Living Out of a Closet

Before the turn of the century I read of guys in New York City renting closet space as living quarters. I’ve often thought that I could live out of a closet myself. I may get a chance to prove that out.

My daughter dreams of tiny houses. But our downsizing is not anything close to that. It is more like a temporary relocation form our Mansion de Patzcuaro to downsized living quarters in Zihuatanejo. It will be to be away from the extremely cold winter we have in January and February.

To be sure, it will be a short term experiment if we can survive it. The thing that I dislike the most now is having to write this blog on a tiny tablet the size of an ereader. I plan to fix that when I get back by bringing back my ancient laptop. More on this adventure as it develops.

Trump See, Trump Do

Trump See, Trump Do

Would Americans welcome a king? Like, lets just say King George III.

The Mexile

Trump see, Trump do. Or so goes a well known proverb in the world of monkeys when describing a closely related but intellectually inferior species that is currently in the news. Smarter monkeys refer to this species by their Latin name, Republicanus Deplorabilis. We humans, at the top of the brains ladder, refer to their characteristics with a wider range of vocab. Fascists. Mentally unstable.

View original post 637 more words

Peace on earth, good will to men!

Come the holiday season we tend to look over the past. It may make us sad, thinking of those loved one that are no longer with us. Or, that are so far away from us. A melancholia sets in on us. That is when I think of this carol and it lift my spirits.

I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play And mild and sweet their songs repeat Of peace on earth good will to men And the bells are ringing (peace on earth) Like a choir they’re singing (peace on earth) In my heart I hear them (peace on earth) Peace on earth, good will to men And in despair I bowed my head There is no peace on earth I said For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men But the bells are ringing (peace on earth) Like a choir singing (peace on earth) Does anybody hear them? (peace on earth) Peace on earth, good will to men Then rang the bells more loud and deep God is not dead, nor does he sleep (peace on earth, peace on earth) The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth, good will to men Then ringing singing on its way The world revolved from night to day A voice, a chime, a chant sublime Of peace on earth, good will to men And the bells they’re ringing (peace on earth) Like a choir they’re singing (peace on earth) And with our hearts we’ll hear them (peace on earth) Peace on earth, good will to men Do you hear the bells they’re ringing? (peace on earth) The life the angels singing (peace on earth) Open up your heart and hear them (peace on earth) Peace on earth, good will to men Peace on earth, peace on earth Peace on earth, Good will to men

Blogger of the Year! Who me?

Rich and Emilio  Me as Father Time alfred-e-newman-how-to-solder 532317_10151080635307664_1797488821_n

Oh Lord, it’s so hard to be humble! 

I felt in my bones, that the International Brotherhood of Bloggers was or might have me possibly in mind for Blogger of the Year. It was conceived my mind, and in the wind, I was surely a shoo-in for that elite position among all of my fellow bloggers. Alas, humility got to me, and so I decline the great honor. I imagine that would have been almost as good or possibly better than the Times’ Man of the year award for the President!

Hostility in US, Europe makes Mexico a new refugee destination of choice

On a cold November morning last year, Aisha set foot in an airport half a world away. Unable to understand the local language, she walked through immigration on a tourist visa, picked up her bags, and began her new life as an asylum seeker in Mexico.

As the administration of US President Donald Trump tightens immigration policies and refugees crossing the Mediterranean face a backlash in Europe, a growing number of people like Aisha are looking elsewhere for safe haven.

Mexico, traditionally an origin country for migrants or a transit stop on the treacherous Central American route to the United States, now finds itself as a destination for people fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands.

But the swelling numbers have caught Mexico by surprise – and authorities are struggling to deal with the influx.

refugees_170808-0283.jpg

Woman pointing to a map of Africa

With the help of a map of Africa, Aisha explains the situation in Congo and the reason why she fled. She says she witnessed her husband’s killing and was then tortured and left for dead.

‘I chose Mexico’

Aisha’s new home is an NGO-run safe house in Mexico City where dormitory rooms are filled with bunk beds and personal reminders of homes left behind – old photos, clothing, children’s toys.

“I chose Mexico because human rights are respected here,” Aisha told IRIN. “It’s a country of migrants, and it doesn’t have political ties with my country.”

Aisha is just one face of the shifting refugee trend in Mexico. According to the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance, or COMAR, which processes asylum applications, the country has seen a nearly 600 percent rise in asylum petitions over the last four years.

In 2013, COMAR received about 1,300 requests for asylum. That jumped to almost 8,800 last year. Groups that work closely with asylum seekers in Mexico predict there could be 18,000 applications this year.

The majority of applicants come from Central or South American nations. But many, like Aisha, are making the long journey from origin countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Aaron Rodriguez works for the Scalabrinian Mission for Migrants and Refugees. His organisation used to mainly help migrants pushing north in search of better opportunities, but the last year has seen it take in asylum seekers from four continents, including people fleeing violence in countries like Congo, and Syria, even Ukraine.

Rodriguez told IRIN that Mexico suddenly finds itself facing an unexpected problem: large numbers of migrants wanting to stay. “This new reality is taking us all by surprise,” he said.

With traditional settlement nations in Europe and the United States building up barriers, more and more people are looking to Mexico as a destination.

“When the great borders close… Mexico, every day, is recognised more as a destination country,” explained Rodriguez.

refugees_170808-0302.jpg

A boy plays at a shelter for migrants and refugees in Mexico City

A young boy from Congo plays at a shelter for migrants and refugees in Mexico City. Some refugee lawyers claim Mexican authorities systematically reject asylum petitions from people from Africa.

This growing phenomenon has thrust the spotlight on Mexico’s undermanned refugee system, which migrant rights advocates like Rodriguez say is often unsympathetic and doesn’t want new asylum seekers.

A report by US-based Human Rights First warned that COMAR was “exceedingly understaffed”. As protection applications surge, an asylum process that is meant to take 45 days now stretches on for months.

Critics say its decisions can be flawed, unfair, and wildly inconsistent – the report cites the case of a Haitian man who was granted refugee status while his wife and children were denied.

“Mexico,” the report concluded, “is far from a safe third country for refugees.”

A lawyer who represents some 50 rejected applicants told IRIN there is a general consensus among refugee lawyers in Mexico that COMAR is systematically denying asylum claims made by African applicants.

“It’s a constant negative response,” said the lawyer, who asked not to be named in order not to impact the cases of current clients. “No one has had a case [from Africa] that had been accepted right away.”

refugees_170808-9968.jpg

Aisha plays music on her phone

Aisha, 38, plays music on her phone. Her asylum petition was denied by COMAR, which she claims treated her like a criminal. She says the process was emotionally draining: “if I’m asking for their protection, how could they treat me in that way?”

Aisha’s own application was rejected earlier this year. She told the Mexican authorities that she witnessed presidential guards in Congo murder her husband before they attacked her and left her for dead.

Despite the scars Aisha bears as proof of the torture she endured, COMAR argued it was her husband who was a target, not her.

“They interviewed me in the dark as if I were a criminal,” she remembered with frustration. She said the Mexican officials and interpreters didn’t understand her; they didn’t write down dates or relevant details; and she feels they laughed at her as she told her story.

Thanks to her lawyer, Aisha’s case has been annulled and will be reopened. But the process has left her drained. Her morale is low.

“They don’t realise my loss,” she said.

A COMAR representative declined IRIN’s interview request. In a written response to questions, the agency said that keeping up with the “exponential” surge in asylum requests was “a constant challenge”, but noted that asylum recognition rates have climbed, from 37 percent in 2013 to 62 percent of decisions rendered last year.

“Considerable efforts have been made in favour of extending the right for all people arriving in Mexico to request asylum,” the statement read.

Separate paths

Some new asylum seekers are choosing Mexico because it’s seen as a safer alternative to the perilous Mediterranean route to Europe, where more than 7,700 people have died over the last two years.

Victor, a 26-year-old student from Cameroon’s anglophone region, fled to Mexico after he began giving statements to international media about the growing oppression in his home. He said his family paid a smuggler to take him to Mexico, fearing the government would punish his outspokenness. 

refugees_170807-9686.jpg

Victor walks through a park in Mexico City

Victor walks through a park near the shelter where he has stayed since his arrival in Mexico City. He says he wants to stay in Mexico, learn Spanish, and study.

But his 20-year-old brother chose a riskier route. The last time they spoke online, he was in Libya, attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.

“I worry about him. I know that one is not an easy way; it’s rough,” Victor said. “I pray for him every day. My mum prays for all of us.”

Victor’s asylum case is still pending after seven months. He told IRIN he’s treated differently in Mexico because of the colour of his skin but still feels fortunate to be here. “It is better than Africa,” he said.

refugees_170807-9601.jpg

Victor speaks with his sister on the phone

Victor, 26, talks to his sister. “Every time they call me, I tell them I’m fine. But if I told them I’m not, they would be sad”.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

(TOP PHOTO: Aisha poses for a photo in one of the dresses she brought with her when she fled Congo. Erika Piñeros/IRIN)

ep/il/ag

The Brexit Review

The Brexit Review

Britain and the US, perhaps on different paths but much the same results. Good article by Gary on Brexit.

The Mexile

There is the unmistakable whiff of death coming from the direction of Theresa May’s government. It is, by all accounts, teetering on the brink of collapse under the weight of repeated scandal. If it’s not sexual misconduct in the defence department, it’s a renegade minister trying to divert aid to the Israeli army. But the big issue, as always, is Brexit. Talking of which – the

View original post 1,690 more words