Sunday, July 5, 2015
Labour & Immigration
Back in the Day
Sun Girl / Sun Guy
Throne Speech 2013
SAGE Report 2013
Year in Review 2013
Tourism & Hospitality
Matters in Healthcare
Ask the Expert
Boston: Strong Ties to Bermuda
Cup Match 2013
Track & Field
Pool and Snooker
Wells at Wembley
Cup Match 2013
Cup Match 2014
Arts & Entertainment
Health and Fitness
Peace Day Contest
Bermuda Festival 2014
Pastor Gary Simons
Rev. Maria Seaman
Legals & Notices
Submit an obituary
Newport Bermuda 2014
Cup Match 2014
Welcome on the street jars with hostility on the airwaves
Byline info is not available
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:51 AM
The Uighurs with Major Glenn Brangman on Front Street. *Photo by James Whittaker
The hostility on the local blogs and airwaves may have suggested otherwise but in person, most Bermudians have been unable to resist extending a warm welcome to their new neighbours from Guantanamo.
The hugs, handshakes, bumping fists and declarations of 'peace brother' that the freed prisoners received as we walked around St George's on Sunday was typical of the reaction on the streets.
It was a similar story in Hamilton on Monday. Far from running in fear or venting their anger at the four Uighurs they have been treated almost as celebrities.
From the distance of a computer keyboard many have reacted with anger to the news that four men will be released from Guantanamo into their midst, helped to find jobs and homes and ultimately given citizenship.
"I hope you find life so difficult you leave ASAP. Bermuda for Bermudians," was the response of one particularly irate poster on the Bermuda Sun's website.
But faced with the flesh and blood reality of four slight, smiling men, eager to be accepted, the reaction has been the opposite.
Embracing one of the four in a bear hug, a passer-by in St George's told him: "Welcome to our country brother, I hope you stay and have a wonderful life here."
Seeing the group in the flesh - eating ice cream, visiting stores and restaurants, taking delight in catching a fish for the first time in seven years - the 'terrorist' label has been stripped away and they have seemed, and been treated as if they were regular tourists.
Most people just want a picture and a handshake.
"It goes to show the people who speak on the Internet and on the talkshows are probably not reflective of the greater cross section of Bermuda," said Major Glenn Brangman, who is travelling with the Uighurs and assisting their transition to freedom.
"Certainly it's a part of our Bermudian culture and heritage to be friendly people. The people we have seen over the last few days are a good cross section of real Bermuda. It's great to see that friendliness is still alive."
He said there had been the odd negative remark like 'go home' or 'terrorist' but the hecklers had been in the minority.
Earl Robinson, who has acted as tour guide for the four, said he thought most people who had made negative comments (on the talk shows and the web) had just reacted without really knowing the details.
But he said anyone who had met the men could see that there was no reason to be afraid of them.
"Out in the community, the cordiality and the extension of greetings from all walks of life has been overwhelming. They are being welcomed with wide and open arms."
Having spent the past few days with the men, Mr Robinson, said he had found them to be genuine, humble and friendly people. He said people had nothing to worry about and insisted he was more concerned about Bermuda's gang culture.
"I'll tell you where the real terrorists are - they're on Ord Road and 42nd Street. That's what we should be worried about, not these four men."
U.S. resettles four Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Bermuda
Dr. Brown: Guantanamo Bay prisoners will be naturalized
Who are these strangers amongst us?
Ex-Guantanamo inmate 'grateful' to Bermudian people
Gitmo Four: 'Give us a chance'
Uighurs in BDA answer the key questions
How the Uighurs ended up in prison after fleeing China
The salty taste of freedom
Overseas support rolls in for Brown
Britain might reduce BDA's diplomatic power
PLP closes ranks
Brown feels heat on the street
Powerful U.S. Senator heaps praise on Bermuda
Local Muslims reach out with gifts for Uighurs
Refugees would fight to stay in BDA
Voters give Guantanamo decision the thumbs down
Media reflects on Bermuda Sun closure
Cup Match: What’s open, where and when
Sun closure: Honoured to have led the Sun’s news team
FCO Minister: I have full confidence in the Governor
Swimmer rescued in Bailey’s Bay
Should PRC holders get status?
Some of them
Tweets by @BDASun
Copyright © 2005-2015 Bermuda Sun Ltd. All Rights Reserved. For more information see our
Terms of Service
Software Copyright © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved