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Monday, May 02, 2016


by George Salamon

David Cameron has rejected an attempt by the House of Lords to force the UK to take in child refugees from Europe, arguing that they are in safe countries and not comparable to those fleeing Nazi Germany. The prime minister defended his position amid a standoff between the Commons and Lords about the plight of child refugees who have already travelled to Europe from Syria and other war-torn countries. Peers first voted to amend the immigration bill to get the UK to take in 3,000 child refugees from Europe, but this was rejected by MPs earlier this week. The Lords then voted on Tuesday to ask the government to take in an unspecified number of refugees in consultation with local councils, which will be debated again by MPs next week. Alf Dubs, a Labour peer who came to Britain on the Kindertransport for Jewish children in the late 1930s, has said the government would have “probably said no” to to those fleeing the Nazis. (Photo: A family of refugees gather outside their tents at a makeshift camp in the northern border point of Idomeni, Greece. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP) —The Guardian, April 27, 2016

I was three when my parents and I scurried
Through forests of the night from Austria into Switzerland,
Where cantonal police chief Paul Grueninger
Defied federal orders and allowed 3,000 Viennese Jews
Into his Alpine paradise in 1938.
Since then, Je Suis Refugee.

The children from Syria may not be granted
My lucky toss of the dice in
Inhumanity's cruel game with humanity and
Endure  as flotsam and jetsam that has reached
Its highest total since World War Two now
That 'violence has forced 60 million from their homes.'

The refugee enjoys no amor fati, discovers no love for his destiny,
Musters no shout of "Invictus' as he struggles ashore in Greece or
Stumbles across borderland swamps in the Balkans.
The Swiss wanted Rothschildian Jews for Davos's apres-ski,
The Brits want oil-rich Arabs for Mayfair's condos.
Bleeding hearts get little respect in the
Jungle of the global economy.

To the refugee home is not where the heart is, 'though
Another's heart can become his home,
While geography offers only fragments of city
Blocks filled with borrowed lives

America showed me its good side, way back when
We wore the white hat in the West.
But refugees learn not to trust, and look for
The wormhole, secure  routes of flight and escape.
There no longer are numbers burnt on their forearms,
But the Je Suis Refugee song stuck in their throats.

George Salamon taught German language and literature at several East Coast colleges, served as business reporter and editor on a military magazine. For the past five years he has written for the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and TheNewVerse.News from St. Louis, MO.