Voice For the Voiceless

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A feel-good sliver in a feel-bad framework: Pihcintu, a sweet-voiced, big-hearted, multicultural chorus of refugee girls and women here in Portland, sang Monday at the U.N. to celebrate the adoption of a new Global Compact on Refugees aimed at supporting countries that host the world's record level of  refugees.  Formed in 2005, Pihcintu brings together 34 women and girls from 20 often war-torn countries who have settled in Maine, often after years in refugee camps; over time, some 300 girls and women have found healing in Pihcintu, a Passamaquoddy word for “when he/she sings, his/her voice carries far.” For them, being at the U.N. is an honor - they will give the only musical performance - an opportunity to give thanks - the U.N. helped many with food, shelter and immigration - and a reminder, says one, that "not everyone escapes war like I did."

The non-binding Global Compact on Refugees they were marking at the U.N., the result of two years of negotiations, is being touted as a "historic" effort to share responsibility for supporting the world's 25-million-plus refugees, over 85% of whom are hosted by poor countries. The compact's measures will aid those host nations, whose public services often struggle to support newcomers. The pact was approved 181-2, with the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Libya abstaining. The 2 votes against came from Hungary and, yes, the U.S., which is currently run by racist monsters and which opposed a call to limit detentions of asylum seekers. Another new global compact to support migrants is expected to be endorsed by the General Assembly on Wednesday; it was earlier approved by most of the U.N.'s 193 members over fierce opposition from the U.S. What we wish, devoutly: When Trump dies, hopefully in prison, may he return in his next life as a migrant or refugee.

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