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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dumbass losers harass LEGAL immigrants while hiring illegals to clean their homes and pick their fruit.

The Providence Journal: Refugees find hostility and hope on Georgia soccer field
Clarkston, GA — Early last summer the mayor of this small town east of Atlanta issued a decree: no more soccer in the town park.

“There will be nothing but baseball and football down there as long as I am mayor,” Lee Swaney, a retired owner of a heating and air-conditioning business, told the local paper. “Those fields weren’t made for soccer.”

In Clarkston, soccer means something different than in most places. As many as half the residents are refugees from war-torn countries around the world. Placed by resettlement agencies in a once mostly white town, they receive 90 days of assistance from the government and then are left to fend for themselves. Soccer is their game.

But to many longtime residents, soccer is a sign of unwanted change, as unfamiliar and threatening as the hijabs worn by the Muslim women in town. It’s not football. It’s not baseball. The fields weren’t made for it. Swaney even has a name for the sort of folks who play the game: the soccer people.

Caught in the middle is a boys soccer program called the Fugees — short for refugees, though most opponents guess the name refers to the hip-hop band.

The Fugees are indeed all refugees, from the most troubled corners of the world — Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Some have endured unimaginable hardship to get here: squalor in refugee camps, separation from siblings and parents. One saw his father killed in their home.

The Fugees, boys 9 to 17, play on three teams divided by age. Their story is about children with miserable pasts trying to make good with strangers in a very different and sometimes hostile place. But it is also a story about the challenges facing resettled refugees in this country. More than 900,000 have been admitted to the United States since 1993, and their presence seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.

The Fugees’ coach exemplifies the best. A woman volunteering in a league where all the other coaches are men, some of them paid former professionals from Europe, she spends as much time helping her players’ families make new lives here as coaching soccer.

At the other extreme are some town residents, opposing players and even the parents of those players, at their worst hurling racial epithets and making it clear they resent the mostly African team. In a region where passions run high on the subject of illegal immigration, many are unaware or unconcerned that, as refugees, the Fugees are here legally.

“There are no gray areas with the Fugees,” said the coach, Luma Mufleh. “They trigger people’s reactions on class, on race. They speak with accents and don’t seem American. A lot of people get shaken up by that.”

Until the refugees began arriving, the mayor likes to say, Clarkston “was just a sleepy little town by the railroad tracks.”
Since then, this town has become one of the most diverse communities in America.

Clarkston High School now has students from more than 50 countries. The local mosque draws more than 800 to Friday prayers. There is a Hindu temple, and there are congregations of Vietnamese, Sudanese and Liberian Christians.

At the shopping center, American stores have been displaced by Vietnamese, Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants and a halal butcher that prepares meat according to Muslim dietary laws.
The only hamburger joint in town, City Burger, is run by an Iraqi.

The transformation began in the late 1980s, when resettlement agencies, private groups that contract with the federal government, decided Clarkston was perfect for refugees to begin new lives. The town had an abundance of inexpensive apartments, vacated by middle-class whites who left for more affluent suburbs. And it was within commuting distance of downtown Atlanta’s booming economy.

At first the refugees — most from Southeast Asia — arrived so slowly that residents barely noticed. But as word got out about Clarkston’s suitability, more agencies began placing refugees here. From 1996 to 2001, more than 19,000 refugees from around the world resettled in Georgia, many in Clarkston and surrounding DeKalb County, to the dismay of many longtime residents.

Many of those residents simply left. Others stayed but remained resentful, keeping score of the ways they thought the refugees were altering their lives. There were events that reinforced fears that Clarkston was becoming unsafe: a mentally ill Sudanese boy beheaded his 5-year-old cousin in their Clarkston apartment; a fire in a crowded apartment in town claimed the lives of four Liberian refugee children.

At a town meeting in 2003 meant to foster understanding between the refugees and residents, the first question, submitted on an index card, was, “What can we do to keep the refugees from coming to Clarkston?”

Mufleh, 31, says she was born to coach. She grew up in Amman, Jordan, in a Westernized family, and attended the American Community School, for American and European expatriates and a few well-to-do Jordanians. There, Muslim girls were free to play sports as boys did, and women were permitted to coach.

Mufleh attended college in the United States, in part because she felt women here had more opportunities. She went to Smith College, and after graduation she moved to Atlanta. She soon found her first coaching job, as head of a 12-and-under girls soccer team through the local YMCA.

When Mufleh learned about the growing refugee community in Clarkston, she floated the idea of starting a soccer program. The YMCA offered to back her with uniforms and equipment. So in the summer of 2004, Mufleh made fliers in Arabic, English, French and Vietnamese announcing tryouts and distributed them around apartment complexes where the refugees lived.

Mufleh has a list of complaints about the Fugees’ practice field: little grass, no goals. Neighborhood children regularly wander through the scrimmages, disrupting play.

But after a gang shooting in an apartment complex behind the field in late September, she concluded that the field was not safe. She canceled practice for two days. Fed up, she stormed into Swaney’s office, demanding that the mayor permit them to use the empty field in Milam Park.

Swaney does not relish his reputation as the mayor who banned soccer. But he must please constituents who complain that refugees are overrunning the town’s parks and community center — people such as Emanuel Ransom, a black man who moved to Clarkston in the late 1960s.

“A lot of our Clarkston residents are being left out totally,” Ransom says. “Nobody wants to help,” he says of the refugees. “It’s just, ‘Give me, give me, give me.’ ”

Swaney encouraged Mufleh to make her case at a City Council meeting. So in early October, she addressed a packed room at City Hall, explaining the team’s origins and purpose, and promised to pick up trash in the park after practice.

Swaney admitted concerns about “grown soccer people” who might tear up the field. But these are children, he said, and “kids are our future.”

He announced his support of a six-month trial for the Fugees’ use of the field in Milam Park.

The proposal passed unanimously. At least for six months, the Fugees could play on grass.

On Dec. 26, Mufleh received a fax on Town of Clarkston letterhead.

Effective immediately, the fax informed her, the Fugees soccer team was no longer welcome to play at Milam Park. The city was handing the field to a youth sports coordinator who planned to run a youth baseball and football program.

Questioned by a reporter, Swaney said he had forgotten that in October the City Council gave the Fugees six months. A few days later, he told Mufleh that the team could stay through March.

Earlier this month, Mufleh logged on to Google Earth, and scanned satellite images of Clarkston. There are green patches on the campuses of Georgia Perimeter College, and at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, around the corner from City Hall. She hopes to find the Fugees a permanent home, perhaps in one of these places.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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