, her cousin ends up in the U.S.A. No matter where one goes, it is a difficult road. Perhaps in Ghana one feels more equal in social terms, yet advancement in life comes with great difficulty. In the U.S.A. the feelings of inferiority and discrimination are more, yet there are better opportunities for the children growing up and those yet to be born. It seems to me that the thinking, once a refugee escapes the war, is life, peace, advancement, prosperity: the desire of all men, which is called by some, "The American Dream". Perhaps it should be called the Human Dream and the "American possibility"? (These days , even the Americans are somewhat challenged when it comes to this dream.)

Can we blame the refugees at Buduburam for wanting tickets and visas to the States? Yet, we can say that in many respects, they have lost sight of the reality of their situation- that their motherland is the only place they have real and instant rights of settlement. Anywhere else, settlement is given as a courtesy, whether in a poor African country or a rich Western nation. Courtesy is best received with gratitude. This has generally not been the case throughout time and place when one considers world histories of explorations and colonizations. As a general commonsense rule, it behoves the host to be a good host, recognizing rights and granting privileges. It behoves a guest to be a good guest, contributing positively to the life and labour of the host. As an immigrant, I take these thoughts seriously.

1 comment:

Penelope said...

Hi there,

Along with a coalition of NGOs working with Liberian refugees in Ghana, we have started a campaign to insure that the rights of refugees are safeguarded in this time of crisis: