Since hurricane Katrina destroyed the homes and lives of thousands of people across Louisiana and other states, a debate has raged about whether or not we should use the word "refugee" to refer to the victims. Everyone has weighed in, from William Safire on its linguistic uses, to Jesse Jackson and others on its political connotations. Here's one point of view you may not have heard from: someone working with "actual" refugees. Olivia Bueno is an international refugee advocate and has been thinking a lot about the term.
Olivia is a founding member of the International Refugee Rights Initiative and was previously part of the International Refugee Program of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinions of either of these organizations.
This piece is available from the Public Radio Exchange
Commentator: Olivia Bueno
Recorded by Sarah Elzas in New York, NY