[Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration, Role of AFSC, others

Free Polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Tue Jan 27 17:00:36 EST 2009


Dear Elizabeth,

 

Thank you for your insights and message.   I would suggest you contact AFSC
directly about your concerns with their choice of aid offered.   

 

I am sure that they did not intend any disrespect and only have the best
interests of the people at heart.     Have you tried to contact them
directly before pillaring them publically.    As a Friend, we need to be
especially mindful to speak directly with those with whom we have
differences.       

They can be found at:
http://www.afsc.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/4702/pid/268

 

My response to Asheville's effort would be to say that the Friend in your
home meeting that worked to send aid to Haiti needs to be commended, not
condemned.      Of course we all can do better.    I imagine that was the
gist of your letter.   To get us all to do better.

 

Thank you for your passion and hope that we can do better.

 

Free Polazzo

Atlanta Meeting/Carrollton Worship Group

 

 

 

 

From: sayma-discuss-bounces at kitenet.net
[mailto:sayma-discuss-bounces at kitenet.net] On Behalf Of Elizabeth Eames
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:30 AM
To: c.vmbra at verizon.net; sayma-discuss at kitenet.net
Subject: Re: [Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration, Role of AFSC, others

 

Friends, 

As an additional item for Meetings to consider, I wonder a bit about these
"policy" statements which come from the "Board of AFSC" and if Friends are
relying too heavily on the sense of a few others, avoiding thereby the hard
work of forming their own independent judgements.

I have had only a few dealings with the Service Committee which is evidently
now spreading itself out as far as Brazil, now in English and Spanish and
evidently in Portugese. My most recent contact with them was over the issue
of Haiti, after the recent storms, and what Friends might do to be of
service. 

I had had correspondence with the Service Committee about Haiti before,
asking them about their program there, wondering if I might contact their
operation there. Through that, I learned that AFSC has a closed office and a
pick-up truck in Haiti, with no employees. 

The Service Committee was contacted by myself and another Haiti activist
while massive relief efforts were being mounted, to see if they would join
in helping the Haiian Diaspora in sending supplies. 

What we found was that AFSC had already decided to send their standard "kit"
- the soap, the toothbrush, the comb (note: not a pic which would be of use
to African hair), some baby clothes, - all purchased retail, all shipped
through High Point. We (a New England resident active with the large Haitian
Diaspora groups) were stunned by the lack of responsiveness, the
inappropriateness of the selected items, the lack of interest in the request
from the Haitian Diaspora. 

For myself, I was dismayed to later learn that my own home Meeting in
Asheville, had followed AFSC and gone out and spent their money on these
kits, before they consulted with me, who has been living here in Santo
Dominigo, working on the Haitian border as a journalist, and regularly
monitoring Haitian affairs. As a long time peace activist, I was saddened
that my Meeting had overlooked that they had someone on the ground, even
though one member had recieved copies of my correspondance with the Service
Committee. I pointed out to the Meeting that had they contacted me, I could
have contacted the director of the hospital in Gonaives, whose email I have,
and found out which medicines or supplies they needed, purchased them, and
taken them over by bus. Since we are neither a very large or wealthy
Meeting, I had not asked them to do anything. But evidently someone in the
Meeting had taken on the concern of Haiti, and responded to the Service
Committee's call for 'relief kits".

How odd it must look to people who are stranded in mud, living without
water, to receive these little white, middle class kits of personal hygeine.
Must keep our teeth cleaned and our faces washed and our hair neat, no
matter what our circumstances.

So I question these policy pronouncements coming from the Service Committee
which carries this Quaker name, and to whom our Meetings bow in obeisance.
What is their authority to speak so forcefully on policy? Through what
process? Are they running ahead of their leading?

I would ask assembled Meetings and Quarters to also ask that Friends
Fiduciary Corporation open their books for both the Financial and Peace and
Earth Committees to examine. When I had the opportunity to examine them when
I was on the Finance Committee at Ashveille Meeting, I found that we were,
collectively, quite complicit in the roots of War to my mind, as we are
invested in oil companies, Dow Chemical,  Walmart's, and several other
multinationals, including Coca Cola. 

When I questioned one of the members of the Fiduciary Corporation, I was
told that Friends did not, in fact, hold a testimony for the restoration of
the Earth, but only the traditional ones against weapons, gambling,
alchohol, and tobacco. The Fidiciary Corporation holds the endowment money
for many Meetings and Quaker schools as well as AFSC, FGC, and Pendle Hill.
At the time, funds were invested for a 6% rolling return and stocks were not
voted. I was told that in order for anything to be changed, they would have
to hear a "rumble" at Yearly Meeting. 

Since it was not then my Call to start a "rumble" at Yearly Meeting, having
already rumbled my beloved Asheville to within an inch of its tolerance, I
let the matter drop.

I have been offshore now for four years and am evidently staying here for
the forseeable future. So I send you only a request for a deeper examination
of our complicity as a Society. I said at the time, and I daresay that it
would be true today, that if the portfolio of the Society were to be posted
on the Internet, we would lose, immediately and perhaps forever, our
credibility as a peace church.

May the Light Guide Us.
www.elizabetheames.blogspot.com <http://www.elizabetheames.blogspot.com/> 

"





  _____  

From: c.vmbra at verizon.net
To: sayma-discuss at kitenet.net
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2009 21:26:59 -0500
Subject: Re: [Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration

I'm impressed by the thought and the depth of concern Friends have put into
these few postings.  We probably need to consider these concerns prayerfully
in our Meetings and attempt to discern what might be a proper response.
John Woolman would have had something to say about avoiding complicity. 

 

The scriptures mention nation not lifting up sword against nation, nor
learning war any more, and follow that with "But they shall sit, every man
under his vine and under his fig tree..."  To me, that passage says a lot
about economic justice and disparities, though it may have the events
reversed.  When everyone has a vine and a fig tree, then many of the
"occasions for war" will be gone, as will the motivations for illegal
migration.

 

cps

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Jere Licciardello <mailto:licciardelloj at bellsouth.net>  

To: Elizabeth <mailto:roeblingelizabeth at msn.com>  Eames ;
sayma-discuss at kitenet.net 

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:44 PM

Subject: Re: [Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration

 

I am no expert on the issue of illegal immigrants.

I am becoming convinced of one thing:

    -that in the US we have grown overaccustomed to tooting our own
horns....

      as to the horn of plenty that we are blessed to have,

      that this special blessing has to do with our great national character
that we supposedly possess,

      and this message comes forth as if it has no repercussions.

 

I say that in order for us to testify this self-praise as a nation, comes
with strings attached. 

It may be time for some humility and flexibilty.  There are no scapegoats
and illegal immigration is simply one of the latest to come forward.

Quakers, and indeed all believers, would do well to examine our own roots.
There we find that these people cannot hurt us.  Maybe the problems
highlighted by these people are intrinsic within our society as we run it.
If emergency rooms are too full of people seeking care who will not pay, the
health care system should be revamped.

It does no good to speak of the California addiction to cheap farm labor.   

 

We cannot fix all the world's problems, but if we are the cause of them, we
should address our complicity, such as the NAFTA issue.  The smaller
countries cannot outsource, and otherwise drop costs any fiurther than they
have.  Let them use protective tarriffs.

 

The problems as outlined by AFSC suggest ideas for world government and
evolving standards of fair play.  We are poor little lambs who have lost our
moral compass.  

Bullying is bad form.   Detention is very bad form.  Heaping misery and
denigration on the downtrodden will come back to haunt us.

 

Jere Licciardello

A Quaker

 

 

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Elizabeth Eames <mailto:roeblingelizabeth at msn.com>  

To: sayma-discuss at kitenet.net 

Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 5:21 PM

Subject: [Sayma-Discuss] Causes of Immigration

 

It is a good admonition to search for the root causes of immigration.

One of the root causes of the immigration issue (which is an issue all
around the world on the borders of countries of unequal wealth) is the vast
disparity of wealth between the "rich" and "poor" and the underlying
assumption that "poor" is worse. For more on this search under the GINI
index of wealth distribution.Much of this divide is inherent in the history
of each nation, with Latin America being particular divided. 

In the compilation of global statistics, for instance, much is made over the
fact that fully one half of the world's population lives below $2 a day. But
within this statistic, there is no breakdown between the urban and rural
poor, between people who are growing their food on their own land, and
between squatters in urban communities. 

Much is made over the issue of literacy while little is made of the issue of
self sufficiency. One interesting project is the Barefoot Colleges which are
growing up around India, whose premise is that rural populations have all
the intelligence needed within their communities, they are only lacking in
technical assistance. 

Is our model the best one? The two parent working family? The concentration
in urban centers? Industrialized agriculture? 

William Easterly, formerly of the World Bank, now a major critic and a
professor of economics, has stated that the developing world loses 6 times
as much money as it receives in unfair trade as it does in aid. Was that
clear? That, for instance, by eliminating the agricultural subsidies in the
developed world, developing world farmers would have an even playing field
for their produce and gain as much as they do from all our aid projects.
Here- in the DR- US rice comes in (illegally) across the border from
Haiti,in large bags. One suspects that much of this rice is donated. Haiti
stopped all rice production within months of US rice being introduced tariff
free in 2004.

This is a topic which is under extreme discussion in the development field,
how it is that the programs that were used to rebuild Europe after WW2 have
been completely ineffective in the developing world.  

I was a bit dismayed two years ago at a larger Friends gathering when
sitting with representatives of FCNL and various Peace and Earth Committees
to learn that no one around the dozen or so Friends at the table had heard
of the DOHA round of trade talks. That would be a good starting point for a
deep discussion of immigration.

In addition, Friends might bring to their collective Light the increasing
violence in Mexico with the transhippment of cocaine (also a very big issue
here - Mexico is said to tranship 90%, we the other 10%). Under the heading
of "taking away the occasion for war" There will be more immigrants escaping
that violence. Are they to be entitled to stay in the US?

Thank you for your attentive Light
www.elizabetheames.blogspot.com <http://www.elizabetheames.blogspot.com/> 

"





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