The weeks heading into the holiday season have been busy for TLP!
TLP kicked off November by participating in ‘The Continuing Needs of Iraq’s Displaced: Ideas for the Next US Administration’, an event at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Bringing an Iraqi voice to the panel, TLP colleague Ehab shared his personal experiences and insights on the complexity of the issues surrounding the Iraqi refugee crisis. Held the day after the election, the event focused on what the future of the 4.7 million displaced Iraqis might be when President-Elect Obama takes office in 2009. Ehab also participated in an Intersections event focusing on ‘Iraqi Voices’. Please click here to listen to audio from the Intersections event.
National news on Iraqi translators heated up in the month of November. A Washington Post article announced that the U.S. military banned Iraqi interpreters working with American troops from wearing the masks that have concealed and protected them. The U.S. military argues, in the Post’s article, that professional Armies don’t conceal their identities and that those Iraqis who don’t agree with the new policy can find another job. The outrage following this ban has increased attention surrounding the plight of Iraqi translators. For the first time, The Daily Show did a clip on the issue by focusing on the Defense Department’s ban. Further, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) wrote a letter, along with twelve members of the House, to the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Wyden’s letter, the result of a rapidly executed collaborative effort, calls for a prompt reversal of the Army policy.
News on the home front…as the number of communities assisting recently resettled Iraqis increases, questions surrounding the issues facing Iraqi refugees in the U.S. have been raised. The List Project focused on these questions during ‘Sponsorship Week’ in October (audio from the call available here) and the IRC organized a conference call (transcript and audio available here) surround the issues in November. The intensified interest coming from American citizens is inspiring as the U.S. looks to resettle at least 17,000 Iraqis in FY 2009. Please start or join a group on Netroots today.
While we are on the topic of inspiring Americans…it is time for our Netroots Star. The November Star is…the List Project Kids! The List Project Kids began by sending about a dozen packages a month, now Sky and his helpers are sending packages to over 100 children a month. The List Project Kids has also been the only group to have over 100 members! In a recent blog post, Sky reminds TLP how important it is to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’; we urge you to read his post and get involved as the holidays are upon us. Sky reminds us, don’t only “Think Big…Do Big!”