Thursday, December 7, 2006

The New Yorker Reports Maine's Somali population

This week's New Yorker reports on the Somali population in Lewiston. Here's the press release:

In the December 11, 2006, issue of The New Yorker, William Finnegan reports on the small town of Lewiston, Maine, where, since 2001, a few thousand Somali refugees have resettled after fleeing the civil war that has consumed their country for the past two decades (“New in Town,” p. 46). “With a population of thirty-six thousand, the town was until recently ninety-six per cent white and predominantly Catholic—French-Canadian and Irish—and was slowly losing its young people as local mills and factories closed,” Finnegan writes. “Then, practically overnight, the streets seemed to be full of black African Muslims. Today, there are about three thousand Somalis in Lewiston, and dozens more arrive every month.” He adds, “An improbable migration has turned into a large-scale social experiment.”

More on this via Wikipedia.
Not too long ago, the mayor of Lewiston drafted a letter to the Somali population and asked them to stop coming to his town. The leaders of the Somali population met with the mayor's office and resolved the situation.

A movie was made about the Somalis in Lewiston called The Letter: An American Town and the 'Somali Invasion'
The film is reviewed here.

A nice article about Lewiston/Auburn here
.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at white men who spew hatred for others who are not white and cite crime as the reason for their hatred. As a white, college educated woman and mother of two I have to say that if I based my own feelings on the crime I have experienced in my life, I would want all the white men in the world put in prison! When I was in college, I was raped by a blue blood, blue eyed, blond upper class male student. I have three friends who were also raped by white men at elite colleges in Boston, when we were young co-eds. All of us were afraid to tell because of the powerful families from which our assailants came. When I was a young mother, two white, wealty landlords, kept security deposits put down on apts that I left in perfect condition, knowing that I didn't have the money to fight them in court. After my mother died and I was left a small inheritance, I had thousands of dollars stolen from me by rich white con artists that led me to believe that I was helping them or their families in times of need, only to find out that their families were rich. I have known dozens of wealthy white friends who have taken financial aid for college by claiming that they were independent from their wealthy parents-parents who own million dollar homes on Mount Desert Island!!!! I owned a cafe and employed three young, single mothers who had just finsihed up at Oberlin college and were collecting welfare and foodstamps. These same girls were traveling all over the world on money their parents provided them! What has occured in Lewiston is a disgrace to the United States of America. It is a snapshot of the incredible racism/ignorance that flourishes here. It makes me ill.

Anonymous said...

to the woman who left the first comment. The problem with the instant influx of Somalians in Lewiston is not race but dollars and cents. Unfortunately the Somalians are dependant on welfare. They lack the skills to get jobs. Most do not speak English. Where does the money come to support them. Taxes, thats where. Property taxes are allready out of control.

biscuit said...

I actually ordered the documentary but haven't watched it yet...
should be interesting.. I've spoken with my family in LA about this very subject.. interesting takes on it from all angles....

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