Refugees

How the entire nation of Nauru almost moved to Queensland

Nauru Phosphate

From The Conversation, online publication

By Jane McAdam

“Nauru is best known to most Australians as the remote Pacific island where asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent. What is less well known is that in the 1960s, the Australian government planned to relocate the entire population of Nauru to an island off the Queensland coast.

The irony of this is striking, especially in light of continuing revelations that highlight the non-suitability of Nauru as a host country for refugees. It also provides a cautionary tale for those considering wholesale population relocation as a “solution” for Pacific island communities threatened by the impacts of climate change…”

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How do we deal with the coming waves of climate change refugees?

Cyclones Australia.NASA

From The Conversation, online publication

By Jane McAdam

“On average, one person is displaced each second by a disaster-related hazard. In global terms, that’s about 26 million people a year.

Most move within their own countries, but some are forced across international borders. As climate change continues, more frequent and extreme weather events are expected to put more people in harm’s way.

In the Pacific region alone, this year’s Cyclone Winston was the strongest ever to hit Fiji, destroying whole villages. Last year, Cyclone Pam displaced thousands of people in Vanuatu and Tuvalu – more than 70% of Vanuatu’s population were left seeking shelter in the storm’s immediate aftermath.

However, future human catastrophes are not inevitable. The action – or inaction – of governments today will determine whether we see even greater suffering, or whether people movements can be effectively managed…”

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A Unique Culinary Blend– Only in America

In 2006, following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, New Orleans was a ghost town. In the 9th Ward, houses stood empty as the families who had lived in them for generations fled, were rescued from, or were lost in the surge of water as it breached the levees.

Following the 1975 Fall of Saigon, thousands of Vietnamese refugees settled throughout the United States. Here in the Pacific Northwest it was a tough process to find homes. In New Orleans; the story was no different. In the Parish of Versailles, the Vietnamese took to fishing, shrimping and other industries in the region. The communities they built up relied heavily on community cohesion and creating systems of support.

Following the Hurricanes, Versailles, also affected by the storm surge that hit the 9th Ward, looked considerably different. As the news reports warned of a coming catastrophe, the community stayed put and protected each other rather than evacuate.

On a torridly humid, sweaty March afternoon, a group of African American leaders sat down, most for the first time, in the backyard of their Vietnamese American neighbors and shared in the most aromatic meal that combined Vietnamese spicing with traditional and famous dishes made famous by the legends of New Orleans cuisine. On the table was:

A pot of Gumbo ‘liquor’: This is the excess liquid from the actual gumbo pot that is rich with the flavors of crawfish, shrimp, cayenne peppers and file’.

A Shrimp boil: Infused with anise, black pepper, Zatarain’s seafood seasoning, garlic, potatoes and corn and dumped onto the table atop newspaper.

Bunh: Cold rice noodles topped with crawfish, cilantro, pickled radish and peanuts.

For everyone at the table it was everything they knew, and a world of things they had never considered. The afternoon was spent sharing their experiences in trying to rebuild, sharing skills and knowledge about how to do it.

Food is often the first way to try and connect students to other cultures. How likely are they to connect food to the richness of their own culture?

Here is the story of Anh Luu, a chef who has taken this melding of flavors and created her own take on the cuisine.

Questions we can ask of our students:

  • How do we expect to see Americans of different ethnic backgrounds adopt or incorporate aspects of an “Americanized” lifestyle?
  • What styles of cuisine are combined in Anh’s cooking?
  • How does Anh describe herself; her identity; connection with family?
  • What is the importance of hearing Anh describe her own experience?