“Phil Kitchin, pastor of a church that caters to the refugee community, put it this way: “Jesus said heaven is a place for people of all nations. So if you don’t like Clarkston, you won’t like heaven.” As the Christian players said after their pre-game prayer, “Amen.” And as the Muslims added, “Amin.” Cue the credits.
Tanya Tucker Lee:
When I die I might not go to heaven, I’m not sure that they let White people in. If they don’t, just let me go to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boy! The Blue Ridge is as close as I ‘ve been.
God save part of the South for White people.
Field of Dreams
Review by Steven V. Roberts Sunday, April 19, 2009
OUTCASTS UNITED A Refugee Soccer Team, an American Town By Warren St. John Spiegel & Grau. 307 pp. $24.95
You can read this book or wait for the movie, but the book is worth the effort. This story is too textured, too filled with layers of light and dark, for Hollywood to capture its complexity.
In January of 2007, New York Times reporter Warren St. John wrote about the Fugees, a team of soccer-playing misfits from a dozen war-ravaged countries transplanted to the small Georgia town of Clarkston. The article prompted a huge response — tons of donated cash and equipment, plus a book contract for St. John and a movie deal that financed a team bus and a new school, the Fugees Academy.
The film will undoubtedly portray the Fugees’ extraordinary coach, Luma Mufleh, a native of Jordan, as a tough-but-tender soul who forges an adorable group of multi-colored young athletes into a cohesive unit and teaches them the Meaning of Life and the Joys of Diversity. And it’s all true. Watch for the scene when two players say pre-game prayers in their own languages (the Christian speaks Swahili, the Muslim Albanian).
But the book also conveys the larger context in which these kids play games and say prayers. Clarkston became a dumping group for relief agencies looking to relocate refugees from Burundi and Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. There was good public transportation and plenty of affordable housing, but throwing kids from 50 different countries into an all-white high school was crazy, “and the result was a raw and exceptionally charged experiment in getting along.” Some locals reacted badly, especially Mayor Lee Swaney, who decreed that only American sports like baseball could be played on city fields, not soccer. Others emulated Bill Mehlinger, who turned a local grocery store into a booming bazaar selling fish sauce to the Vietnamese, cassava powder to the Africans and whole lambs to the Middle Easterners.
No movie could fully evoke the emotional damage inflicted on families driven from their homelands by boundless brutality. Beatrice Ziaty and her children (three sons played for the Fugees) fled out the back door of their house in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, while her husband was being murdered in the front room. Most immigrants to America come eagerly, after years of saving and dreaming; they stay in touch with kinfolk back home through cell phones and e-mail and retain a sense of connection and community. The refugees of Clarkston were uprooted and their families ripped apart against their will. “There’s no point in thinking about where to go back to,” said Paula Balegamire, whose husband languished in a Congolese prison, “because there’s nowhere to go back to.”
Luma Mufleh didn’t have anywhere to go back to, either. When she decided to stay in America after graduating from Smith College, her father cut her off completely, so she moved to Atlanta because she liked the weather and found work washing dishes. She started shopping in Clarkston for familiar foods — yogurt, hummus, pita bread — and one day saw a group of refugee boys playing soccer in a parking lot. She watched for an hour and discovered a calling. She realized that soccer was the answer to “the boys’ isolation from the new world around them and their desire to connect.” Goal and grit, energy and effort, are the same in Albanian and Swahili. And English.
Luma became much more than a coach. She tutored the kids in their lessons, found jobs and food for their families and filled the gap left by over-worked and undermanned social service agencies. “You start off on your own,” she says, “and you suddenly have a family of a hundred and twenty.” In truth she can overdo the “tough” part of “tough love.” I cringed when she banished Mandela Ziaty for insubordination, called her players “a pathetic excuse for a soccer team” and announced “you deserved to lose.” “Control freak” is the same in any language, too.
Those are quibbles, however. This is an uplifting tale celebrating the most old-fashioned of virtues: hard work, self-discipline, regard for others. Phil Kitchin, pastor of a church that caters to the refugee community, put it this way: “Jesus said heaven is a place for people of all nations. So if you don’t like Clarkston, you won’t like heaven.” As the Christian players said after their pre-game prayer, “Amen.” And as the Muslims added, “Amin.” Cue the credits. Steven V. Roberts’s new book, “From Every End of This Earth,” profiles recent immigrants to America and will be published next fall.
I agree on the Blue Ridge. I have made a proposal on my website for a reservation for whites along the Appalachian as well as in other places.
People are so dumb. This sort of stuff makes me cringe.
I wonder how long it will be until their love fest with all these dark strangers comes to an erupt end.
Most likely when these po widdle refugees start killing them.
I take it that you must have missed class that day because you had to tend to the goats at “home”, in your obvious “single room schoolhouse”, somewhere on top of some mountain somewhere no one cares about, when the teacher/ gereral store owner/ farm equipment salesperson/ postmaster/ mayor/ town prostitute lectured on the word “abrupt”
and its stark distiction to the word “erupt”, albeit, both words and thier meanings are ususually sudden.
I looked up Clarkston on City-Data.com, and it’s even smaller than the town I live in. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have people from 50 different countries added to my town.
The book review talks about adding kids from 50 different countries to an ”all-White high school’, yet City-Data.com says that only 17.3 percent of Clarkston is “non-Hispanic White”. How, I wonder, could they manage to have an all-White high school with so few Whites in a small town? Still, who cares about the facts, I suppose; it’s all about the diversity message that is meant to be heartwarming.
As for pastor Kitchin and his remark about Clarkston and heaven, I suspect he believes that anyone who prefers their kin, and prefers less ‘diversity’, will not be in heaven in any case.
You, or no one on earth, is all “white”. “White” does not even exist, never has, never will. It is impossible. Please go to college. Please have your DNA examined by a geneticist or DNA fingerprinting lab. EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET HAS AFRICAN DNA !!!
Speaking of Buchanan, someone on Left says
“His most recent effort, “The Rooted and The Rootless,” takes as its premise the notion that there’s a “blood-and-soil, family-and-faith, God-and-country kind of nation” that’s competing with a minority represented by the “rootless” Obama and his “aides with advanced degrees from elite colleges who react just like him.”
Already, we’re in National Socialist territory here, but let’s leave that aside (with Buchanan, once you start down this path, it can be hard to stop…). What jumped out at us was Buchanan’s contention that the “blood-and-soil” part of America…
That’s how they talk about us.
I’ve got my tin foil hat on today and found this:
Why Are Tens of Thousands of Plastic “Burial Vaults” Stacked in a Field Near Madison, Georgia?
Clarkston is appx. 57 miles from Madison.
Wow. You guys sound really… racist.
Thank you, we are very racist!
Oh. So you guys are like fringe nutjobs or whatever. Well, regardless, keep up the good fight. Really invigorating discussion on this blog. I really like the atavistic, let’s-burn-a-cross-in-a-black-man’s-front-yard fonts and graphics you guys use. Is there a white supremacist’s font library or did you just stumble on them? Either way, they’re totally cute.
I live in Decatur and have met Luma (at her ice-cream cafe that she had)and some of the kids. The white kids of Clarkston could benefit from absorbing some of their courage and maturity.
Does she still have the ice cream cafe?
Bless you. The world needs more people like you.!!
Wow, can’t believe in this day and age people can still be so racist. Oh, what I meant to say was….can still be so stupid.
Accidentally stumbling upon this page upon researching the “Fugees” after they were featured this morning on the CBS “Sunday Morning” show has been, to say the least, quite eye-opening.
As a “Yankee” from NYC, probably the most ethnically diverse city in world and certainly in the United States of America, I have always viewed the South ( anything below northern NJ ) with scepticism and often wondered if it has yet to recover from its loss during the Civil War. It should be noted that I am brown and of Eurpoean, East Indian (Asian), Middle-Eastern and African ( as every human being on earth happens to be, and shall be discussed in a perfunctory fashion to follow ) extraction. I also am an attorney for 28 years and former prosecutor of 12 years.
While attending a national law school, for the first time in my life, I got to meet and know many southerners from Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, etc.. Thanks to them and their very American, accepting and tolerant dispositions and attitudes toward ethnic/racial issues, I am proud to claim that I no longer viewed southerners as a pack of inbread, incestuous, illeterate, moonshine-swilling, mentally inferior/inellectually challenged, neanderthal hillbillies whose ability to not still walk on all fours was merely an evolutionary coincidence. They were all what some people call “white”.
In fact, geneticists ( M.D.’s, Ph.D.’s in biology, genetics, anthropology, etc.) do not and have NEVER used the term “white” to classify any race, simply because it does not exist, and NEVER has. The closest race to “white” is Indo-European, the “Indo” part meaning INDIAN, (East Asian, not Native American). The Indo-European race is the race of AFRICANS that eventually made its way out of Africa to the north and west into what is now Italy, Spain, and the rest of today’s Europe. The rest of the same Africans went north and east into todays Middle East and India. The further away from the blazing sun of Africa they ventured, the less the Africans needed the cover and protection from it and they, over several thousands of years, shed their dark skin, hair and eyes. You don’t need dark hair, eyes and skin in Norway !! However, the DNA, genes and chromosomes of the every “white” to this day and for the rest of time, invariably contains and is consisted of very BLACK, AFRICAN genes, chromosomes and DNA. No ‘white” exists without “BLACK” genes and DNA…it is impossible, period. About ten years ago, geneticists from all over the world interviewed southern, self-proclaimed, “Arian”, KKK, “supremacist” from Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama. They were asked what was their race…they all said “white”, as you might expect. THEN, their blood was examined and subjected to state-of-the-art, world-wide accepted, genetic analysis. Well, as those of you that went to college already know, ALL of them were almost suicidedly shocked to learn that they were IN FACT from 17% to 38% AFRICAN…..BLACK, in other words. So is the case for everyone reading this message, at least. Most of the “supremacists”, after they got over their shock, accepted this as a truth, which it is. The remainder dismissed this fact as some form of communist propoganda !!! Of course, of those, most were never “learned” after 6th grade.
But at the fear of digressing, I return to the “Fugees”. Unless you can accurately and directly, yet embarrassingly, trace your ancestry back to the deadbeat, rapist ,theif, debtor-filled, criminal element, outcasts that were thrown out of England onto the Mayflower or are Native-American, YOU ARE AN IMMIGRANT in the USA, no way around that fact. the “Fugees” ARE as AMERICAN as you, and I, are. America ( named for and after an ITALIAN, Amerigo Vestpucci ). We are a country of immigrants, that is what makes us the greatest, richest country in the world. America is supposed to be color blind, afer all, we are all Black.
The “Fugees” are as American as the rest of us. Now thier leader is a citizen of this great land too, from the Middle East ( Jordan ), and probably Muslim, originally. I cannot be happier or prouder to welcome her and them to the USA, as we all were before her/them, with opened arms. The Statue of Liberty, as I look at her glowing torch from my window, is not a racist or separatist…she could not care less about your creed, color, ethnicity or place of birth…she too is AMERICAN of African decent, just like YOU !!!
My check is in the mail to assist the newest of American children to attain thier loftiest goals in life. I think that as Americans and as America, that is supposed to be what, and why, we do what we do here. GOD BLESS AMERICA and ALL immigrants ( here only 235 years or less, Mayflower castaways and other miscrants included) within its boarders, and those soon to join us here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Bravo Robert! I was born and raised in Georgia and am happy to welcome anyone lucky enough to come here. It’s a great place with tons of opportunity….enough for everyone. I mistakenly found this site while searching for something else. Now, I want to support the Fugees as well. I’m sure the creator of this site will really love that the page convinced me to send money to a group he finds such a distaste for. I’m sure that wasn’t his intention.
Just learned about “The Fugees” this morning. Renewed my faith in mankind. nice to know still some “humanity” left in this “savage” world!
Go, Ginny! I agree with you, girl!
Well……………Part of what makes America great…….all sorts of people from all sorts of places. All God’s children. The refugees and the racists. Hopefully, we will all eventually “get” the golden rule.
Our founding fathers sure were great people. Almost all of them were strong students of the Bible.
Not perfect , but they knew of truth and hard work. Study up on the founders of this nation, not just your preconceived notions.
Racism, ignorance, laziness, and stupidity come in all colors. Help fight it. Read things from different viewpoints. Learn from others, don’t look down on them. This is for me , too.
Greedy, evil, power-grabbers find us easier to control when we fight amongst ourselves.
Well said, Robert! And Ginny, way to go, thanks for sending money to help the refugees. John, I appreciate your input as well, we do need to learn from others and not look down on them! I (a “white” girl), along with many others from my church, will be going to Clarkston to help minister to the refugees there this summer. So excited about the opportunity! These are families who have been torn apart, seen their loved-ones murdered, been through so much more than we can imagine. They are learning to sew, bake, make jewelry, etc. to make a living here. I have heard only a few of their stories and I am looking forward to meeting more of them this summer.