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

Geeta Jyothi mcgahey at yancey.main.nc.us
Mon Mar 2 17:49:08 EST 2009

Dear Friends,
I have recently returned from the AFSC-SERO EC meeting in Atlanta.  We read 
these comments by Elizabeth and discussed our response to Haiti for about 
an hour.  The National AFSC does not do large scale relief in areas where 
we don't have or expect to have ongoing presence.  Although there is an 
office in Haiti there is not program work there.  In the SE we have one 
person in Miami who is working with Haitian immigrants, trying to build 
bridges to the future in the torn diaspora community and also working on 
deportation issues.  Our office's new Assistant director Alice  Lovelace 
<alovelace at mindspring.com> has a long-standing personal concern about 
Haiti, and how the situation there is hidden from view.  We saw the hygiene 
and infant kits as inadequate and inappropriate to the devastation of the 
We realized that if we couldn't send water at least we could provide iodine 
tablets and other essentials
We are hopeful that since schools are opening education kits may be a good 
way to connect US children and their parents to the reality in Haiti.

We approved the following minutes for the South-East Region (SERO):

The EC asks staff to incorporate support for Haitian human rights in all 
appropriate work as the new program plans are prepared.

The EC asks the Friends Humanitarian Response Program to assess needs with 
local people before soliciting and sending kits, particularly 
internationally, and to focus on the most pressing needs that can be met 
with kits.

We thank Elizabeth for bringing this to our attention.

I am excited about the work of AFSC in our region and the efforts to 
collaborate with other groups so as to be a leavening.

Geeta Jyothi, AFSC-SERO Rep

At 11:30 AM 1/27/2009 -0500, Elizabeth Eames wrote:
>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.
>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 
>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 
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: <mailto:licciardelloj at bellsouth.net>Jere Licciardello
>>To: <mailto:roeblingelizabeth at msn.com>Elizabeth Eames ; 
>><mailto:sayma-discuss at kitenet.net>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: <mailto:roeblingelizabeth at msn.com>Elizabeth Eames
>>>To: <mailto:sayma-discuss at kitenet.net>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
>>>Sayma-Discuss mailing list
>>>Sayma-Discuss at kitenet.net
>>>This list is for the SAYMA community to discuss general issues of 
>>>concern to Quakers.  Announcements should be sent to SAYMA-Announce.
>>Sayma-Discuss mailing list
>>Sayma-Discuss at kitenet.net
>>This list is for the SAYMA community to discuss general issues of concern 
>>to Quakers.  Announcements should be sent to SAYMA-Announce.
>Sayma-Discuss mailing list
>Sayma-Discuss at kitenet.net
>This list is for the SAYMA community to discuss general issues of concern 
>to Quakers.  Announcements should be sent to SAYMA-Announce.

OM Shantih Shantih Shantih,

Geeta Jyothi
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