THUMBS UP to the Lewiston High School boys soccer team, which beat Scarborough 1-0 last Saturday to win the program’s first state championship, and earned a spot in the national rankings, all with a roster that features many nationalities. The team’s success acts as a counterpoint to a lot of the news coming out of Maine’s second-largest city.

Lewiston’s relationship with the African refugees who have made their home there is checkered and well-known, and includes a statement from the current mayor, Robert Macdonald, that refugees should “leave your culture at the door,” among other instances of both veiled and overt racism.

But none of that was present on Nov. 7, when a throw-in from Lewiston’s Maulid Abdow bounced off a Scarborough defender and into the goal for what would be the winning score.

The Blue Devils, who finished the season 18-0, feature players from Germany, Turkey and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many come from Somalian families. In fact, eight of the teammates grew up in the same, massive refugee complex in Kenya, although they came to the United States at different times.

Another Somali coaches the freshman soccer team, while another is in charge of the eighth-grade team.

If that’s not a melding of cultures, and a sign that people of different backgrounds can find common ground in the same community, we don’t know what is.

Some of the team may have come from thousands of miles away, from conditions most Americans can’t imagine, but last week, holding the Gold Ball on the turf at Portland’s Fitzpatrick’s Stadium, they all looked like Mainers.

THUMBS DOWN to the U.S. Department of Justice, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and others who are intent on keeping the classified report about the CIA’s post-9/11 secret prison program out of the hands of the people who could most stand to learn from it.

As reported in The New York Times, Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has recalled all copies of the 6,700-page report from the Justice Department, CIA, Pentagon and State Department, where the report has sat sealed and unread for almost a year.

The full report, from which a 500-page summary was made public last year, was meant to remain classified at least for a while, but Burr’s order has kept even counterterrorism officials from reading it.

The summary concluded that the techniques the CIA used in its kidnapping, rendition and interrogation program were more harsh and less effective than they let on to the departments and panels that are supposed to serve as oversight.

According to The Times, “The full report is not expected to offer evidence of previously undisclosed interrogation techniques, but the interrogation sessions are said to be described in great detail. The report explains the origins of the program and names the officials involved. The full report also offers details on the role of each agency in the secret prison program.”

That could go a long way in showing how the Justice Department, among others, was misled about the program, and allowed the CIA to commit awful violations of human rights.

Every day that goes by without the government taking a full account for this dark chapter in U.S. history makes it more likely it can happen again.

THUMBS UP to the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office for a new program that provides 911-enabled cellphones to people escaping abuse, or who are victims of other crimes.

The district attorney’s office is accepting donations of old phones, which are then programmed to allow for calls to 911 only. They can be given to victims who may not be able to access their phone in an emergency, or who cannot afford a cellphone once they’ve left an abusive situation.

The phones are another tool for combatting domestic violence, and giving victims a sense of safety in a troubling and dangerous time. That’s an area where Somerset County, which also uses GPS tracking devices for abusers, continues to excel.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.