The Widdershins

Immigration: there’s good news and bad news

Posted on: June 29, 2019

First the good news. How a small Turkish city successfully absorbed half a million migrants:

Gaziantep has grown by 30% due to newcomers fleeing the crisis across the border in Syria, but remains a model of tolerance and pragmatism. …

In one 24-hour period alone, Gaziantep took in 200,000 people. To put that in perspective, Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, with a population of 15 million, hosts 560,000 refugees in total. Gaziantep has just a 10th of the population but took in 500,000. …

Early on, the Turkish government pursued a policy of integrating the newcomers into urban areas, rather than let them fester in refugee camps. Only 4% still live in camps.

This put pressure, however, on the existing housing stock in Gaziantep, forcing up rents. Employers, meanwhile, took advantage of the sudden increase in the workforce to push down wages. There was also conflict over access to drinking water, and burgeoning resentment that the aid pouring in was going to Syrians, not to poor Turks. …

It was precisely to avoid this sort of conflict that the city adopted a new approach, based on integration.

The mayor, Fatma Sahin, established a migration management department. The idea was that Turks and migrants would receive equal treatment and benefits.

It persuaded the government to pipe in water from over 80 miles away to address the water crisis, and then set up a plan to build 50,000 new homes, as well as new hospitals and better public services. All were available to Turks and migrants alike.

“I said to them, we have to work together,” Yalçin says. “We are aiming for social cohesion, because Turkish and Syrian people are going to live together here[.”] …

What sets Gaziantep apart is that it didn’t wait. It was quick to accept the reality that the migrants were there to stay – and the sooner integrated, the better.

“Migration has always been with us,” says Yalcin. “It’s not a problem to be solved but a reality you have to manage. You should see the advantages. And you need to tell people the truth: these people are not stealing your jobs, they’re not stealing your houses.”

(It’s worth mentioning, since it may not be obvious to English-speaking readers, that Fatma is a woman’s name. Margaret Thatcher and many others are evidence to the contrary, but on the whole leaders who are women seem to do a damn good and visionary job more often than not.)

building a home using sand-filled plastic bottles for new refugees in SE Algeria
A project to help new Sahrawi refugees in SE Algeria by building them homes using sand-filled plastic bottles for walls. This is old refugees helping new ones, so not an example of integration among foreigners, but it’s the same idea.


So the good news is that solutions to the plight of refugees exist.


The bad news is that most places are doing the 180° opposite.

As I’ve pointed out in other blogposts, Trump is not the first to try sadism to stop refugees. The Australians did it years earlier. And they’ve dealt with the downstream consequences that we’re only imagining. The outlook is terminal.

The USA is imprisoning people it finds undesirable. Australia has already lived this nightmare

It’s long been observed that any network of camps, once established, becomes worse. As Andrea Pitzer shows in her history of concentration camps, One Long Night, over and over again since the invention of concentration camps in the late 19th century, in each iteration they develop their own terrible, internal logic. Laws are circumvented or changed, secrecy inhibits scrutiny, logistical problems complicate detention such that the brunt is always borne by prisoners, and a dynamic of brutalisation sweeps up prisoner, jailer and the whole society surrounding them.

Even if such camps are not deliberately constructed for the purposes of murder, they kill people. In Australia’s camps, dozens have died, a score or more at their own hands. …

Australia’s camps are now baked into its national politics. They look set to remain as long as there are elections to win, focus groups to placate, and no outside agency truly capable of enforcing any consequences for its architects. The longer that they are in place in the US, Italy and elsewhere, the more likely it is that in those countries, too, they will become permanent features of the political landscape. … [emphasis mine]

The difficulty of holding a nation’s most powerful people accountable is why it seems likely that the camps won’t be shut down on the basis of national politics. Angela Mitropoulos, a scholar on the topic, says only a globalized opposition can succeed.

And to me, that sounds even more depressing than the fact that we’re back to explaining that concentration camps are a bad idea. In a world with Xi Jinping, who puts millions of Uighurs in camps, with Putin, with The US’s own flabby version of an autocrat, with elections being rigged to make Europe fall apart, with the lack of respect and funding for the UN — with all of that the chances of a useful global response seem kind of microscopic.

But then there are the Greta Thunberg’s of the world. An idea catches fire and people decide they’re not going to take it anymore.

I just hope maybe once we can reach that point before the full disaster strikes, not afterward as we’re dragging ourselves out of the horror.

72 Responses to "Immigration: there’s good news and bad news"

Discuss anything you like, of course. My favorite topic being the brilliance of Kamala Harris :D.

Good post — it’s important we see examples of how things can be done well.

Good grief quixote! I was not even aware of that situation in Oz.

Is it because of their religion, the color of their skin, or both?

@2: And how they are done badly in other countries too.

Here’s a wiki entry on the “Pacific Solution” mentioned in the Guardian piece.

@6, repubs donating to the Grifting Hippie candidate. That is so unfair! We can’t even respond in kind because their worst candidate is already prez*!

@7: Reminds me of the Jill Stein thing in the last cycle. Grrr…

First pass at culling the herd.

Jill Stein. Exactly. Would you believe I’d forgotten about her? Wiped her from my mind.

Mostly, Bill Maher strikes me like a sexist bro, but he’s right about culling. I haven’t watched it yet, so I hope he’s culling the useless, not the brilliant women. You never know with him.

@10: I haven’t really thought of him as sexist but yeah, perhaps. You may be surprised by the ones he gets rid of. Kept one that surprised me.

Quixote, well done, & thank you for sharing this. It’s like a small light in the darkness. I think the world desperately needs women leaders if the planet is going to survive.

@10, 11, I think of him as sexist also, maybe from fear. He’s interesting or funny sometimes though. And I am dying to see the Dems cull the herd. This is ridiculous.

This is mindblowing. (Fredster, maybe you shouldn’t look!):

@13: Of course I was going to look after the warning. LOL

He kept Beto? That actually makes sense to me. Compared to the rest of the throwaways, except Gillibrand, he’s actually got sense and ideas. Just not much experience. Although more than Bootyedge. (Yes, I’m irritated by him. We don’t need no Republicans in elf clothing.)

Three or four, five max, is plenty to be running in a primary. Harris, Warren, Inslee, Castro.

More than that, especially zero-chancers at the back, are just trying to get famous enough on their contributors’ dime for a book deal or media slot. (Sanders, of course, has been there and done that, but he’s not letting that stop him from keeping the good grift going.)

@14, Haha! Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you! God, that was sumpin!

@15, well said. That was a harsh shot at Gillibrand. Agree that most of them are doing this for fame and support for other endeavors.

@15: Did he keep Beto or just give him to Joy Reid? I think Maher wanted him out.

Oh annie, pls don’t get me started on Gillibrand. I kept quiet during all of that buti If she and some others had been reasonable, they could have probably censured Franken on the Senate floor. He would have accepted that and we would have still had him on the Senate Judiciary committee ripping holes into all the Trumlandia nominees.

@15, He was going to toss Beto out but gave him to Joy. He kept Mayor Pete though.

I was kinda loud on how Franken should have been given due process and investigated first. He volunteered for that process. That 1st accusation was prompted by Roger Stone and was ridiculous after you looked at video from that trip. Meanwhile Trump and dozens of Republicans with multiple serious accusations don’t get called by by their colleagues to resign or be investigated.

Meanwhile, Trump snoggles up with another dictator.

Trump steps inside North Korea, restarts nuclear talks

“This was a very legendary, very historic day. It’ll be even more historic if something comes up, something very important,” he added. “Very big stuff, pretty complicated, but not as complicated as people think.”

“A lot of really great things are happening, tremendous things,” he said. “We met and we liked each other from Day One, and that was very important.”

Media. Eyeroll.

With a full embrace of liberal positions on hot-button issues from immigration to health care, taxes and abortion, the Democratic presidential field has effectively abandoned the strategy that propelled the party to a landslide victory in the 2018 midterms

A little Awwwww! break:

Inslee has a great sense of humor. He keeps having good zingers against yayhoo BS.

The red panda cub! Squeeeeee!

Re Gillibrand, I keep seeing people I respect (eg Victoria Brownworth) insisting her treatment of Franken was justified because there were 8 accusations against him.

a) They were all pushed by Repubs, if I remember right, and should have been examined before being acted on.

b) I’d be much more willing to believe her motives were good if she was proportionally loud supporting Carroll and the other 21 (22?) women who’ve come forward accusing the Dump of much, much, much worse.

quixote and Luna, agree with you both on the Franken thing.

The red pandas are so cute. Awww..

Agree with you all about Gillibrand and the Franken expulsion. I really miss Al. He was tough on the rethugs and they took him out. Their ratfucking op was so childish and lame, I thought people would laugh it off, it was so obvious. If Gillibrand hadn’t started that whole thing, I would find her a very impressive politician. But frankly, (ha) she’s tainted for me now.

@21, I really like Inslee. Washington doesn’t have the issues with their rep minority that Oregon has, do they?

@22, Adorable critter!

Quixote @24b, good point!

I think Beto & Buttiguy should have used their energy and newsworthiness to run for the senate or governor instead.

@28: Beto tried to run for Senate against Ted Cruz and lost. He came close though. That makes me think he’s a “professional” politician.
“Oh, I lost for Senate; I’ll run for Prez now”. Uh, no.

Bootyjudge and Swallwell were both taking pride in being millennials and saying they were the ones to save America because of their generation. Terrible argument, because if they had gotten to the ballot box we wouldn’t have Drumpf.

I like Swallwell but he is VP material at best.

Q, great and chilling post. Thank you!

@30: I like Swallwell but he is VP material at best.


@27, WA’s eastern half is mostly rural, farming, and red, but has less population than the Western half, thank the deities.

Inslee won his Representative seat in a fairly R and semi-suburban and rural district. He lost re-election after voting for what was a tepid form of reasonable gun control. He then ran for a district which incorporated most of the previous district and part of another — rearrangements were made after a census and reallocation for population — and won several re-elections from that district. He’s on his 2nd term as Gov. He’s got an amazing amount of good legislation passed given that the Republicans still make up maybe 45% of the state legislature. Every once in a while they get a narrow majority. Perhaps they’re not as far rightwing as many other Republican areas.

I don’t see the debate format as allowing him much opportunity to lay out what he’s accomplished, though. They should throw out Chuck Todd and the others and keep Rachel.

@29, I think I read that Buttiguy ran for IN state offices twice and lost, but he should try again, and so should Beto. They have a lot of popularity now and could maybe turn a seat. We have 4 B’s running for prez, Bernie-Biden-Beto+Butti. I wish they’d all step down.

Chuckie ruins everything.

@35: Yep, he sure does!!

Say what????


@40: And had I not been on twitter checking someone else’s tweets I wouldn’t have had any idea.

@40: And no reporters either.

@40, Guantanamo WTAF???

All they had to do was vote for a woman.

quixote and luna: Hell, not even the sailors like being stationed at gitmo.

17 Fredster

I absolutely agree about Franken, he should have had a hearing to decide if he needed a censure.



[In a soft and airy voice:

“Your Daddy is a psycho-idiot and he molests and rapes girls/women.
How do ya like dem apples?”]

Ack, “You’re Daddy…..”

I did it again, please delete above. Should have been, “YOUR daddy….”

@48: Shadow, how bout we just fix it instead?

The idiocy!

Republicans want to torture and kill children in Gitmo, a place of horror that is already a terrible stain on this country.

Just let that sink in.

@52: I hope it’s as well attended as his Inaugural was.

49 That would be perfect, thanks Fredster.

I heard that Code Pink’s permit to fly the baby Dump blimp at the parade, was approved.

I wonder how long it will take to shoot it down or run over some pink haired ladies with a tank?

I wonder if Dump will ride in the parade on a tank. Hope he has cartons of raw eggs tossed at him.

Took forever to find a grahphic for this CNN poll taken after the debate.

Biden’s appeal is 100% wishful thinking. The only question is whether people will do more thinking and less wishing. Given the result of actually seeing Harris in the debate, there may be reason for optimism. It also means that if the media would just give her some air so people could hear more from her, we wouldn’t be saddled with the fossilized parasites.


How Anti-Immigration Policies Are Leading Prisons to Lease Convicts as Field Laborers: Under lucrative arrangements, states are increasingly leasing prisoners to harvest food for American consumers at a rate not seen since Jim Crow.”

Aka forced labor. Aka slavery.

As current anti-immigrant policies diminish the supply of migrant workers (both documented and undocumented), farmers are not able to find the labor they need. So, in states such as Arizona, Idaho, and Washington that grow labor-intensive crops like onions, apples, and tomatoes, prison systems have responded by leasing convicts to growers desperate for workers.

What was that Australian writer saying about the cost to a country’s integrity of these trashfire policies?

@57: There’s a Quinnipiac poll that shows the difference between Harris and Biden at two points which is a virtual tie. Can’t find a graphic though.

And yet it also showed:

Despite Drop, Biden Still Seen As Best Bet Against Trump

It’s half a year before Iowa. As that venue has caucuses, there’s room for all sorts of chicanery. If you’re below 15%, you don’t count. Unless you throw your votes to another candidate to spite a 3rd candidate. Yes, this happens as various people wheedle, bribe, and threaten.

After Iowa there are a number of states which have moved their primaries up earlier, and fewer caucuses overall (yay!!!), so the season looks to be different from 2016.

Grifter-in-Chief grifts from our National Parks for his banana republic military parade.

@52, good cartoon.

Two good things happened today: No citizenship question on the 2020 census, and Trump’s indefinite detention policy is declared illegal.

@65, please let it be true!

@52, great toon!

@51, yes, they have black hearts. I hope they can be prosecuted and jailed someday. They aren’t being forced to do this.

this is rich:

I’m afraid that dumps yayhoo freak supporters will shoot down the trump baby.

socalannie @69, Shoot down Dear Leader? Sacrilege! Blasphemy! They would never do that.

Would they?

New post up.

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