Sunday, June 21, 2020


United Nations WORLD REFUGEE DAY NEWSLETTER #9, June 20, 2020.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a CULTURE OF PEACE, JUSTICE, and ECOLOGY   
(Newsletter #1 June 20, 2008; #2 Dec. 4, 2011; #3 June 20, 2012; #4, June 20, 2014; #5, June 20, 2015; #6 June 20, 2017; #7, June 20, 2018; #8, June 20, 2019).

UN World Refugee Day is held every year on June 20, a special day when the world takes time to recognize the desperate needs and the resilience of forcibly displaced people, and to plan ways to help them.
A time too to celebrate the UN for its idealism, compassion, and practical work.

UNHCR Issues Dire Warning
History of US Immigration
Film about Middle East
Jesus as Refugee
Google Search, UN Refugee Day 2020

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OMNI Center via 6-19-20
Jun 18, 2020, 2:00 PM (18 hours ago)
to ozarkquaker, OMNI

Long-awaited Supreme Court decision on DACA is down.  And WE WON!  Everyone who supports DACA people can celebrate and prep for the next phase.  Arkansas United shares their plans in this newsletter.  Thank you to all you dedicated folks who sent good thoughts, signed petitions, and made donation over the years.  YOU DID THIS!
Gladys Tiffany, DirectorOMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
479-935-4422  --

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Arkansas United <>
To: Gladys Tiffany <>
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2020, 01:21:59 PM CDT

DACA Decision!
To our allies and all friends of the immigrant and Latinx communities of Arkansas
Saludos Gladys!
In light of the decision handed down by the Supreme Court today, Arkansas United released the following statement:
Arkansas United, an Arkansas immigrant advocacy group founded in 2010 by AR Dreamers, welcomes today’s decision from SCOTUS to block President Trump from ending DACA, rightly acknowledging that DHS’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.
The DACA program will reopen for applications, and the DACAmented will continue to have the opportunity to renew. Arkansas United, Arkansas Dreamers and legislative allies will host a Zoom-press conference today at 2pm (link below) to offer their reactions to this ruling, and lift up the continued asks, both, of Congress to offer a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and of the Arkansas state assembly to continue its work to fulfill the potential of the DACA program by expanding access to professional licenses.
Arkansas United’s Immigrant Resource Centers in Springdale and Little Rock will offer legal navigation support to any AR Dreamers seeking assistance with DACA application. Arkansas United affirms that today’s victory was the direct result of years of organizing by Dreamers and their many allies, and today, the eve of Juneteenth, we look forward to remaining centered around our shared call for justice for our Black community. Throughout today on Facebook, we will be featuring resources on DACA and tomorrow on how immigrants too can work to counter anti-Blackness.
Thank you for your continued support,
Arkansas United 

Tune into a Zoom Press Conference today at 2:00 p.m.
Click here to join the zoom meeting at 2:00 p.m.
Tune into Arkansas United's Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m.
Arkansas United will be hosting a Field Call which will allow all those joining to share feelings, thoughts, and ideas moving forward.
Staff will be available on the call to provide more detailed information for those with questions about today's decision.
Visit to tune in!

News covering the UN and the world

The number of people displaced by war or discrimination has doubled over the last decade to reach a record 79.5 million -- or approximately one percent of the global population, a report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says. "We are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon," says UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi.
 Full Story: Anadolu Agency (Turkey) (6/18),  Reuters (6/18) 

By David Nasaw, New York Timesposted May 19, 2020
A review-essay on new books by Jia Lynn Yang and Adam Goodman on the history of US immigration policy. The author is a professor emeritus of history at the CUNY Graduate Center. His latest book, on Europe's displaced persons after World War II, will be published in September.
[H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 5/27/20: Links to recent articles of interest  Historians for Peace and Democracy
Jim O'Brien via H-PAD 
9:49 AM (4 hours ago)

Wednesday, February 5 - The Dupes (Syria 1973, directed by Tewfik Saleh).   From a master Egyptian director, this searing adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s celebrated novella, Men in the Sun, follows three Palestinians of different generations seeking to smuggle themselves from Iraq to Kuwait in search of a better life (Arabic w/ English subtitles – 107 minutes)
 Nadi Cinema, the Middle East Film Club, screens films from across the Middle East and often beyond. Screenings are free and open to the public. The series is hosted by Professor Joel Gordon and generally meets monthly.  Call 479-575-2175 or visit the Nadi Cinema webpage for more information on plans during the pandemic.
Nani Verzon.  Program Manager, King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas   479-575-2175 | | Facebook: @UARKMEST | Twitter: @UARKMEST

Jesus was a Palestinian refugee
Justice Initiative via 
Dec 22, 2019, 1:02 PM (19 hours ago)
Note: As the world is about to acknowledge the birth of Jesus on December 25, some history of Jesus as a Palestinian organizer, in opposition to the occupation of his Palestinian homeland by the Romans, is of critical importance. 
The article below by Hamid Dabashi importantly makes reference to Jesus as the Jewish Palestinian refugee that he was. Bethlehem, the city of his birth, and Nazareth were in the country of Palestine. In an article I wrote, in 2015, about Jesus' role as a revolutionary against Roman abuse, entitled "A Personal Testimony:The History and Violence of Christianity.I noted the following:
It never ceases to amaze me that given the importance of the role of religion in our lives that we are rarely given the opportunity to learn about its history from church leaders. This is likely for two reasons. One is that many probably don't know the history themselves and secondly if they do know they likely don't want us to know that history. Knowledge, or certain kinds of knowledge, can be empowering and prompt too many questions that church leaders would probably want to avoid.
While there are questions as to his actual existence, there are nevertheless a lot of interpretations of Jesus. I have mine as well, based on my research. To me, he was a revolutionary. He grew up in the Middle East, which is geographically in North Africa. This was during a time of the stressful occupation of Rome in Palestine, known as the home of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).    

In 63 B.C.E, the Roman general Pompey conquered Palestine. Jesus seemed largely concerned about the integrity of the Jewish faith in the face of Roman corruption of some of the Jewish leaders. He was also defiant against the Roman empire overall. In contemporary terms, he was not an "Uncle Tom" and this is likely why he was crucified. He defied Roman rule by developing a movement largely against the Roman occupation and its dictates. (If we were occupied by a foreign ruler we would probably do the same, as is now yet again the case in Middle East. This time it is mostly America and Israel, instead of Rome, wielding their power and there is, of course, a reaction to this.) 

Again, below, is the wonderful and explanatory article, by Columbia professor Hamid Dabashi, about the history of Jesus. He wisely notes:

Imagine Christ as a Jewish Palestinian labour organiser refugee from Honduras!   Donald Trump and his Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen would probably not have allowed him into the US. 

December 21, 2019

Remember: Christ was a Palestinian refugee
Jesus Christ stands as a towering figure of unity in the face of the divisions and hate being sown among us. 
by Hamid Dabashi.  Al Jazeera, 25 Dec 2018.

A view shows the dome of the Assyrian church facing a mosque minaret in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 24, 2018 [Mustafa Ganeyeh/Reuters]

"And when the angels said, 'O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary - distinguished in this world and the hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]" (The Quran 3:45).
There is something beautifully sacred about the moment in the Quran when the angels inform Mary she is about to give birth to Jesus. Angels bring her the good news. They tell her of how "He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous."
The sublime innocence of Mary at hearing this news can hardly be better captured in any scripture: "She said, 'My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, 'Such is Allah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is" (The Quran 3:47).
God Himself, according to the Quran, teaches Christ: "And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel" (The Quran 3:48).
Based on these and other Quranic passages, Muslims should have no theological problem marking, celebrating, rejoicing at the birth of Christ as a prophet sent by God.

For every age, a 'different' Christ 
All of these may appear as strange and outlandish in a world plagued by religious bigotry and historical illiteracy. Generations of European depiction of Christ as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white man have made it difficult for European and North American Christians today to imagine him for what he was: a Jewish Palestinian refugee child who grew up to become a towering revolutionary figure. 
In his exquisite study, Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture (1985), the eminent historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan has demonstrated that, throughout history the image of Christ has gone through successive reformations, from a Jewish Rabbi to "Light of Gentiles", "the King of Kings", "the Son of Man", "the Monk who rules the World", "the Universal Man", "the Prince of Peace", to a liberator who inspired Lev Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr to "the Man who belongs to the World".
In the Latin American context, in particular, and through the emancipatory work of liberation theologians, the figure of Christ emerges as the revolutionary leader of the wretched of the earth. 
The Peruvian philosopher, theologian and Dominican priest Gustavo Gutierrez has revolutionised our contemporary understanding of Christ. In my own work on Islamic liberation theology, I have been deeply influenced by the work of Father Gutierrez, who next to the eminent Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas have brought the prophetic voices of Biblical exegesis to bear on our contemporary lives. 
For years at Columbia, I have been teaching a book called Don't Be Afraid, Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from The Heart: The Story of Elvia Alvarado (1989) in which there is a splendid a chapter called: 'Jesus was an Organizer'.
The Nazareth-born Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman has a short film called, Cyber Palestine (1999), in which he presents the story of a modern-day Mary and Joseph as they attempt to cross from Gaza into Bethlehem. As a parable of the Palestinian predicament in their own homeland, "Cyber Palestine" captures the quintessence of the story of the birth of Christ under military occupation of the Romans then and the Zionists now. 
Imagine Christ as a Jewish Palestinian labour organiser refugee from Honduras! Donald Trump and his Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen would probably not have allowed him into the US.

Against the grain of history 
The dark days of Zionism laying a false claim on Judaism and Palestine alike are happily over. The lies of a gang of European settler colonialists trying to rob Jews of their ancestral faith and Palestinians of their historical homeland have finally come to a crushing defeat when Jews and Palestinians, and Jews as Palestinians, have come together to lay a post-Zionist claim on their ancestral faith and homeland alike. 
The massive propaganda to cast the resistance of Palestinians to the colonial occupation and theft of their homeland as a battle between "Jews and Arabs" was so dominant in the la la land of the US and even Europe that the very idea that Palestinians are Christians, too, and that Jesus was, in fact, a Palestinian Jewish Rabbi scares and confuses the living daylight out of their slumbering ignorance. 
The very simple fact that Palestinians have historically been Jews, Christians, and Muslims was hard to digest in that la la land. By extension, also the very simple fact that Christ and Mary are two seminal figures in the Quran has also been seen as a strange proposition in this banality.
Jesus was a Palestinian Jew who spoke Aramaic, a language in the same family as Hebrew and Arabic. He came from the same prophetic tradition as Prophets Moses and Mohammad.
There are, of course, doctrinal differences between the figure of Jesus as he appears in the Quran and his divinity as understood in Christianity. Here it is crucial to remember the manner in which in both Persian poetry and Islamic mysticism, the figure of Christ expands into the far more pervasive icon of divine mercy. The seminal Sufi master Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) has in his works, particularly in the chapter, The Wisdom of Prophecy in the Word of Jesus, in his masterpiece, Fusus al-Hikam/Bezels of Wisdomsought to bring conceptual harmony between the Muslim and Christian perceptions of Jesus.
Through his doctrine of "Oneness of Being", Ibn Arabi accommodated the question of sonship in Christian doctrine: Jesus emerges as a "Perfect Man" and "the Seal of Saints". Ibn Arabi cites the Quranic references to Jesus' ability to bring a clay bird to life as an indication of the Divine Will.
In the Muslim Sufis' Christology, we have a solid body of evidence in which we see the current animus presumed between various religions of Palestine as political hogwash. We need literary knowledge, historical consciousness, and intellectual responsibility with all of which to dismantle the thick apartheid walls that ignorant hateful people are erecting among us all.
Merry Christmas everyone! Remember Christ was a Palestinian refugee - a Jewish Palestinian refugee, who is the founding figure of Christianity, and a beloved prophet for Muslims. The rest is commentary.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR      Hamid Dabashi
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Google UN World Refugee Day June 20, 2020
The United Nations' (UNWorld Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year. This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

[Comment: Google is way behind in not including global warming, climate catastrophe refugees, which will probably soon surpass all other categories in number.   –Dick]
العربية · 中文 · English · Français; Português; Русский · Español · UN logo · World Refugee Day 20 June ... 2020 Theme: Every Action Counts ... This is at the heart of UNHCR's World Refugee Day campaign. This year, we aim to remind ... Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
Jun 20, 2019 - June 20 is the day the world commemorates the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees. Get to know more about World ...
Each June 20, the globe comes together to honor World Refugee Day. The United Nations General Assembly launched the holiday in 2000, and since then, the ...
Jun 20, 2020 - The UN General Assembly therefore decided that 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day from 2001 onwards. Further information ...
Sat, Jun 20
World Refugee Day is held on June 20th. This is an annual event, held on the same date each year. World Refugee Day honours the strength and courage of ...
Sat, Jun 20
Jun 20, 2019 - On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.
World Refugee Day, international observance observed June 20 each year, is dedicated to ... Each year on June 20 the United NationsUnited Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) ... This page was last edited on 16 June 2020, at 16:29 (UTC).

On June 20, 2020, the world will observe the United Nations' (UNWorld Refugee Day. This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, ...
Searches related to UN World Refugee Day June 20, 2020

CONTENTS UN World Refugee Day June 20, 2019
Choosing the Right Words: Migrant v. Refugee
UN Report: Displaced from Poor Nations
UNA, USA, 70.8 Million
US Repression of Aid Providers
Public Protests:
Alison Moore, “Liberty”
In Defense of Open Borders
UUSC: Children in Federal Detention
Whistleblower v. ICE’s Solitary Confinement
International Rescue Committee


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