Monday, April 11, 2011

Street animals

A new documentary called Nickel City Smiler tells the story of Burmese refugee Smiler Greely (no relation to Bill Greeley) and his road from the jungles of Burma to the concrete jungle that is Buffalo's West Side...

"Ninety-eight percent of the individuals that moved into the city of Buffalo for the past two years were refugees," said Donna Pepero, who heads the Refugee School Impact Program in the Buffalo schools. "They're filling these empty houses on the West Side, all over Buffalo."

I love the way people from distant cultures talk, sometimes. Greely's young son Moe Joe talks about living side by side amongst gang members in his neighborhood...

Family members talk about threats from street gangs, and the viewer sees the aftermath of a brick thrown through the family's front window.

"We are not here to fight with these street animals," Moe Joe says. "You see, animals are in the forest, but this is an amazing animal ... This is what I call a street animal."

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again
They're coming to America...

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