[Montréal, Québec, Canada 18°C] Last night, I watched the five last episodes of the 2004 six-part television series, Human Cargo, directed by Brad Turner. I watched it on DVD borrowed from the well-stocked video library at La Grande Bibliothèque. The winner of seven Gemini Awards, including best director and best miniseries, the series follows parallel stories and characters closely related to human migration issues. The series is set mostly in Vancouver, where migrants seeking refugee status in Canada deal with the Immigration and Refugee Board’s (IRB) corruptibility, and in Burundi where a civil war between Tutsis and Hutus, exacerbated by...
Exactly three weeks ago, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. Like many people in Sudan, I was glued to the television set to view the announcement. It was 4 p.m.
[Nairobi, Kenya 27°C] Below is a selection of photos taken at Sud Academy, a primary/secondary school for Sudanese refugees in a poor neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya. The school has a student population of more than 200 students, some of whom were abducted during the civil war by northern militia and enslaved by them to tend the cattle stolen in the raid. Lino Madut Angok is ne of the abductees who was freed, as indicated in his letter (below) by an organization called Redemption(?). Although I recognize the benefit Lino has received by being freed from bondage, there is much debate (here, here and here) about the practice of redemption (buying the slave’s freedom) and its ability to end slavery in Sudan.
[Nairobi, Kenya 28°C] The Nairobi heat rarely gathers on the brow long enough to bead. It evaporates long before it has a chance to trickle then drip. Kenya will prepare you for the heat of Sudan, everyone tells me as I reach for my water bottle, still thursty. It’s not just the heat of Southern Sudan I’m preparing for, it’s the place itself. It’s hold on a tenuous peace, as mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on Januray 9, 2005 between the Khartoum-based Government of Sudan and the, then-rebel group, Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
January 1, 2006 was the day Abdelkader Belaouni entered into a self-imposed sancutary at St-Gabriel’s Church in the Pointe Saint-Charles neighbourhood of Montréal. On January 6, I visited Kader on the second floor of the rectory where he has spent much of the last 1100 days to avoid deportation back to Algeria.
[MONTRÉAL] A little-known detail about Gaza that is rarely mentioned in the media is that within its borders exist 8 United Nations refugee camps: Palestinian refugees within occupied Palestinian territories. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the 365-square-kilometre Gaza Strip has a total population of approximately 1.4 million of which up to one million are registered refugees living both inside and outside of the camps. Since the bombardment of the Gaza Strip began on December 27, 2008, there are certainly fewer refugees than before the attacks, considering the escalating death tole, which according...
In 2001, Palestinians seeking refugee status in Canada began receiving responses from Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Some were refused while others were accepted.
The IRB was accused of being arbitrary and prejudicial against Palestinians seeking refugee status in Canada. One case that the Montréal Palestinians often referred to to back up their claim are of two brothers who are both from the Burj el-Barajneh Refugee Camp.