Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A faraway country of which we know nothing

So Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness luvs the job that the US Special Representative for Northern Ireland, Paula Dobriansky, is doing --

"The energy and drive that Paula has brought to her position is quite exciting and very convincing. It's not an act. She's really determined to do something," Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told me. [Irish Times reporter, subs. req'd]

It's a shame that Martin is not reading more widely because Dobriansky is one of the drivers of a key American policy towards Iraq: one which denies the existence of refugees from that conflict in the conventionally understood sense of people who are not going to be able to return home for a long, long time. Instead the US maintains the fiction that even the millions of Iraqis abroad are merely "displaced" and can return home just as soon as that Surge succeeds, which could be any month now. Or as she says herself --

“We are committed to working with the Iraqi government to create a stable and secure environment that enables Iraqis to repatriate voluntarily to their homeland.”

The only resettlement need that Dobriansky has acknowledged is for Iraqi translators working with the US military, which amounts to a few hundred visas. This contrasts with the tens of thousands of Iraqis already resettled by Scandinavian countries.

Since American government assistance to NI is no longer essential, and in current form is coming from the lamest of lame duck administrations anyway, how about if Paula was just told to spend more time working on a real humanitarian crisis and less time on love-ins with Irish politicians and businessmen?

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