Sunday, January 29, 2017

Immigration in Kentucky -- a response -- plus a birthday

post #321
To all my readers outside of the USA -- while I work on the putting the rest of my post together today, I am sharing the words I read yesterday about the current chaos in the USA.       
       First, I am so sorry this immigration crisis has occurred. This is not what most Americans believe could happen and not what we want to happen. Secondly, one of the two senators from my state of Kentucky occupies the most powerful position in the United States Senate. He is a Republican, and therefore in the same party as our new president whose alarming behavior has caused this senseless situation.
        The essay I share today was in the Louisville newspaper, The Courier-Journal. It is in the form of a letter addressed to this senator, Sen. Mitch McConnell. I think the letter is so well written and so on target. Thank you, Fedja Buric. (I had to "cut and paste" the article in order to be able share it here.)
         The rest of my post today now appears later in this post. I promised some photos.

Dear Sen. McConnell -- In 1992, when I was 13 years old, democratically elected nationalist leaders blew up my life.  The country I had known, Yugoslavia, was torn to shreds in a brutal ethnic conflict none of us had either expected or wanted.
          In less than two years, these leaders would proceed to murder over 100,000 people and displace over 2 million more.
         With two suitcases in hand, my parents, my brother and I left behind the life we had known for something that no longer even resembled a life.
         We roamed the Balkans searching for a haven. We slept in an out-of-service train car. The train car was near a major battlefield so the UNHCR relocated us to Turkey. In Turkey, we lived in a refugee camp. We shared a couple of bathrooms with over three thousand other unfortunate Bosnians.
We wrote over thirty letters, begging for asylum: New Zealand, Australia, France, Switzerland, UNHCR, among others. They all said no. Only one country said yes — the United States of America.
         In June 1995, we came to Kentucky. We came bewildered by what had happened to us.  But, a few weeks after our arrival, our depression began to lift.  It wasn’t hard to figure out what was happening to us—we were being shaken out of our stupor by the decency, generosity, and hospitality of the people of the Commonwealth.
        From a parent of a high school friend who offered to co-sign our first car loan, to my ESL teacher who listened to my sappy war stories and encouraged me to write about them, to your own office in Louisville, where your aides expedited my father’s travel papers so he could visit his ailing mother in France, the people of the Commonwealth moved us to tears with their generosity.
        Not once, did my foreign heritage, or my refugee status, hinder me in Kentucky.  On the contrary, Kentuckians from all walks of life, and of all generations, urged me to keep telling my story.  I did.  And as a result, I became a historian.  And a proud American.
        I am writing this open letter to you because I am dismayed, angry, and despairing over the direction our country is taking under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
        But even more so, I have been utterly demoralized by your silence in the face of the ugliness coming from the White House.
       When candidate Trump berated Muslims, you remained silent.
       When he promised to ban them from entering our country, you remained silent.
       When President Trump is putting these words of hate into executive action, you remain silent.      Yet again.
       Dear Senator, as a leader of one of our most cherished institutions, the Senate, you have a constitutional, but more importantly, a moral, obligation to speak up.
        It is up to you to stand up to President Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia and block the parts of his agenda that reflect the ugly echoes of the past.
        Senator McConnell, you are well aware that this not a partisan issue.  This is about our democratic institutions, common human decency, and the respect that the United States of America has earned around the world by embracing those unfortunate, desperate, hungry, and poor.
        I plead with you, sir, to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln and reach out for those better angels of your nature.

Fedja Buric is an assistant professor of history at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY.

       Now for some photos!
       I was in Colorado last weekend with my son's family, to help out. I didn't have my good camera with me so I used my iPhone 6s. I also didn't have time to get out in the wilderness there, but I did capture some snow near Denver in the mountains where we were on Saturday. Then there are some birthday photos -- thanks to my now 6 year old grandson.

good early morning!!

driving over the pass on the way back to Denver

looking out the side window of the car

note: I wasn't the one driving..... 
back home, ice cream cake, per Will's request, and more grandparents

The Kentucky Wildcats shirt was a birthday present I was lucky to find and bring with me....

And of course there was a birthday event at school as well:

Will with one of his teachers and his sister, Audrey

Audrey built this in school, and I was fascinated by its possibilities. First I made this photo by putting it on my lap, and I was wearing a black coat.... Then I wondered if it was a model for a flow chart for use in the current Oval Office. Surely there is some other explanation for what's coming out of there besides meanness and short-sightedness. 


  1. Ann, love especially the first two photos. And I think every one should have such a birthday celebration no matter the age. He loos happy!

  2. You must feel completely translated to go from KY to such a place and back again. The snow looks amazing. As do the birthday photos.

  3. Thank you Melva and Steve! I always have some reserve about sharing family photos, so I appreciate hearing that they may have some resonance beyond the purely personal. And while Colorado is spectacular, what I miss there is the richness of our Appalachian forests with all their variety and vitality.