For those of you who haven’t seen the news lately…or haven’t visited news sites that carry such news…the French government is tearing down a refugee camp in Calais and moving its residents to other facilities in France. Many of the residents are upset because they would like to reach Great Britain and feel that being moved from Calais will make that move more difficult. This despite the fact that the camp is described as a squalid jungle. So there has been some rioting and violence.

I don’t know what we can do about it directly but there is something about they way it is being reported in much of the America press the really bothers me. As we’ve seen in this campaign, words matter. And NPR and other outlets have repeatedly called the residents of these camps: migrants.

They aren’t migrants. Migrants follow the crops and harvest them. Migrants move from their home to a new home to find work. Migrants came to America to find a better life. Migrants settled the west and the plains by moving from the east. Migrants moved from the rural south to the north and Midwest to find factory jobs. Migrants abandoned the dust bowl and moved to California in the depression. Those are migrants.

The people in France are refugees. They have been violently driven from their homes by war. I think it is important that we don’t lose sight of that. They have left behind everything they knew for the unknown to literally keep from being killed.

This is an important distinction and I don’t know why the media is trying to soft pedal this by using the term migrant. As I said NPR has used the term migrant the past two days. Good Morning America got it right in a title: “France Begins Removing Thousands From Squalid ‘Jungle’ Refugee Camp“, but used migrant in the story a time or two. And the Associated Press uses migrants: “France moving more than 6,000 migrants, destroying huge camp” (an article reprinted in the October 26, 2016 print edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where the subheading read: “Thousands of migrants still await relocation”).

I won’t go on with other examples…but it is really important that we use refugees…it denotes their existence and their presence resulting from violence, an involuntary movement from their former homes. The label migrant makes it sound voluntary and implies less urgency for their situation.

Let’s call refugees…refugees.

3 Responses to They aren’t migrants!

  1. John Casper says:

    Ed, many thanks.

    Luke 2:7

    And she gave birth to her firstborn son and uwrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

    Luke 10:

    “The Parable of the Good Samaritan”

    25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

    29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

  2. Cat Kin says:

    I appreciate your concern, Zach. I don’t know what we can do about it other than going to war wth Russia. We can get serious with the Saudis, however and support Iran in their war with the Sunnies and the free world. But the’ve too much invested in Ameria for our politicians to even site their criminal behavior. So, as the saints tell us we must have patience and faith that Christ will come.

  3. John Casper says:

    Cat,

    I share your concern about war with Russia. Unfortunately I have a lot more of it. They have lots and lots of nukes on the tips of ICBM’s. Monsanto and Big Ag, want the Ukraine grain market. Ukraine’s also got natural gas. Our fossil fuel oligarchs want that. Russia’s oligarchs don’t want to let it go. Why incinerate the world over Ukraine–and the natural gas and oil pipelines in Syria?

    Royal family can’t keep bribing the vast majority of Saudi Arabia since they crashed the price of world oil. They’re trying to distract from domestic economic issues by pounding the defenseless Shite’s in Yemen to provoke the Shites in Iran.

    Price of Wisconsin dairy is set on the world market. Iran has 90 million people. We want them buying more dairy.

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