World Refugee Day: Mondo Multicult—Courtesy Of The UN And The Bush White House

Recently, I switched on C-SPAN just
in time to catch

Laura Bush
`s diversity-infused observance of

World Refugee Day
—a creation of the United Nations,
naturally. The UN designated June 20 as the occasion

"to celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout
the world."
The world`s

displaced persons
are no longer regarded as
burdensome charity cases, you understand, but as
colorful additions to our drab

Western Civilization
—at least according to the

paid to resettle them
among us.

The UN`s

brief movie
about the day suggests that we are

surrounded by refugees
and should do more to make
them feel at home. Some of us would be more inclined to
be generous if the displaced were to remain in their
home countries, where their upkeep is also less costly.
But then professional do-gooders of the

Refugee Industry
would have to relocate away from

comfy homes
to scruffier

Third World accommodation.

Back at

UN News Centre
, the theme of 2008 festivities was
. (You can`t have a special day

human displacement
without a theme, apparently.)
There`s an image of street urchins holding their hands
like a little roof—protection, in other words. Here`s a
music video with the same theme:

Give Refugees a Hand
, with images of desperate
people alternating with Westerners making little

It reminded me of the part of Peter Pan

clap your hands to keep Tinkerbell alive
—it`s a
totally ineffective activity but it makes the
participants feel good about themselves.

In addition, refugees provide

Hollywood stars
with opportunities for do-goodery,
well-publicized of course. Public acts of

diversity charity
are practically required for the
film community
these days. It gives them a change of
pace from shopping on

Rodeo Drive

Reigning queen of Hollyweird

Angelina Jolie
, who has the official title of UNHCR
Goodwill Ambassador. One of her issues is the

six thousand unaccompanied children

deposit themselves in America each year
. She thinks
there should be lots of

pro bono
lawyers available to the kiddies to
help them through

immigration court proceedings.

Has she not considered the
possibility of

sending them home to their parents?
But the simple action of returning
children to sending parents apparently doesn`t have
enough drama for Hollywood refugee rescuers.

The imposition of Hollywood
personalities on the refugee issue makes it seem like
just another marketing campaign like Coke vs. Pepsi. But
of course no one minds, certainly not at the UN, which
has welcomed glamorous stars for years.

Laura Bush`s shindig featured
several refugees now living in America who came to bear
witness: unlike

many legal and illegal immigrants
, the event`s
refugees were vocally grateful to be here, and they love
the USA for more than

just the dollar bills.

That was the script, anyway.

The First Lady used the occasion to
enumerate the good works done for refugees by America
generally and the Bush Administration in particular

Mrs. Bush`s Remarks in Honor of World Refugee Day

United States contributes more assistance to refugee
populations than any other government. This year, we`ll
spend nearly $1.2 billion to facilitate refugee
resettlement and to provide food, shelter, and supplies
to those who fled their homes in search of safety.

pleased to announce that this morning, President Bush
approved a $32.8 million emergency funding to support
unexpected and urgent needs, including food, for
refugees and conflict victims in Africa, the Middle
East, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.

American families came to this country to escape
repressive regimes and build better futures. We honor
this legacy by welcoming more refugees annually than any
other nation.

“In the
past 30 years, the United States has accepted some 2.7
million refugees. And this year, we`ll take in as many
as 70,000 displaced men, women, and children. "

(You can watch the

whole event on C-SPAN
using RealPlayer.)

Call me ungenerous, but it`s
disturbing that this do-gooder activity is done on the
national credit card, now run up to

over $9 trillion
. I contribute to worthy causes
] only after I`ve paid my bills and stocked
the fridge.)

In addition, I`m sure there are
many genuine stories of suffering among refugees. But
it`s hard not to remember Prof Jan Ting`s estimate that

95 percent of refugee and asylum applications are

Needless to say, unpleasant facts
did not intrude upon Laura`s lovely garden party.
Furthermore, her warm hostessing was a signal that
welcoming the extremes of diversity remains a top
American duty, as well as a pathway to civic virtue,
particularly for Republicans of the

Compassionate Conservative

And if there`s one thing I`ve
learned from reading

Stuff White People Like
, it`s the importance of
virtue in modern life—or at least feeling virtuous in
terms of being a

diversity-positive individual
, and projecting that
idea by wearing

foreign clothing
, declaring

for the downtrodden, appreciating

ethnic cuisines

raising children
to be citizens of the world.

Of course, a cynic might think that
appeals to hipness and liberal generosity are a version
of fiddling while Rome burns, i.e. it`s cover for the
globo-culture agenda promoted by the Mainstream Media
and other elites, while they are busy dismantling the
nation-state and undermining individual rights.

Interestingly, this year`s Refugee
Day may have had an extra twist lurking in the
background beyond accruing diversity points. Refugees
are now seen by some businesses as a new source of cheap

For example,
colorful legal Somalis
have replaced illegal
immigrants (mostly Hispanics) on the slaughterhouse
floor in Greeley, Colorado, and beyond. In

late 2006
ICE raided

six Swift plants
across the country and arrested
1297 persons, including 262 in Greeley. Jack Shandley,
head of human resources at the Greeley plant complained,
"The raid almost brought this corporation to its knees."

Turn to Refugee Workers after Government Crackdown
Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2008].

Whatever the truth of that dire
assessment, the company moved to a different strategy.
If illegal workers must go, then exploitable Africans
known for their fine

skills might be the

next best thing.

You wouldn`t expect

meatpacker management
to return to paying citizens a
middle-class wage—like 30 years ago, when

"meatpacking was one of the highest-paid industrial jobs
in the United States"
(according to

Eric Schlosser
, the author of

Fast Food Nation

Plus, the Somalis don`t have any
idea of American workers`

century of struggle

decent wages and workplace conditions.
ignorance makes Somalis perfect workers from
management`s viewpoint. Other than their annoying

demands for special Muslim prayer breaks

Will we hear soon that
business interests
are supporting increased levels
of refugees out of generous "humanitarian"

I wouldn`t put it past them.

Brenda Walker (email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes
two websites,
. She believes undefined

is worth about as much as unspecified "change."