Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A great story from this Sunday's Times about an unusual youth soccer team from a small town outside of Atlanta.

The Fugees are indeed all refugees, from the most troubled corners — Afghanistan, Bosnia, Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Some have endured unimaginable hardship to get here: squalor in refugee camps, separation from siblings and parents. One saw his father killed in their home.

The Fugees, 9 to 17 years old, play on three teams divided by age. Their story is about children with miserable pasts trying to make good with strangers in a very different and sometimes hostile place. But as a season with the youngest of the three teams revealed, it is also a story about the challenges facing resettled refugees in this country. More than 900,000 have been admitted to the United States since 1993, and their presence seems to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.
It's no Ballad of Big Mike, but it'll keep you reading until the end, which is more than most 6,000-word stories can say. (I'd have to imagine that the author of this particular article, Warren St. John [who also wrote the very well-received Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer], is working this into a book, but I don't know that for sure.)

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