Interpreters: Either Left Behind or Left to Fend for Themselves in a Foreign Land

Have you ever heard of the organization, No One Left Behind (NOLB)?

Not to be confused with the seriously flawed and misunderstood No Child Left Behind Act, NOLB was formed to help Afghan and Iraqi interpreters (also known as “translators”) working for the United States gain their Special Immigration Visas, be relocated to the U.S. and setup properly so that they can actually survive in this foreign land — rather than be forced back into their home countries where they are oftentimes hunted down by the Taliban (or others) for being traitors.

What the founders of NOLB discovered was that these interpreters who risk their lives working for the United States government (and indirectly for our citizens living abroad and on U.S. soil) are promised safety and freedom from the hell they are merely existing within (which is incentive to help).

But the vast majority of times they are either left behind after our troops are pulled out (which leaves the interpreter and their family targets of the terrorists our country is fighting) or the interpreter is brought to the US only with the clothes on their back and whatever they can fit into one suitcase. They land in the U.S. and before they know it they are left with little to no resources and no backup plan.

Our country is the land of backup plans. But you have to have a fair shot at opportunity, and you must have hustle.

Please don’t confuse this post to be an attack on my beloved country, our government, or our dedicated military. This post is to highlight a human issue that has unpredictable consequences, all of which the majority of our nation is clueless about, but needs to be made aware of so we can play a role in improving the situation—standing what we’re for and not merely screaming about what we’re against. Even if you only do it for self-preservation and/or peace of mind, doing something is better than doing nothing.

If you need help wrapping your mind around all of this, let me shed some light….

Could you imagine risking your life and the lives of your family and friends to serve the government who has come to your country to fight “terrorism and injustice”. Every day you serve this foreign government, you are seen as a betrayer to those who are either in power or causing the most havoc in your country.

Would you risk everything for freedom, dignity, and a chance at a better life?

Could you imagine uprooting your family with only one suitcase each? Could you leave behind the pictures, keepsakes, family heirlooms, your car, and things you worked hard to earn and get? You’re leaving behind extended family members and friends, to have little to no contact with them once you arrive in the foreign country, because it puts them in even greater risk.

Well consider the shock of coming to the foreign land (in this case, the U.S.) just to be abandoned without a home, no money, no job, and little to no resources. Consider not having an immigration Visa that would ensure your stay and the guarantee of not being deported back to your home country.

Now consider helping this foreign government (risking everything each and every day) just to be told that you and your family can’t be rescued and relocated to the country you served, but rather must remain in your home country and face the consequences of your “traitorous act”. Maybe this other government will make an exception, but maybe not.

Right now there are interpreters waiting in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) hoping that their service to the U.S. wasn’t in vain. Hoping that they can be rescued from the hell that they are facing. They served in hopes of ensuring the safety and freedom of their people and Americans abroad and on U.S. soil. They served in hopes of a slice at the great American ‘pie’.

There are numerous interpreters living in the U.S. who are living in extreme poverty, some have been evicted from their U.S. apartments and many are left with only one option….returning to the country they fled and “betrayed”.

Why should people in the countries we enter risk life and limb (and the lives of their loved ones) to help the U.S., just to possibly end off worse than they were before our countries intervention?

Could you uproot your family and take them to another country you have never lived in, and then announce to them weeks, months, or years later that this freedom dream is about to disappear, and that unless a miracle visits your family very soon all of you will have to return to your home country? Where do you return to exactly? You can’t go back to your old home. You can’t get your old job back. You can’t relaunch your old business you were operating before you left.

Could you look into the eyes of your spouse and children and watch their hope fade out of their eyes, and watch it be replaced with a fear greater than what you saw before you fled?

Well this is what’s happening right now.

We have courageous and hopeful people living in absolute fear in their home countries praying for salvation in the way of plane tickets, immigration Visas, opportunity, and a safe home to call their own.

We have courageous and hopeful people now living in the U.S. with limited to no resources, no guidebook, and no way to navigate through a foreign (and much larger) land with foreign rules, laws, customs, and cultures.

NOLB has been working hard to help these interpreters by providing them with three months of rent, fully furnished homes, job placement, and cars. Maybe you can volunteer or make monetary or in-kind donations to assist NOLB with helping these brave individuals with their transition from a life of fear into a life of hope.

Please remember that every war, conflict, mission (both public and secret), and intervention has innocent people and families on both sides. It’s not just our troops risking their lives. It’s not just our families fearful of the outcomes. There are everyday men, women, and children living in those countries risking their lives to help our troops –and to help us. They aren’t soldiers. They are regular people just like you and me.

Don’t they deserve more than a “thanks” and pat on the back? Or a “Welcome to the U.S., here’s a few bucks and a map, we hope you can figure out the rest on your own“. Okay it may not be that harsh, but I’m sure it feels like that to those people who gave up everything for the U.S.

Consider this…how helpful will people continue to be to and for our country if they no longer have hope that the U.S. will help them help themselves to a better life than they currently have?

Would you serve without immediate and substantial benefit to you and your family?

Would you serve if you heard that the other side of the coin may be much worse a fate than your current situation?

To learn more about what interpreters risk helping us visit this link.

To learn more about NOLB and possibly even help with their efforts, please visit.

Sources:
No One Left Behind.
http://www.nooneleft.org

Men’s Journal.
http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/collection/afghan-interpreters-struggle-to-find-a-home-in-the-u-s-20140625

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.

Some of our Leaders Seem to Have a Problem with “Brain-Mouth Disconnect Syndrome”

By Natasha L. Foreman

Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.


This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.

Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.

We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.

But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…

Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?

Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”

See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:

I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?

If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?

What are your thoughts?

Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo

And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>The Real Question Concerning Ethiopia

>Today I read an article by Alemayehu G. Mariam who discussed democracy in Ethiopia and whether Ethiopians truly want a democratic society, know what that means to them and their future, and whether the western world is proactive in enforcing human rights while building dignity- or if it is all lip service. I have included excerpts from Mariam’s article below. I only have one word to describe it…DEEP!

Mariam wrote, “I am advised to accept the fact that US human rights rhetoric is primarily intended for international media consumption and to give moral support to the few human rights-minded Ethiopian elites while avoiding the scathing criticisms of the international human rights community for US inaction and hypocrisy. ‘That is realpolitik for you,’ said one of my erudite colleagues jokingly. ‘The US would rather blather about human rights violations to the African masses in the morning only to sit down for a seven-course meal with Africa’s murderers and butchers in the afternoon.'”

“…American policy makers should not be dismissive of ordinary Ethiopians. They should not misinterpret their silence for consent to be brutalised by dictatorship, ” wrote Mariam.

“…It has been argued and anonymously reported in the media that ‘Western diplomats’ in Addis Ababa believe that forceful US action on human rights could create ‘instability’ in the country….But the whole US ‘stability’ subterfuge to do nothing, absolutely nothing, about gross human rights violations in Ethiopia is eerily reminiscent of a shameful period in American history. The principal argument against the abolition of slavery in the US, the ultimate denial of human rights, was ‘stability.'”
                                                                             
Mariam’s correlation between what is and has been taking place in Ethiopia compared to the period of slavery (and post-Civil War) is poignant. 

So what are your thoughts? Read the entire article yourself and let me know.   http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/66294

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman

Source: 
Do Ethiopians really need human rights?
Steel vices, clenched fists and closing walls (Part II)
Alemayehu G. Mariam
2010-07-29, Issue 492
http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/66294

>Haiti Recovery Conference Set for March 31, 2010

>The International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti is scheduled for March 31, 2010 in New York at the UN Headquarters. The conference is being hosted by the government of Haiti, the United States and the United Nations. The focus of the conference is on long-term recovery and reconstruction needs of Haiti, and to provide an opportunity for other nations and international entities who have not already done so to pledge their financial support.

The conference will be co-chaired by Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, and the European Union- all of which are major donors to Haiti’s recovery efforts. The conference will be webcast live with select sessions opened to other media.

For more details visit the U.S. Department of State, U.N. Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti, or the Embassy of Haiti- Washington D.C.