Monday, July 23, 2007

Kirk Johnson and Iraqi Refugees Get Press

On the July 15th "World News With Charles Gibson," ABC News ran a story on Iraqi refugees, featuring Kirk Johnson. The segment, titled "Left Behind: Adocates Helping Iraqis Come to the U.S.," involved interviews with Johnson as well as Ellen Sauerbrey, the top State Department official on refugees. You can watch the video and read the accompanying article here, and I highly recommend both.

Meanwhile, Kirk got more press with an article in Sunday's Washington Post by Spencer Hsu. This article, "
Envoy Urges Visas for Iraqis Aiding the U.S.," cites Kirk making what I believe is one of the most compelling arguments in favor of aid to Iraqi refugees:
Kirk W. Johnson, who served as regional reconstruction coordinator in Fallujah in 2005 for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said the damage to the United States' standing in the Muslim world will be long-lasting if the country's immigration officials are unable to tell friend from foe in Iraq -- between terrorists and those who have sacrificed the most to work and fight alongside Americans.

"If we screw this group of people, we're never going to make another friend in the Middle East as long as I'm alive," said Johnson, who is advocating the resettlement of Iraqis who have worked for coalition forces. "The people in the Middle East are watching what happens to this group."
This week, EPIC continues to advocate on behalf of Iraqi refugees, and we'll keep you informed of our progress.


Anonymous said...

It seems like the US has a highly detrimental stereotype that we like to lump everyone into the same group. It is very important that we find ways to distinguish between friend and foe, terrorist and civilian before we make our stereotypes true. Rewarding those who have helped us would go along way in that direction, even Bush's very flawed "You're with us our against us" declarations could not deny these people help.

Anonymous said...

Most people are unaware of the problems. Getting this on the national news is a step in the right direction. Too bad the presidential contenders don't talk more about it. That might help.

Emily Stivers said...

Yeah, we've been in communication with a couple of the presidential camps trying to feel out their positions, but no substantial gains yet.

Anyway we're more concerned with getting the attention of Congress, since that's where the legislation is. What we're hearing from high-ups is, the issue needs more media attention, and that is exactly what it is getting right now.

I think if more people become aware of the refugee problem, they will feel the obligation to do something about it.

jt said...

You could use a program like "Sixty Minutes" to focus on someone who helped us there but who is now threatened and cannot get out. People tend to get pay more attention when there's more focus.

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