Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Syrian refugees could provide a new test of "radical hospitality"

The scale of the refugee problem associated with Syria, with wounded civilians crossing a narrow river into Turkey, could raise another issue for people in the west: “radical hospitality” and the possibility of openness to providing care or adoption of children.  The issue of course has come up before, as with the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe, and it provided challenges that would shock most people.  And Russia, as we know, is banning adoption of its children from many countries over gay issues. 
        
Save the Children has a page on its emergency response here. One question is whether regularly scheduled charitable giving can deal with this.
     
I’ve seen this before.  In 1980, when I was living in Dallas, there was an appeal within the LGBT community to house Cuban refugees, many of whom were thought to be gay men fleeing Castro.  There were appeals to let people say in “spare bedrooms”.  It wasn’t long before a lot of people found out that this was far riskier than they had first realized  It was also far more demanding as to time, as people working all day probably couldn’t give refugees, non English speaking sometimes, that kind of attention.  When Catholic Charities tried to start a program in Dallas, it banned gays and lesbians from participating.  I found that out in a personal interview.  
   
CNN is covering the question of why the "younger" Assad (who took over in 2000) has become so repressive in using power, when once he was a "mild mannered opthamologist".  He was compared to a Mafia boss.  

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