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A Reader Comments On Volga Germans And Somalis
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July 29, 2008, 05:00 AM
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07/28/08 - A Reader Points Out The Disgusting Reason Vegetables Exported By Mexico May Be Unsafe

Re: Patrick Cleburne`s blog Goofy in Greeley

A Reader In Minnesota writes [Email]

Forgive me if dozens of readers have already pointed this out, but the "Russian Germans" referred to in the article in your Greeley post were just that—Germans from Russia, a.k.a. Volga Germans. (They were definitely not Jews.) While their numbers are indeed small compared to Poles and Italians, that was not true in every locality. Evidently in Greeley they were a major force once.

They`ve been counted separately from other Germans in North Dakota, and are the dominant ethnic group in several counties.

So the article`s reference to "German-Russians" was entirely appropriate, just not comprehensible too far beyond Greeley.

In fact, there may be one valid parallel with today`s Somalis, as well as other immigrant groups—they spent several generations in Russia and the Ukraine without losing their German language, religion and identity.

One thing I couldn`t glean from the original article is whether Greeley`s were genuine Somalis or the oxymoronic "Somali Bantu", or Mushungulu. The latter are the ones who`ve never seen door handles, while the former, whatever their faults, are quite high-tech now and are constantly texting their relatives in the great Somali diaspora around the world. A number of my co-workers and neighbors are Somalis who keep in contact with families in Canada, wives in Kenya, cousins in Finland, classmates in Italy and the like. The only place they don`t seem to have contact with is Somalia itself!