I've come across an article posted on Revolution in South Asia entitled "Bhutanese Refugees in the U.S.: Pawns of Imperial Interests". The author is known only as "redpines". The site is dedicated to the promotion of communist/Maoist movements throughout South Asia and, in this article, seeks to slander U.S. efforts to resettle refugees as having sinister motivations. I find the article to be a deceptive piece of communist propaganda designed to discourage 3rd country resettlement and recruit more people to the Maoist cause in South Asia. At the end of the day, this sort of talk is pretty harmful to people who remain in the camps. They shouldn't be deceived into thinking that life in the U.S. or Canada or wherever will be easy all the time. But it is also wrong to spread and prop-up falsehoods like the ones in this article. Those remaining in the camps are being fed a steady stream of lies: "America will make you into slaves", "black people will shoot you", "everyone gets divorced in America", and more. The resulting fear cripples far too many, leaving them stagnating in camps without hope or a future. Below, I offer a repudiation of the article referenced above. I have notified the author of my post and invited a response. Let's see what happens.
Here is the article with my comments:
While in Nepal, I heard a lot of discussion about the situation of Bhutanese refugees who had been resettled in the US [Right away, the author seeks to establish his/herself as an expert having been to Nepal and having spoken to people. Redpines derives his/her information from having spoken to presumably Maoist-leaning people who remain in the camps (or worse, Maoists from out of the camps who just like to talk about the refugee situation) about those who opted for 3rd country resettlement. Redpines doesn't at all acknowlege that those remaining in the camps might have an ax to grind which renders them a bit biased. The fact of the matter is that there is a minority element among the refugees who, in seeking to promote their cause of repatriation to Bhutan, threaten those who desire to resettle to another country with violence and death. This party is prone to speak ill about 3rd country resettlement and desires to spread as much negative PR as possible about living in the United States. If Redpines wants accurate information about refugees that have settled in the US, he/she should speak directly to them]. People were outraged at the fact that the US would only accept these refugees on the condition that they repay their airfare and other costs. [Redpines is being deceptive here. First, the issuing of travel loans is the standard procedure for refugees entering the U.S. and not a special requirement for the Bhutanese. Second, it is a loan to cover travel expenses. What are the "other costs" Redpines is referring to? Thirdly, the interest-free loan is provided by the International Office of Migration to make it easier for refugees to leave the camps for their new home. The loan is issued by the International Office of Migration which pays for the immediate expenses of travel to the United States (i.e. airline tickets). The U.S. State Department is involved as a donor, furnishing the capital to make the program possible. IOM also provides travel loans to refugees resettling in Australia. It is considered a means of assisting with resettlement. In the case of Canada, refugees are issued interest-bearing loans for travel and an initial medical examination. Redpines simply doesn't know the facts.] In an economy where real unemployment is more than 20% in some places, it is not clear how this resettlement plan is different from a state of indentured servitude. It is a grotesque example of the way the US immerses the world’s people in debt and subjugation–even within its borders . [This is just untrue. Bhutanese refugees are not being immersed in debt by the United States. The loan they are issued (which they voluntarily sign before leaving Nepal) is interest-free and issued by the International Office of Migration, not the United States government. The loan begins to be repaid only after about 3 months following resettlement and may be adjusted/deferred during periods of financial hardship. The term of the loan is usually 46 months. I have worked with many, many families and have found that it does not result in too great a financial hardship. On the contrary, it actually serves to allow the families to begin to establish credit soon after arriving in the U.S. Under ordinary circumstances, we find that the Bhutanese refugees do not end up drowning in debt. The U.S. government provides (directly and indirectly through grants to resettlement agencies) thousands of dollars worth of free medical care, food, cash, rental assistance, job training and placement, English classes, education, and more. To be sure, the current economic situation has resulted in some layoffs and difficulties. But it is difficult to conceive of how such a situation benefits the U.S. or is in anyway parallel to indentured servitude. How is becoming a recipient of unemployment benefits during a layoff the same thing as indentured servitude?]
There may be sinister political reasons for the US deal to accept Bhutanese refugees. This embassy cable from 2007, exposed by Wikileaks, shows the US government’s concern over Maoist organizing in the Bhutanese refugee camps, as well as the potential for communists to gain power in Bhutan itself:
“…each confirmed that the Maoists could pose a significant threat. Rutland alleged that the BCP openly threatened to use the refugees in the Nepali camps to overthrow the monarchy and the new government.”
[Let's be clear. Redpines is suggesting that the United States stepped up to offer resettlement opportunities to 60,000 Bhutanese in order to quench the Maoist-leaning elements present there. The US did this because they were afraid that Maoists would take over the camps and, then somehow gain power in Bhutan. Let's forget for a moment the fact that the Bhutanese refugees have no access to Bhutan and no real prospects of repatriation in the near future -- thus rendering some kind of refugee-led Maoist takeover of that country impossible. The question remains, why would the United States, which remained essentially uninvolved during the Maoist revolution in Nepal that eventually led to the overthrow of the monarchy there, be concerned about a Maoist takeover of a few refugee camps in an already Maoist-led nation? This doesn't make any sense to me. And even if the US was trying to remove the supposedly Maoist-leaning refugees from the camps, why would they want to resettle such people within the borders of the United States? Wouldn't that simply increase any perceived threat? And, what is Norway's motivation? Denmark's? These and other countries are also resettling refugees from Bhutan. Is it an international conspiracy?]
Revolution in South Asia also reported in 2008 that two Maoist groups did emerge within the refugee camps. Whether or not there is a direct connection between the resettlement scheme and the potential for strong communist organizations in Bhutan, it seems impossible to believe that the US is involved in this situation for altruistic reasons [Impossible for whom? For a communist propagandist who is incapable of objectively considering all the facts or interpreting them in a rational way? Perhaps. The fact remains that the United States is the international leader in the resettlement of refugees from all over the world. Would Redpines have us believe that in every situation the US has some sinister scheme in mind? Or is it just in this case?].
Post a Comment