I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
“When international organizations declare a crisis over and refugee camps are closed, what happens to those who remain?
” Close to one million people fled Libya as the violent fights of the Arab Spring began and a civil war ensued in 2011. Choucha, a refugee camp close to the Libyan border in Tunisia, housed many of them and was officially closed in June 2013. Roughly 400 refugees still live among the remains of the UN-camp. A short glimpse into their lives
. [Vimeo. Partly German, English starts at 1:18] [more inside]
Orashia Edwards, a bisexual man seeking asylum in the UK due to persecution in Jamaica based on his sexual orientation, has had his petition denied
and was scheduled to be deported yesterday. The immigration court concluded Orashia has been “dishonest” about his sexuality, but has not stated why. Speculation about the reasons includes the existence of his 14-month-old daughter, or the possibility that his responses to some of the detailed and intrusive questions
sometimes asked of bisexual asylum seekers in the UK were not persuasive enough. It may just be that “the box one needs to fit in to ‘deserve’ support and asylum is so tiny as to be almost non-existent for bisexual people
.” [more inside]
To be gay, Christian and black in Harlem
West African asylum seekers face a new kind of discrimination in the US
The Interpreters We Left Behind.
"As our troops pull out of Iraq
and Afghanistan, we're abandoning fixers and translators to the dangerous countrymen who view them as traitors. Asylum in the U.S. could be their last hope. If only we'd let them in
Was there ever a point in the writing where you said, “I just don’t see how I’m going to make this shark destroy the Sphinx?”
-- The AV Club interviews
Jose Prendes, screenwriter for Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (and other terrible movies).
Here's what could have got you admitted to the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane (Weston) aka Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the late 1860s: Imaginary Female Trouble... Jealousy and Religion... Tobacco and Masturbation... Carbonic Acid Gas... Parents were Cousins... Fell off Horse in War... Dangerous Minds
in 1912 as a farm colony of Brooklyn State Hospital, the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens [New York] became, by mid-century, a world unto itself. At its peak, it housed some 7,000 patients. They tended gardens and raised livestock on the hospital’s grounds. The hospital contained gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a theater, a television studio, and giant kitchens and laundries where patients were put to work. Today, Creedmoor, still run by the New York State Office of Mental Health, has only a few hundred patients" and houses The Living Museum
, an 'art asylum within an asylum
' where patients can create and exhibit
their art. But what is life like inside the institution itself? In 2010, Katherine B. Olsen spent weeks interviewing staff and patients. Her essay, published this week, 'Something More Wrong'
takes us inside Creedmoor's women's ward. [more inside]
The last King of Rwanda, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, lives on public assistance in low-income housing, at a dead end between US Route 66 and State Route 655 in Oakton, Virginia.
'He ruled Rwanda for just nine months in the 1960's before fleeing a revolt and has spent the last half century in exile, powerless to stop the violence that ripped through his country. He is 76 years old now, his tottering seven-foot-two-inch frame stooped by age and the vagaries of fate.'
To deter abuse, Canada’s refugee system has changed.
People who have arrived with groundless claims for asylum are removed faster (then before).
The Government of Canada has started a billboard campaign
in Miskolc, Hungary's third biggest city,
to inform people
about the changes of its immigration law. (Many who previously immigrated to Canada used to live in this city and its surrounding area.)
Also, two Global News reports from Canada:
The harsh realities of being a Hungarian Roma refugee in Canada
After the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane (later the Willard Psychiatric Center) closed in 1995, the New York State Museum received an unusual donation: 427 suitcases, dating from the 1910s to the 1960s, which had belonged to patients who died while institutionalized
. Photographer Jon Crispin
has undertaken a project to photograph their contents
. [more inside]
Julian Assange has breached his bail conditions in London and is currently petitioning for asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy
. It is uncertain whether asylum will be granted, though Assange has a personal friendship with Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador. If his asylum bid is successful however, it is unclear how he would get from the safe haven of the six room embassy office to Ecuador without being arrested by British authorities. Such stalemates have happened before. Cardinal József Mindszenty
was unable to leave the US Embassy building in Budapest for fifteen years after being granted asylum. The Siberian Seven
were a group of seven political refugees who lived in a twelve foot by twenty foot room in the basement of the US embassy in Moscow for five years after being granted asylum in 1978. And in 1989, Chinese scientist and political activist Fang Lizhi
was granted asylum at the US embassy in Beijing following the Tiananmen Square Massacre. He lived in the office for thirteen months before being allowed safe passage to Britain. [more inside]
"Take a dark journey into the forgotten, where time stands still. The paint has peeled off the walls and the only occupants are the souls of those left behind. This is the Asylum
." An amazing time-lapse film exploring the ruins of an abandoned 1920s mental hospital. [more inside]
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
Are you gay enough for asylum
? “Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First
, a nonprofit group, who advises people seeking asylum based on sexuality. “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.” [more inside]
is a new independent film (trailer
, briefly NSFW) by London-based directors Ramin Goudarzi Nejad
& Mahshad Torkan. It tells the story of Kiana Firouz, a filmmaker, actress, and lesbian activist who fled Iran after authorities learned of her attempt to make an underground documentary about the lives of Iranian gays and lesbians
. According to this interview
, Firouz didn't write the film, but plays herself. Earlier this month, her asylum petition was allegedly denied
. The denial shouldn't have been surprising according to statistics in a report
(pdf) by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group
, which states that the refusal rate for lesbians and gay men is as high as 98-99%. Although the Home Office claims it takes the sexual orientation of asylum seekers into consideration, laws which permit deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers have recently been challenged
in the supreme court.
The number of refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking asylum in Europe
continues to grow. Recently, despite criticism
from the UN, deportations
have begun. Most of those on a recent flight to Iraq were forced to return
to the UK (the nationalities of some remains unclear
, as does their fate
). Furthermore, the move to deport has meant denying that Iraq and Afghanistan are each in a state of war
The Home Office
, the UK government department responsible for immigration control
, has initiated a program to test the DNA from of potential asylum seekers in an attempt to confirm their true nationalities
. The initial program is a six-month pilot limited to claimants arriving from the Horn of Africa
. The program, currently using forensic samples provided on a voluntary basis, could potentially expand to other nationalities if successful. The Home Office spokeswoman said ancestral DNA testing would not be used alone but would be combined with language analysis, investigative interviewing techniques and other recognized forensic disciplines, but many are decrying the "deeply flawed" program, from refugee support groups
to scientists in the genetic forensics fields
). [more inside]
Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum in the UK.
Mehdi, now 20, was studying in the UK when Parham (his boyfriend) was arrested for the crime of homosexuality by the Iranian government. Mehdi was named by his boyfriend and warned he was liable to arrest on his planned return. The UK Home Office denied him asylum [despite a thoughtful campaign by human rights campaigners
] - because it was said he had overstayed his student visa and was therefore not seen as genuinely seeking asylum. So he escaped to the Netherlands. That's where it gets complicated. [more inside]
The Buffalo State Hospital
is a vast complex of moldering Victorian buildings
, sitting right in the middle of a residential neighborhood
of Buffalo. It is also an architectural gem, not only by Buffalo standards, but for the nation as a whole. It is one of the largest and most complex commissions of New England architect H. H. Richardson
, who is known for promulgating his unique, heavy looking stone Romanesque variant of the then dominant Queen Anne style. The Buffalo asylum’s grounds were planned by landscape architect (and designer of Central Park) Fredrick Law Olmsted
. [more inside]
The Lives They Left Behind.
Previously on MeFi, the Village Voice article
. Related are efforts to restore cemeteries located on the grounds of old "insane asylums," creating memorials See information from Washington
, New Hampshire
, and Georgia
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (née Magan)
has already been mentioned in several times
. Whether you consider her a couragous campaigner for women's rights and against Islamofascism, or a crass opportunist, there's no denying that she's some character. However, it now seems that her Becky-Sharp-ish
rise to fame and power also left a similar trail of embittered ex-friends
that has ended up landing her in serious trouble
with fellow right-winger (also previously mentioned in Metafilter) Rita Verdonk
, Dutch Immigration Minister.
Before feeling too sorry for Ayaan, consider that she's moving to Washington DC
, where she's landed a job at the American Enterprise Institute
. I'm sure she'll fit right in...
Jihad, terrorism and asylum - in rhyme and iambic pentameter (small QT movie, some profanity)
A Middle-Eastern chef and a xenophobic Northern English cook argue about war, bombs and asylum seekers - in the kind of flowing verse one might expect from Shakespeare. It's from British indie director Sally Potter and quite apposite, representing the kind of debates which are going on following the London bombings.
For young deserters, refuge is hard to find
It seemed like a drastic but simple solution: a step over the border into a country that had offered sanctuary before to Americans fleeing their homeland.
Instead, the growing band of US soldiers who have sought political refuge in Canada after defying orders to serve in Iraq have found themselves in a political limbo.
is knocking on deaths door, after sewing his eyes and mouth shut to bring attention to his request for asylum. He claims if he is sent back to Iran he will be executed for his political past. This guy is hardcore, he is threatening to set himself on fire if anyone tries to force feed him.
Welcome to Magdalene Asylums.
Now a film
, the Asylums
were generally staffed by the Sisters of Mercy
, and were found throughout Ireland and Scotland.
Save your local insane asylum.
When I was young and my mother would get frustrated with her brood she would merely have to say, "You are all going to send me straight to Milledgeville!"
to strike terror in our souls and cause us all to behave for at least the rest of the day.
China thumbs nose at Japan, sends asylum seekers on their way.
A happy ending (beginning) for five North Korean asylum seekers who were dragged out of the Japanese consulate in Shenyang by Chinese police -- with more than tacit initial approval from local Japanese officials.
Just a defacto "Nope".
"Refugees" from the US seeking asylum in Canada will no longer have any hoops to jump through. The hoops are to be replaced by impenatrable legal barriers, otherwise known as "inking the deal".
North Koreans would rather drink poison than return
Refugees seek asylum at the Spanish embassy in China.
"We are now at the point of such desperation and live in such fear of persecution within North Korea that we have come to the decision to risk our lives for freedom rather than passively await our doom," the group's statement said.
"Some of us carry poison on our person to commit suicide if the Chinese authorities should choose once again to send us back to North Korea," the statement said.
Woomera detainees sew lips together
At least 58 asylum seekers have sewn their lips together during a hunger strike at the Woomera detention centre.
I don't know what to think, I know we have to take precautions against letting terrorists in, but this is just awful.
The Australian HMAS Manoora
is taking hundreds of Afgan asylum seekers to the island of Nauru after they were rescued by a Norwegian freighter. Many Australian's supported the Government's move not to let them into the country but much of the rest of the world (and a few Australian do-gooders who took the Government to court and won) think we should let these people in.
Today on the radio I heard the mother of one of the sailors on the Manoora saying that the majority of these "refugees" cheered and celebrated when they heard the news of the WTC and Pentagon attacks. And these are the people that the do-gooders want in our free country???
Online Scientology critic seeks political asylum in Canada A couple of weeks ago computer engineer Keith Henson was found guilty in California of a criminal act related to posts he made in the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, which contained obviously comical (all right, Sophomoric) references to targeting Scientologists with a nuclear missile.
The United States. Liberty and justice for all. Oh yeah, baby.