Comments

1
Thank you Charles. This is something that really needs to be said. Don't you love living in a 'post racial society'?
2
Look, I know anything "western" is by definition evil (exploitative, oppressive and snobby about it), but in all fairness: one is a local issue which actually intrudes upon the daily life of a majority here, while the other is a problem in a far off place for (mostly) people in that far off place. Moreover, the problems of Somalia (as you well know) well-predate Shrub's idiotic WoT. They are rooted in the post-colonial Kleptocracy of Barre, and the ongong tribalism of the Civil War. To the extent "foreign powers" are responsible, it's the Ethiopians and Libyans who were to blame. Why is this suddenly particularly the White Man's Burden of the US?

Are you arguing for the US (western colonialism !!1111!!11!1) to go back in and "do something" (!!1111!!11!1 again)?

Or does the ability to send remittances mean the Somali ex-pat community here in the US is more likely to go back and introduce "good governance"? Doesn't look like the tiny numbers who are returning are going to set up "good governance" (unless you're advocating for Al Shabab as good governance...I realize some people do prefer it to the Libertarian Paradise they currently inhabit).

Or does keeping the Somali population afloat on the remittances make it worth the funding stream we send for ongoing strife? That worked out soooo well in Northern Ireland.

Which friendly "moderate" opposition do you think we should back/install as a puppet? 'cause that's really working out well in the former Iraq and Syria.

No doubt being born in and forced to live in Somalia sucks, and innocent suffer (as ever), but allowing fundraising here under the cover/guise of humanitarian remittances is of dubious help. This is not Shrub's GWOT idiocy.
3
I imagine that when Somalia finds the US's interests (Islamic extremism, terrorism, piracy) compelling the U.S. will find its interstests (access to US banking systems) compelling. We've tried effecting change in the region from the top down through diplomatic channels and through military strength. Maybe this will effect change from the bottom up by making it a bread and butter issue for the Somali people.

Somalia needs to align its self with US interests if it expects the US to align its self with Somali interests.
4
This isn't about "effecting change" or "aligning interests" in Somalia, it's about people right here in America who can't send money to their families because of a stupid policy that unthinkingly hurts people who have different traditions than the old white men who run our government. THAT'S the disalignment. The Somalis are here; they were invited. They are us now. What "they" want is what WE want, and it's the US government that is out of sync with its population, not the other way around.

Despite the truly astonishing access that government spooks have access to -- literally every phone call, every email, every bank record, etc., they STILL can't find any real evidence that this money is being used for terrorism. They've convicted ONE GUY on trumped-up charges that are founded on more bullshit, because it doesn't matter how many phone calls you listen to if you don't understand what the hell is going on.
6
@3 - there is no "Somalia" in any real sense...there is a contested area of contiguous geography with that label - "Somalia" - on a map. The only reason the Ethiopians want anything to do with it is to try to tamp down how much trouble comes to them across the border - either in the form of Al Shabab or economic refugees. The regular people - the innocents - are pretty well screwed there.

However, as Charles has noted before: all that Western Colonialist Paternalism does (aside from delivering services and making trains run on time better than their successor tribalist keptocrats who learned corruption well from their colonaial masters) is retard the development or oragnic, bottom up political identity and structure (ie, what hopefully, ultimately, leads to nationality - your "Somalia"). You're really asking (demanding) that a fish learn to read and do math problems on the chalkboard for you...with it's fin to hold the chalk.

Of course, when we have to !!!1111!!11!DOSOMETHING!!!!111!11HUMANITARIANCRISIS!!1111! and measure with the moral certitude of anti-colonialism, suddenly the moral opprobrium of delivering services and making trains run on time is...complicated, isn't it?

As a practical matter, when in doubt, do nothing, first do no harm. That means cutting off remittances. I'm happy for the Somalis who've made it here and happy to have them here...they certainly don't have the market on smartphone theft cornered. The Irish in the US far outnumber the Irish in Ireland, and I believe we are better for it.
7
@4
Our government is actually run by young black people (particularly in reference to national security issues).... Obama, Holder & Rice.
8
@4 - One of the few effective things our security state goons have done is to constrain flows of money. I think you vastly overestimate the size of the "we" that Somali immigrants represent, and foreign policy questions like remittances are not bill-of-rights civil liberties.
9
Unless I'm mistaken, Seattle politicians do not control the federal government's policies on remittances. Nor do the people in Seattle control it. Am I mistaken? Are you actually writing to the people in power? Or are you attempting to do the old switcharoo where Somali immigrant crime isn't a problem, but the real crime is how Seattleites are treating them by restricting remittances.

And when were remittances a human right? I don't see it listed in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. What evidence is there that remittances are necessary and don't support terrorist organizations? It wasn't that long ago that the equivalent of the Taliban was in control of Somalia. And the US government has stated that remittances were a major funding source for Al-Shabaab. Cutting off their funding sources impacts families sending genuine remittances, true, but allowing the option allows others to fund those who commit terrible crimes.

Being an immigrant in the US is not a license to guilt trip the government into opening banking regulations that could contribute to funding terrorist organizations just because you want to send money 'home'.
10
@9
Totally, man. Why don't these losers just go back to where they came from if they don't like it here.?
11
The article can stand by itself Charles without color adjectives.
12
the stranger's "progressive" (read "white entitled") readership is incensed when when their privilege is questioned. they devolve to "love it or leave it" when it comes to compassion for anyone other than of their own skin tone.
i truly wish the stranger would get off it's statist, reformist, milquetoast liberal ass, cut ties with its corporate masters, and agitate for real change.
nearly forgotten ferguson drew attention solely by means of radical direct action.
13
@4
"Despite the truly astonishing access that government spooks have access to -- literally every phone call, every email, every bank record, etc., they STILL can't find any real evidence that this money is being used for terrorism."


Not really true. First: A secret intelligence apparatus doesn't have to produce evidence. Congress does. And they have - by referring to studies they commissioned.

There have been numerous public studies that have already found this connection in general, though not specifically from this community of Somalis.

It's not as if there is no precedent for this paranoia. Does nobody remember the billions is Irish American remittances that went directly to funding the IRA?

Anyway. Here is one such study that does in fact produce a link. Though not the smoking gun of evidence one would hope for.

Remittances and terrorism: A global analysis
by Raechelle Mascarenhas & Todd Sandlerb

FI: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1…

Conclusion: "This paper establishes a strong linkage between remittances and funding for terrorist attacks by estimating a significant positive relationship between lagged Remittance/GDP and various measures of terrorist attacks, while accounting for the standard controls for these attacks..."
14
Good Morning Charles,
I read your post and all the Sloggers' responses. I disagree with your post as well. First of all, it would be effective if you could mention that Obama not just Bush is prosecuting the War on Terror as well (no, I don't believe Bush started the WOT). Terror happens. There are responses including waging 'war' on it.

Look, the Somalis like the Irish et al are most welcome here. But, Somalia unlike Ireland is a broken country. And there is evidence to suggest that remittances are funding some Terror networks (for the record, I was against NORAID (N. Ireland) funding as well back in the day.)

It is conundrum regarding remittances. But, Somalia what's left of it is a humanitarian disaster already. I think AFinch & delirian have very valid points. I don't think "white Seattle" needs waking up. I think the entire planet does. I believe remittances will only help a few Somalis. The country itself needs a major overhaul.
15
@12: Exactly how would The Stranger cutting itself off from Index Newspapers LLC would continue to publish, pay its staff, and meet its bills, as to satisfy the agenda you think it should have?
16
Four different friends of mine were attacked and robbed by Somalians in Seattle within a 6 month period. Were they gang members, I do not know. I have not seen a single Somalian calling out their fellow Somalians for the rash of crime they commit. I don't care where criminals are from or what color they are. They are criminals and should be prosecuted to the full extend of the law.

I am a person of color. I am a woman.

I also believe people should be able to send money to Somalia. I think the US government needs to change its policy immediately.
17
A few crimes? What a lie. If these were Russian immigrants acted exactly the same way in predominantly black neighborhoods the narrative would be very, very different. Look at the reaction of the Somalian community and black activists that anyone dare even object to these barbaric civil rights injustices, some of which almost killed people. If the races were reverse it would only have to happen once for it to be deemed a racially motivated hate crime but it was happening 3 times a day. After this epidemic of hate crimes and open contempt and racism shown by Somalians and black activists to the communities who were targeted you are shocked those same people aren't running to your aid to fight your battles for you? You are delusional.
18
Charles flippantly dismisses the pain and injustice blacks cause to others then can't figure out why those people are indifferent when blacks want advocacy for their pain and alleged injustice. I love how Charles tries to shame Seattle. Give it a rest. Take a good hard look at your own hypocrisies for a while. Guilting whites is a full time job for you. Give it a rest.
19
12: "the stranger's "progressive" (read "white entitled") readership is incensed when when their privilege is questioned."
Charles took whites to task for daring to demand police arrest the African gangs who were shooting, mob assaulting, threatening, mugging and robbing the Capitol Hill community epidemically but then this same community does nothing to help the Somalia community when they have some grievance. This is neither white privilege or hypocrisy. It is common sense to not spend your valuable time and effort helping people who treat you like shit. That is not a privilege it is a right.
20
12: and yes, I am entitled to object to being attacked or robbed. I am also entitled to not advocate for the community these people came from. A community that gets an enormous disproportionate amount of subsidized housing and social services and did nothing but express outrage that anyone should object to people in their community going into other neighborhoods and violating their civil rights.
21
Why did you change the headline?
22
white-seattle-wakes-up-when-a-few-crimes-are-attributed-to-a-gang-of-somalis-but-stays-fast-asleep-when-thousands-of-desperately-poor-somalis
23
@21, it was too long.
24
@23,

You changed a 20-count headline to a 19-count headline to save space?

LOL, RIGHT.
25
"As for Seattle, it seems much of its white population can only feel something powerful when it's reported that African-sounding people are stealing their iPhones."
Correction: "As for Seattle, it seems much of its black population can only feel something powerful when it's calling people racist for objecting to African people committing racially motivated acts of violence that blacks would never accept for themselves if the roles were reverse. "
The crimes go far past stealing I-pods and are not just a few. Other crimes include pointing guns at people, shooting them, knocking them out, threatening them, and much much more.
Yes Charles, openly being an apologist for hate crimes when the perps are black and using your power in the media to distort facts out of racial solidarity with the perps and racial animosity towards whites. Then slur whites as racist after openly demonizing them for objecting to be victimized and you are stunned they don't have any interest in advocating for you. I would be stunned if they did.
26
A few crimes attributed to Somalis? I love the passive language! The correct word would be committed. And when we are talking about a few how many do you really mean? The lesson is the Somali community should have worked harder to build positive relations with the rest of this city. Their reaction to Somali's coming to Capitol Hill with the intent of victimizing our community was racist, entitled and abusive. No one owes them support. How much support did they show those attacked by the thugs in their community? None. Maybe you should get a clue too Charles and stop being racist on one hand and complaining about it on the other.
27
Wow.
28
Where are the crimes being committed by Somali immigrants on Capital Hill? The only Somalis I ever see there are backpack wearing Somali students milling about Seattle central community college. Come to think of it the only crime I have ever witnessed on the Hill were both committed by White men; one drunk pissing on the sidewalk uncaring about whose feet he hit and one aggressive pandhandler who grabbed a woman's purse. It is a bit interesting that in 2015 it takes the internet to show that Whites are all the same be in the boonies of Tennessee or on the Hill in Seattle. It is development for sure, but one that can lead to people being disarmed about the fact things haven't really changed. At least such vitriol will continue to become more unempowered as this country evolves even more demographically.

29
Hayden, you seem like you have a chip on your shoulder the size of Jupiter. You penned multiple responses with the same regurgitated nonsense full of classic 19th century bigotry.

Turn off the monitor and go take a breather before you split your spleen.
30
I am really very amazed how some folks are so ignorant about issues. Someone mentioned that the U.S government tried its best to pacify Somali - absolutely not true. The U.S is the leading destabilizing country in Somali, don't take my word for it, do some research. Another one said Ethiopia is there to make sure that the problems don't spill over into its border - no true, read Somali-Ethiopia history since 1900. And finally, Somalis are black and Muslim so i could understand where many whites who never been to beyond Yakima would view this peaceful community. If i learn anything from some of the above comment is that, Racism is well and alive in America
31
@30 - I also noted that previous Ethiopian governments - both before and after Italian occupation - had meddled considerably. Their current involvement has much less to do with territorial ambitions than keeping Al Shabaab out.
32
While it seems Seattle politicians are not working on this problem, Stranger readers seem very concerned, see this quote from the article you link to, "My recent post on the discontinuation of Somali remittances, and the very devastating effects this change is likely to have on Somalia and East Africa as a whole, drew a strong response from the greater Seattle community". I hope that this concern will translate into action on the part of our politicians.

Meanwhile, there is something Charles can do -- to keep on this issue, to provide very specific links to show people the way they can help out and make their voices known. I encourage him as a reporter to question public officials about this, I also encourage him to do a follow up feature story. Tell us more about Somalia, the people there, who is being helped by money transfers - that may dispel misinformation, eg as per these comments. According to Oxfam,a huge proportion of beneficiaries are women. Stay on this, please - ask your contacts in the Somali community for stories. Tell us about the people being helped - some human stories will also help mobilize the wider community. We need to know more.

Here are some more links I found for readers that may be helpful to understand the issue:

http://www.theguardian.com/global-develo…
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015…
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/rese…

33
I think @12 mistakes Slog's conservative douchebag contingent for it's "entitled white progressive" contingent. probably because he belongs to the former.

there is nothing the average "entitled white progressive" can do to resolve this matter. it's entirely in the hands of the federal government, which, last time I checked in, is being steered by the intransigence of the GOP flat-earth fucknuts in Congress.
34
Do they want us to embrace them and praise them for being here? They have to fit in and do as we all do and work 5 days a week. They came here on their own expecting a dream life, wouldn't it be nice if we all had that dream. It's not easy to live in Seattle without a good job and a decent place to live. I hate to say this but if they are not happy here then go home.
35
Still trying to figure out what Seattle officials are expected to do about this issue. Some additional guidance from the author would be helpful, as one of the other commenters provided. In my opinion, removing a major source of aid to a country in need of stabilization requires some form of balance. Otherwise, we risk angering the Somalian public and forcing a few to turn to the terrorist organizations we're so afraid of for some form of governing structure. According to Reuters, as much as $1.3 billion is sent to Somalia in the form of remittances, more money than Somalia gets in foreign aid (http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKB…). But, it's still valid that the U.S. government would want a greater degree of oversight for such a large sum. What we should be doing, is making up for the loss that a great number of Somalian civilians will be experiencing from the sharp decline in remittances, by increasing foreign aid to humanitarian organizations that can provide traceable aid for basic rights, like food and water. Yes, this is essentially stealing from our Somalian citizens for having been born in a country we're afraid of. It's not something our government should feel good about doing, and we shouldn't feel good for allowing it. Unfortunately, for Somalia, this seems to be one of many deeply problematic international situations that all deserve attention. The American public is just too bloated with media consumption and bogged down by partisan bickering to care for long about the problems in our own country, let alone something happening thousands of miles away.
36
Bitcoin might be a solution.

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