Adonis Diaries

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Amid the waning of the humanities, Edward Said turned out to be one of the last literary scholars with a public presence.

Udi Greenberg @udi_greenberg. One of Said’s students

Teaches at Dartmouth College and is the author of The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War (2015).

Note: wordpress is Not opening new texts on my Samsung Chrome in the last month. Maybe I need a better laptop. Untill then, minimal editing on the saved drafts.

Exiles often have conflicting feelings about their adoptive society, and Edward Said was no exception.

As a Palestinian in the United States, he recognized the country’s pervasive racism and violence, but he also knew its educational system made his career as a renowned and prosperous thinker possible.

His life was indeed filled with paradoxes and contradictions. He was one of the twentieth century’s most influential anti-colonial writers, who mostly studied his colonizers’ literature; a proponent of Palestinian liberation who wrote in English and mostly for English-speaking audiences.

Few statements capture his embrace of such tensions more than his surprising claim in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that he was now the only heir to the Jewish tradition of radical criticism.

“I’m the last Jewish intellectual,” he exclaimed. “You don’t know anyone else. All your other Jewish intellectuals are now suburban squires.… I’m the last one.”

Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Saidby Timothy BrennanBuy on BookshopFarrar, Straus and Giroux, 464 pp., $35.00

As comical as this statement can seem, Timothy Brennan’s new biography, Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said, suggests it captures Said’s unique place in public life: a Middle Eastern exile who provided an original explanation for American imperialism, powerfully condemned it, and successfully reached mass audiences.

By telling Said’s life, from his childhood in British-ruled Palestine to his death in New York in 2003, Places of Mind seeks to explain his unique ability to blend intellectual production and public activism.

Impressively researched and powerfully written, it charts Said’s many triumphs: his revolutionary scholarly writings, which became classics and are taught decades after their publication; his rise as a media celebrity (an unusual fate for an academic); and his role in making the Palestinian national movement a source of international fascination.

For Brennan, who was Said’s student and is an accomplished literary scholar in his own right, his teacher was everything a humanist should be.

By embracing his status as an “outsider”—an exile, a Palestinian, an “Arab”—he successfully infused America’s mainstream with new ideas and political visions.      

Yet by claiming to be a “Jewish” intellectual, Said was doing more than placing himself in the company of giants like Franz Kafka or Theodor Adorno.

What he recognized, and what Places of Mind sometimes misses, was the tragedy of his career: how by his life’s end, the causes for which he fought were ultimately defeated.

The Palestinian liberation movement, whose cause animated so much of Said’s writing, was headed toward ruin (a reality that he was among the very few to realize).

(Fateh, the signatory to the Oslo treaty, was displaced by more radical movements in Gaza, and currently a new wave of reactions from every mixed towns and villages in the West Bank)

And the humanities, whose flourishing made his career possible, were entering a downward spiral from which they show no sign of recovery. Reflecting on Said’s life is not only a chance to celebrate groundbreaking achievements: It is also an invitation to recognize, soberly, some of our era’s heartbreaking misfortunes.  


Colonialism is a brutal business, and this was certainly true of British rule in the Middle East and mandated France in Syria and Lebanon. Whenever locals protested the empire’s authority, as Palestinians did during the so-called “Great Revolt” of 1936 to 1939, British troops responded by demolishing entire neighborhoods, imprisoning thousands of civilians in concentration camps, and putting hundreds to the gallows.

(The British had to dispatch 100,000 troops to squash this civil disobedience movement that had a source the refusal of the British to have municipal elections on the ground that the Jews constituted only 20%)

Like many other colonialists, however, the British also sustained their rule in the region by offering alluring opportunities to some of their subjects. Those willing to cooperate could gain access to British markets, find jobs in the colonial bureaucracy, and send their children to European-run schools. These were the carrots that Europe’s “civilizing mission” dangled in front of its subjects’ noses: Submit to us, colonialists promised, embrace our language and culture, and maybe, one day, some of you would control your own fate.

This was the duality that made the young Said. Born in British-ruled Jerusalem in 1935, much of his childhood took place in the shadow of the Palestinian national trauma. While his parents, Hilda and Wadie, rarely talked politics at home, other relatives often protested their people’s fate. The price of political oppression was even more apparent once British troops were replaced by the armed forces of the Jewish Yishuv, which decimated the Palestinian national movement.

In 1947, Said’s parents fled to Cairo, which rapidly became home to many hungry and dispossessed Palestinian refugees. At the same time, colonialism helped cushion the Saids from some of this brutality. Not only were they affluent merchants, but they also benefited from being Anglican, a tiny minority that enjoyed preferential treatment by British authorities. Said’s father supplied office materials to the British (which ran the formally independent Egypt), and Said was sent to study in the elite schools of British missionaries.

Nothing demonstrated colonialism’s contradictory imprint on his family more than his regal first name, Edward, which his mother chose because she admired the Prince of Wales—a fact that Said bemoaned his entire life. 

When Said’s parents sent him to the U.S. at age 15, he would find a similar pattern of simultaneous subjugation and inclusion. In his years as a student, first at an elite prep school in New England and then at Princeton, Said was alienated by the other students’ oppressive self-absorption. Almost all white, they were confident in the superiority of their Anglo-Saxon heritage and considered Arab culture primitive.

As he put it in a note uncovered by Brennan, “to be a Levantine” in the U.S. meant “not to be able to create but only to imitate.” At the same time, the postwar U.S. system of higher education provided remarkable opportunities. After Princeton, Said enrolled in Harvard’s graduate program in European literature, and in 1963, he was hired as a professor at Columbia. Ivy League prestige, as it often does, opened many doors, and Said quickly learned how to prosper in the world of U.S. letters.

He published a book on Joseph Conrad, built ties to the New York literary world, and began contributing essays to magazines like The Nation. For all the whiteness and Euro-centrist ethos of American academia, Said cherished his success in it. To his parents’ dismay, he preferred to spend most of his summers in New York, feverishly churning out academic writings.    

These paradoxes of imperial power do not get much attention in Places of Mind, and its first chapters say frustratingly little about the colonial Middle East or the Cold War U.S. This is a missed opportunity, as the similarities between the two systems would later become crucial to Said’s intellectual and political agenda. Most important, both the British and Americans elevated certain minorities (Christians in the Middle East, Jews in the U.S.) to justify their subjugation of others (Muslims under British rule, Black people and other people of color under white U.S. hegemony).

The two cultures also similarly viewed their elites’ culture as universal, a sacred trust they had to bestow upon humanity. Both British and American elites were therefore eager to demonstrate that “outsiders” like Said, who appreciated the brilliance of Western culture, could join their club, as long as they fully assimilated and “overcame” their non-Western origins. It is likely that these parallels informed Said’s later insistence that the U.S. emulated European empires.

And it is clear that his effective navigation in both inspired his later claim that colonialism was not just oppressive but also creative, that hegemonic cultures could possess a certain allure even for their victims.       


Said’s career up to the mid-1960s was headed in a predictable direction. Groomed by and for WASP institutions, he was on the path to become a footnote in their history, yet another scholar who studied the European canon and reproduced elites in his teaching.

But the convergence of two revolutions, one intellectual and one political, soon upended this trajectory. Harnessing their energies, Said went on to produce one of the twentieth century’s most important intellectual events. Be the most
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In its most impressive chapters, Places of Mind reconstructs Said’s participation in these two revolutions. The first was post-structuralism. Under the influence of philosopher Jacques Derrida, a group of French scholars launched blistering attacks on Europe’s intellectual traditions. Even after the Enlightenment, they claimed, Europe remained obsessed with enshrining hierarchies and binaries (between men and women, “primitive” and “civilized”); the most urgent task was to dismantle those.

While Said is not always associated with this school today, he was among the first to embrace it in the English-speaking world.

He took part in the early conferences on post-structuralism in the U.S. and was one of the first to utilize its concepts in his writings. He borrowed especially from Michel Foucault and his provocative depiction of the link between knowledge and power. Artists and thinkers, Foucault claimed, were rarely individuals who challenged authority. Most of the time, they reproduced and reinforced their society’s structures of authority, making them seem natural and even benevolent.

The second project that Said joined, and for which he became especially famous, was the Palestinians’ renewed struggle for self-determination. After the shock of the 1967 war, which initiated Israel’s military rule over large Palestinian territories, Palestinian activists and leaders sought to make their cause the center of international attention. They appealed to international institutions and launched multiple violent attacks on Israel to keep their struggle in the headlines.

While Said had little personal interest in returning to Palestine (by that point he considered his exile a permanent condition), he joined this campaign and quickly became its most prominent international figure.

He published fiery essays that compared the Palestinian struggle to other anti-colonial struggles in Asia and Africa and helped launch organizations that called for an end to the West’s support for Israel. His eloquence and rare status as a Palestinian at the center of U.S. letters made him into an icon. Palestinian politicians and leaders, some of whom he met in person during a prolonged academic stay in Beirut, sought his advice; in 1974, he helped edit and translate Yasser Arafat’s historic address to the United Nations, the first by any Palestinian leader in that forum. Three years later, Said became a member of the Palestinian National Council, the coordinating organization of the Palestinian national movement.

Bringing these two projects together was hardly an obvious undertaking. Post-structuralism’s philosophical musings, with its notoriously impenetrable jargon, seemed worlds apart from the blood and sweat of daily Palestinian resistance.

Yet in his monumental Orientalism (1978), Said fused these two projects to provide a new understanding of Western attitudes toward the Middle East. Drawing on his own experiences as a beneficiary and victim of colonialism, Said claimed that Europe’s colonial domination in the Middle East did not rely merely on military or political might. Rather, it was a vast intellectual project, in which countless scholars and novelists voluntarily rushed to explore, interpret, and explain why Europe had to dominate the “Orient.” Said further argued that the Orientalist project was in fact foundational to Europe’s own self-understanding. As Europeans sought to define themselves as rational, industrious, and self-controlling, they simultaneously identified the Orient’s people as emotional, lazy, and pathologically obsessed with sex.Said, in short, exposed how knowledge and art worked in the service of oppressive power.

This claim about colonialism’s centrality to Europe’s identity would have been enough to make Orientalism an intellectual bombshell. But Said went even further, using his literary study to explain the aggression of modern American diplomacy. Said argued that the collapse of formal European empires after World War II did little to diminish the orientalist mindset. Rather, orientalism continued to flourish in the U.S., where journalists, artists, and scholars conflated their country with a “civilization” that they contrasted with the Middle East’s alleged primitivism and fanaticism.

Indeed, Said maintained that U.S. diplomacy in the region, and especially its unwavering support for Israel, reproduced Europe’s earlier racism, arrogance, and myopia. U.S. diplomats and their Israeli allies inherited the view of Arabs as inhuman and thus dismissed their political demands as emotional and even animalistic outbursts. Said’s most scorching invective was directed at Middle East specialists like Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis, whom he acidly described as the intellectual foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism. Their writings about the Arabs’ supposed fanaticism, he wrote in a related essay, provided “not history, not scholarship, but direct political violence.”  

Said, in short, exposed how knowledge and art worked in the service of oppressive power. And in so doing, he forever transformed the meaning of the word orientalist: Rather than a term for a scholar of the Middle East, it now became an adjective describing a racist and paternalist worldview.  


Orientalism’s sweeping claims could hardly leave readers indifferent, and Brennan masterfully traces both the admiration for and backlash to Said’s masterwork. Conservative commentators predictably dismissed Said as an ignorant trespasser who failed to understand the West’s greatness as he downplayed the orient’s failings.

In a lengthy review, Lewis lambasted the book as “insouciant,” “outrageous,” and “reckless,” inaugurating a rhetorical dual with Said that would continue for decades. Even more sympathetic readers highlighted the book’s limitations. Scholars like the French historian Maxime Rodinson noted that Orientalism was far too sweeping in approach. The study of the Orient, he noted, was a diverse field, and many of its proponents hated empire.

Other supportive readers questioned the book’s focus on ideology and representation. Wasn’t colonialism ultimately driven by economic exploitation? The critique that stung the most came from Arab and Pakistani Marxists, who lamented that Said unintentionally strengthened Muslim conservatives. The Syrian philosopher and activist Sadiq Al Azm, for example, argued that by depicting European knowledge as hopelessly tainted, the book “poured cold water” on the effort to popularize Marxist ideas in the Middle East and bolstered lazy anti-Western sentiments. 

These misgivings, however, did little to diminish Orientalism’s impact on the international republic of letters. Appearing in 30 languages, it was widely celebrated as a fresh and sophisticated assault on Western arrogance, one equal to anti-colonial classics like Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth (1961). “Here for the first time,” Palestinian historian Tarif Khalidi wrote, “was a book by one of us telling the empire basically to go f— itself.” In a world reeling from the manifold disasters perpetrated by the U.S. in Vietnam, understanding the connections between Western self-righteousness and violence seemed more urgent than ever.

Said helped inspire the work of countless literary scholars, philosophers, historians, and political scientists who mapped colonialism’s intellectual legacies in the present. He was the founding figure of what in the 1980s became known as “postcolonial studies.” The impact of this intellectual project spilled beyond academic circles. After Orientalism, theater programs, museum catalogs, and Hollywood films began to adopt less Western-focused perspectives.

According to Brennan, Said in fact infused the humanities with renewed significance. Works like Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism (1993), which expanded its insight to more novels, demonstrated the centrality of literature and art to political discourse. Said turned the traditional Marxist view of culture on its head. He claimed that novels and images were not mere expression of social domination but their very heart; they informed how journalists covered world affairs, how citizens thought about politics, and how politicians enacted policies. Countless students and scholars came to view the study of stories, movies, and representation as political action, and journalists the world over courted Said, endlessly asking for his take on political matters.

Places of Mind’s last chapters trace Said’s rising prominence to the position of celebrity. As a testament to his triumph, they catalog the mind-numbingly abundant prizes and honors he received, describe his never-ending stream of interviews on radio and TV, and depict his collaborations with many famous artists, such as the conductor Daniel Barenboim. Yet along with the rapid ascent came frustration. Said’s publications may have made a splash, but they were unable to materially advance the Palestinian national cause, which suffered defeat after defeat.


For Said, stories were essential to the struggle for Palestinian self-determination. If Americans so enthusiastically lavished Israel with weapons and supported its cruel occupation, he claimed, it was not out of some hard-nosed calculation, but because they bought into a particular narrative, one in which persecuted Jews had heroically defeated their evil Arab neighbors.

According to Said, this story was sustained not only by relentlessly pro-Israel politicians, magazines, and TV shows but by the fact that Americans were rarely exposed to Palestinian perspectives. Said noted that this was true even for those who were deeply critical of Israel’s actions. Noam Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle (1983), for example, condemned U.S. diplomats and Israeli politicians for enabling the horrific massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon, but it, too, relied on Western sources and did not include Palestinian testimonies.

Alongside his campaign against the orientalist tradition, Said therefore launched an effort to open new spaces for Palestinians in the Western imagination. As he wrote in the essay “Permission to Narrate” (1983), the task was to forge “a socially acceptable narrative” that would allow people to empathize with Palestinians and view them as fellow humans. Venturing beyond European literature, Said sought to integrate Arab perspectives into the Western literary canon.

While most of his academic work remained focused on English and French authors, he also began studying Palestinian writers like Mahmoud Darwish and helped facilitate their translation into Western languages. And he collaborated with photographer Jean Mohr on After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives (1986), a collection of images and short texts that depicted Palestinian people in everyday activities.If Said’s words still resonate today, it is because the evils he helped expose are as powerful as ever.

 Yet readers largely ignored After the Last Sky and similar projects, and most certainly did not lavish it with the prizes and honors that were showered on Orientalism. They were mostly interested in the analysis of the West’s colonialism; oppression’s victims were an afterthought. Said was painfully aware that this part of his work had limited impact, and during the 1980s and 1990s he became progressively despairing about the prospects of Palestinian liberation. “The road forward is blocked,” he ruefully wrote, “the instruments of the present are insufficient, [and] we can’t get back to the past.” His gloom only grew after the Palestinian leadership signed a tentative peace agreement with Israel in 1993 (the so-called Oslo Accords), which Said predicted would not lead to statehood but to deepening occupation. By the end of his life, he was politically isolated; his books were even banned in the Palestinian Authority over his criticism of Yasser Arafat’s authoritarianism.

Said’s high hopes for literary studies—that they would lead the expansion of the world’s political options—also proved fleeting. Said’s career, in fact, was not only a rare exception but also a product of broad intellectual sources. It emerged from the 1970s and 1980s, when debates about the literary canon roiled institutions of higher learning and figures like Paul de Man and Alan Bloom were famous.

But by the early twenty-first century, the humanities began to decline. Students were beginning to abandon them, a trickle that would soon become a flood. In such a world, Said was quickly becoming a monument for a passing era. He was one of the last literary scholars to gain the public’s attention; when he lamented being the “last Jewish intellectual,” he in part recognized he was not likely to be followed by others. His increasing alienation from his adoptive country was reflected in the location of his grave. At his request, it stands not in New York, where he spent most of his career, but in Beirut, where he was only an occasional visitor. 


If Said’s words still resonate today, it is because the evils he helped expose are as powerful as ever. In the two decades since the 2001 attacks, orientalist sentiments have only intensified: Western politicians still treat Muslims and Arabs as fanatical terrorists, and Western media still perpetuate those narratives. As historian Maha Nassar recently noted*, of the thousands of pieces run by The New York Times and The Washington Post on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, barely 1 percent were written by Palestinians.

The grip of orientalism on U.S. knowledge production has in fact only tightened since Said’s passing. In 2002, the historian Daniel Pipes, who began his career with a campaign against Orientalism, founded the organization Campus Watch, which has targeted scholars who express sympathy with Palestinians. The case of Fresno State University in California was probably the most on-the-nose expression of Said’s lasting relevance. In 2016, the university’s leadership posted a job ad for its newly created Edward Said chair in Middle Eastern studies, only to abruptly call off the search by summer of 2017.

Just like his life, Said’s legacy is a paradox. His ideas are relevant exactly because their political impact was limited: The vast campaign he launched in scholarship, the media, and political activism could not dislodge orientalist bigotry. Similarly, Said looms so large in the humanities because a career like his is now hard to imagine. Rather than blazing a path for other literary scholars to become influential political commentators, he turned out to be among the last humanists with a public presence. Those who share in his quest for a more equal and humane world still face the question that always vexed him: If one has a humanist story to tell, how to make others listen? 

Are you an immigrant? Do I want to forget my “history”?

Posted on July 3, 2010 (Written in May 7, 2009)

The citizens of the developed Nations (mostly the colonial powers), within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history, especially their own history.  (But the atrocities levied on the people of the “colonized” will keep reminding them that their history was effectively Evil)

History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation.

Why is this feeling?

First, they have reached a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights that reduce historical accounts of injustices (and exploitation of the “citizens” in mines for many generations) as redundant stories.

Second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs such as maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes. 

These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the underdeveloped States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States.

The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the underdeveloped world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity.

History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquisher and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers.

The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit. 

The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day. 

History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration is commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to fill him in on current news, and occasionally, getting a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors. 

Yes, the immigrant might know more details on the developed citizen’s ancestors and the history of this citizen’s country. 

In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants: Usually, getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if No bickering accompanies the assembly of immigrants.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants: They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws.

The immigrants are overachiever, hard-working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the “developed” citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend. 

The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate. 

The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant: A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual. 

The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application.

The immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant. 

The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs. 

Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their underdeveloped States.

Learning seriously the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship.

Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. 

Make no mistake:  Any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”. 

Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend , then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.

Pretty late Mama, good evening.

A long time immigrant, bewildered how to erect a State in his country

A couple of poems that I wrote in Arabic in January 1991 and that I didn’t recall writing them in a letter to my parents.

Although I cannot claim that I was in love with my parents, I still recognized their dedication and care as they could master with their little education. I cannot recall, my brother, sister and I had any conversation with our parents. We were Not allowed to join visitors and share in the discussions.

Before 6 years of age, we were all shipped to a boarding school in Lebanon to save us from the deadly African diseases. They were strangers to us as they visited us one summer out of two.

Actually, I was the one who stayed with them till they passed away at very old ages, through mightily hard extended and debilitating illnesses.

Mother, late pretty mama, good evening.

I get furious when people just recall you as a chic woman

A great eye for fashion and designer fingers.

Mother, the cornerstone and guiding rod to father

In all his risky adventures, and later hopeless states of mind.

I know better,

You were afraid for me of people, of this harsh world

A world of no mercy.

Where to go and flee?

Mother, you freed me twice as I decided to immigrate.

Thank you.

I had far more hard days in foreign lands than relaxing ones.

I was one day away from joining the homeless, and feeling the cramps of hunger.

How I survived is the miracle.

The miracle of hundreds of people who felt pity on my conditions.

Free me once again mother.

I am Not complaining: I decided to liberate myself by my own volition

An immigrant who fled the civil war,

And bewildered how to erect a State in his country.

Twenty years out of his home country

In a welcoming country that refuses to be my second home.

A country that decided to liberate Kuwait and restitute it to its tribal Sheikhs.

Children born and Not recognized as citizens

So that oil money remain for its tribal Sheikhs and their descendent,

Their women and their colonial Masters.

Father, the good hearted husband

Who could never refuse to lend, even when he didn’t have any in his older years.

At the instigations of mother when they were in a well-to -do condition relative to the extended families.

But it is father who is remembered as the good Samaritan.

A father who helped generations of physicians, engineers, teachers

Who appreciated him for as long as their feathers grew into powerful wings.

Yes, father passed away, destitute and barely visited.

The same with mother who cried for being left isolated and ignored.

You will Not be ignored anymore.

Rest in peace.

Note: Julie https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/julia/

 

 

 

“I feel ashamed of being a European” the way immigrants are treated

Le maire de Palerme :

« J’ai honte d’être européen, quand on voit le sort qui est fait aux migrants »

Entretien (interview) avec Leoluca Orlando, maire de Palerme, dont la ville est l’une des principales portes d’entrée de l’Europe pour les migrants africains.

Leoluca Orlando, membre du parti Rivoluzione civile (centre-gauche), maire de Palerme à trois reprises (1980-1985, 1993-2000 et depuis 2013), est l’un des principaux personnages de la sphère politique sicilienne.

Député à plusieurs reprises au Parlement italien, puis européen, il s’est fait remarquer dans les années 2000 pour son engagement dans la lutte contre la mafia.

Aujourd’hui, alors que la Sicile est l’une des principales portes d’entrée des migrants en Europe, il a fait de leur cause son nouveau cheval de bataille. Il sera à paris, mercredi 12 octobre, pour participer au colloque de rentrée du Collège de France sur le thème « Migrations, réfugiés, exil ».

Lire aussi :   Medhanie l’Erythréen est-il un redoutable passeur ou un migrant pris dans une erreur judiciaire ?

Quel regard portez-vous sur l’intégration des migrants à la société palermitaine ?

Leoluca Orlando J’estime et j’affirme que tous les résidents de la ville de Palerme sont Palermitains. Il n’y a pas de différence entre les Palermitains qui sont nés à Palerme et ceux qui y arrivent, et c’est pour ça qu’il faudrait abolir le permis de séjour. Ce permis de séjour est la peine de mort de notre temps, c’est une nouvelle forme d’esclavage pour les gens qui arrivent.

Je suis convaincu que la mobilité internationale est un droit humain. Une personne ne peut pas mourir car un pays refuse de l’accueillir. C’est pour cette raison que nous avons adopté la Charte de Palerme et que nous avons créé le Conseil de la culture, qui est le seul dans le monde à représenter les migrants politiquement. Les membres de ce conseil sont démocratiquement élus par les migrants, ils sont 21 membres, dont 9 femmes. Je ne crois pas qu’on puisse parler de ces proportions au Parlement français, ni au Parlement italien !

Estimez-vous que l’Europe en fait assez pour les migrants ?

Non. Nous n’avons pas d’autre alternative que d’accueillir les migrants. Les gens qui me disent « Vous êtes fou ! », je leur réponds : « Non, je ne suis pas fou, je pense au futur ! »

Beaucoup de Palermitains vous reprochent votre engagement vis-à-vis des migrants et réclament des actions concrètes contre le fort taux de chômage de la ville. Que leur répondez-vous ?

Il n’y a pas d’intolérance et de racisme à Palerme, et vous ne me le ferez pas dire. Nous avons un problème économique, certes, mais comme partout. C’est un problème pour les Palermitains comme pour les gens qui viennent d’ailleurs. Je crois que la grande puissance de l’expérience palermitaine est que tout le monde a le même problème, tout le monde est logé à la même enseigne.

Ballaro, un quartier de Palerme, est souvent montré comme un exemple de cette mixité sociale dont la ville se réclame.

Ballaro, c’est l’endroit où des marchands issus de l’immigration ont fait arrêter des mafiosi palermitains. Voilà. (Rires). Est-il possible ensuite de parler contre les migrants ? Je ne crois pas. C’est un bon exemple, cela signifie que les personnes migrantes qui vivent à Palerme pensent que cette ville est leur ville. Et quand on fait partie d’une ville, on va la défendre. L’accueil est la plus puissante arme pour la sécurité. Par exemple, je dialogue avec la communauté musulmane pour intégrer au mieux les plus radicaux qui arrivent dans la ville.

Les musulmans qui vivent en banlieue parisienne parlent-ils avec leur maire ? Est-ce qu’il les intègre dans une représentation politique ? C’est la marginalisation, l’ostracisme, qui sont un problème. Chaque fois que les gens sont tentés de faire une distinction entre les migrants et les Palermitains, je leur réponds qu’il faut garder à l’esprit que les migrants ne votent pas. Nous sommes dans une dimension utilitariste de ces gens, il faut que la politique européenne comprenne que cet utilitarisme est en contradiction totale avec le respect des droits humains.

Vous pensez que les migrants devraient voter ?

Ce n’est pas encore possible aujourd’hui. Mais oui, j’ai espoir qu’un jour, toutes les personnes qui vivent en Italie, de nationalité italienne ou non, puissent voter et participer à la vie démocratique de ce pays. Mon premier acte en tant que maire a été de déclarer citoyens honoraires tous les habitants de Palerme. Tous, pas seulement le dalaï-lama, pas seulement le roi Juan Carlos… mais tous les résidents, italiens ou non.

Mais Ballaro, par exemple, c’est aussi le repaire d’une nouvelle mafia nigériane…

Oui, et c’est la preuve qu’il n’y a pas de différence entre les Palermitains et les Nigérians ! Il y a des Nigérians mafiosi, il y a des Nigérians bons citoyens. C’est pareil pour les Palermitains. Il ne serait pas normal de n’avoir que des Nigérians bons citoyens, et que des Palermitains criminels (rires). La grande chance de Palerme est sa normalité. Palerme est devenue une ville normale, sans sa mesquinerie politique d’autrefois.

Qu’est-ce qui manque pour que l’accueil des migrants soit efficace ?

Il manque la normalité des migrations, partout. Palerme est une ville migrante : il est possible d’y voir des monuments arabes, français, baroques, espagnols… Il y a quelque temps, des journaux anglais et allemand ont écrit : « En pensant à Palerme, l’Europe devrait avoir honte. »

Aujourd’hui, je dis que j’ai honte d’être européen, quand on voit le sort qui est fait aux migrants. Je suis européen mais, dans les valeurs migratoires, je suis surtout palermitain. Nous sommes responsables d’un génocide en mer Méditerranée. Nos petits-fils nous diront qu’on a tué des milliers de personnes. Et nous ne pourrons pas dire que l’on ne savait pas.

Vous sentez-vous plus palermitain qu’européen ?

C’est parce que je suis fier d’être européen que je me permets de mal parler de l’Europe quand elle fait des erreurs. Mon premier ennemi est celui qui a la même identité que moi. Mon ennemi, ce n’est pas l’imam rigoriste qui soutient les terroristes, mon ennemi, avant lui, c’est le cardinal catholique qui soutient les mafiosi.

Quel regard portez-vous sur l’accueil des migrants en France ?

Aujourd’hui, en France, les migrants ne pensent pas avoir trouvé leur nouvelle maison. Il y a un vrai problème, car, si je ne pense pas être chez moi, pourquoi me lèverai-je pour défendre une maison qui n’est pas la mienne ?

Je ne défends pas la maison où je pense qu’il ne m’est pas possible de vivre, je ne défends pas la maison de mon ennemi. Je pense que c’est la situation dans laquelle est bloquée la France. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi la France a changé.

Parlez mal de Palerme, de sa mafia, mais en même temps, s’il vous plaît, parlez mal de la France ! Une Europe des droits ne peut pas exister sans la France, il faut que la France change de position sur les migrants.

Nous vivons dans un temps qu’on appelle la globalisation, avec une mobilité financière, une mobilité industrielle, une mobilité économique…

Mais comment peut-on penser pouvoir vivre dans un monde qu’on dit globalisé sans une mobilité des êtres humains ?

Les migrants ont donné un visage à la globalisation, parfois tristes, parfois heureux, mais ils ont donné un visage. Avant, la globalisation était égoïste, financière. Aujourd’hui, il faut remercier les migrants pour avoir donné un visage à cette globalisation.

Beaucoup de personnalités appellent à une coopération plus importante entre les pays européens d’accueil des migrants et les pays d’Afrique d’où ils partent. Qu’en pensez-vous ?

En tant que maire de Palerme, j’ai beaucoup de relations avec les maires africains. Fin septembre, j’ai signé un nouveau jumelage avec Grand-Bassam, en Côte d’Ivoire. Nous avons des relations avec des maires libyens, des maires tunisiens, marocains…

Je crois qu’il est nécessaire d’aider ces maires et ces pays, de les aider pour permettre à leurs habitants de participer au développement de leur pays sans avoir besoin de venir en Europe.

Les migrations ne sont pas un problème sicilien, il est tragique qu’on pense comme cela aujourd’hui. C’est un problème européen, c’est un problème mondial.

Comment voyez-vous la Sicile dans dix ans ?

Est-ce que cela sera un problème s’il y a plus d’Italiens d’origine africaine que de natifs italiens ? Non. Est-ce que cela sera un problème si quelqu’un peut dire un jour : « La majorité des Palermitains ne sont pas nés à Palerme » ? Non. Palerme est une ville migrante. Nous sommes une ville multiculturelle, comme Beyrouth, comme Istanbul.

Migration is a fundamental human right:

Mankind basic acquired law since his inception

I believe in a human right to migration, as fundamental as the right to freedom of expression, or freedom from discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion or sexuality.

I have come by this belief by migrating myself. (I’m inclined to prefer the terms migrant and migration to immigrant and immigration: the latter two seem to privilege the country of arrival; every immigrant is also an emigrant, and migrant encompasses both.)

Mohsin Hamid:

why migration is a fundamental human right

Born in Pakistan and educated in the US, Mohsin Hamid has made a home in the UK. He explains why he longs for a world without borders

Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid in Lahore, Pakistan.

I was born in Pakistan. And I live in Pakistan. But when I was three I moved with my parents to Silicon Valley in California. I returned to Pakistan when I was nine for a decade, then spent most of my 20s on America’s east coast and most of my 30s in London.

I possess a British passport and once possessed an American green card.

My life has come full circle, geographically speaking. Twice.

Most of my education has been in the American system. I suspect this has contributed to my discomfort with a great deal of what I see practised around me in Pakistan.

I have friends who are non-Muslim; non-Muslims are legally persecuted here.

I have friends who are gay; homosexuality is legally proscribed here.

An African friend once told me after visiting that Pakistan was among the most blatantly racist places he had ever been.

Pakistani laws discriminate against women.

Pakistani courts fail to deliver any semblance of due process. Pakistani presidents are frequently unelected generals. My largely American-educated self is continually brimming with disappointment.

Yet my largely American-educated self is profoundly disappointed by America, too.

This is partly because the US’s bellicose excesses in foreign policy become more visible the closer you are to where American bombs are hitting the ground. But it is also because I studied American history with American teachers and American law with American professors.

From them I learned about manifest destiny, the notion that Americans were destined to migrate west until they had settled the entire continent; about the melting pot, uniting people of all races, ethnicities and creeds into one nation; about a country of immigrants, with this poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed at the base of its Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon- hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest- tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Migration and equality are intertwined at the heart of the US’s story of itself.

As the vast migration to America continued, this story goes, the equality offered by America grew. So it was that the US Declaration of Independence could declare only “that all men are created equal”, but a century and a half later, women too would be granted the vote.

So it was that the US Constitution could openly tolerate slavery, but within one century slavery would be outlawed – and within a second some of slavery’s most toxic residues would be partially mitigated by the famed civil rights movement of the 1960s, the decade before my birth.

And yet, in my lifetime, as someone who has often lived in America, I could see, more and more, a new category of person there, neither slave nor free.

They were everywhere and they numbered in their millions: illegal immigrants.

How, I wondered, was such a thing possible? Surely all Americans were immigrants. Yet legally, it now seemed, not all immigrants were Americans, and as the caste of “illegals” swelled in the closing years of the 20th century and initial years of the 21st, the overall inequality of American society began to grow, too.

If the US distances itself from the human right of migration, the tenor of the dominant story of America changes.

For America’s story is also, frighteningly, a story about the genocide of the pre-Columbian population, a story about the importation of disenfranchised underclasses, initially from Africa and more recently from Latin America, and a story about the quest for unrivalled economic and military dominance around the world.

Such a revised story sits uncomfortably with those equality aspiring institutions that America already has.

This has inevitably led to a crisis. And this crisis helps explain why America is flailing today: America has become incoherent.

An America that denies the human right of migration can no longer be the America it imagines itself to be, because it can no longer champion equality. It can no longer claim to be exceptional. It can no longer believe in being its own best self.

America’s greatest hope lies where it always has: with the homeless, tempest-tossed to that golden door.

And migration is the half-forgotten core of Britishness as well. I migrated to the UK 13 years ago, not expecting to remain long. I thought I would experience London for a year, then return to New York.

But I found London remarkably open to migrants, to dissent, to creativity. I stayed for the better part of a decade, becoming a naturalised citizen in the process. I made a home for myself in Britain, wrote a novel there, worked in business there, got married there, had a child there.

Anti-migrant sentiment was always present, but for a while in the early noughties it seemed it was waning, that a new, more cosmopolitan Britain was being born.

Alas, times have changed.

Sovereignty seems to be the rage in Britain these days. But this sovereignty, at its heart, is imagined not merely as more rights for people in Britain, but as more rights for those whose ancestors have been in Britain longer.

In nativist-sovereign Britain, the plumber of Bulgarian citizenship is a plausible candidate for expulsion. In nativist-sovereign Britain, the British woman with Bangladeshi parents is a problem to be solved.

Surely the dangers of such an outlook are self-evident.

What becomes of Northern Ireland under such a concept of sovereignty?

What becomes of Scotland, which has been ruled from London for less time than England has?

What of the migrant-peopled dominions of Gibraltar and the Falklands?

Treating nativist sovereignty as a virtue, and migration as a crime, threatens to make the United Kingdom dysfunctional.

For Britain, too, is a land of migration, indeed of extreme migration. Without migration, the human population of these and all other islands would be zero.

Without migration, the English language would not exist.

There would be no Commonwealth without migration – no Canada, no Australia, no New Zealand – for without migration there would have been no empire.

And without the British empire there would be precious little of the accumulated wealth and knowledge underpinning the industries on which the British economy is now based.

But as a British person who reads the press of my own (British) country, I encounter a sadly predictable narrative. It sums up the last couple centuries of world history as follows. When a Briton goes abroad, he or she is a hero. When someone else tries to come to Britain, he or she is a villain.

It is not a take on history that suggests future greatness. It suggests instead a retreat into fear and insularity. It deserves more robust challenges than it has received thus far.

The deepest threat Britain faces comes not from migration. It comes from the relentless transfer of wealth and opportunity from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, a transfer masked and rendered temporarily palatable by the chest-thumping of resurgent nationalism and the paper gains of credit-fuelled property prices.

Britain and America are by no means unique in denying the human right to migration. All wealthy democracies do much the same. China and some other countries even restrict the migration of their citizens within their own borders.

This problem must be addressed. The scale of migration we will see in the coming centuries is likely to dwarf what has come before. Climate change, disease, state failure, wars: all these will push hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, to leave one country for another.

If we do not recognise their right to move, we will be attempting to build an apartheid planet where our passports will be our castes, and where obedience will be enforceable only through ever-increasing uses of force.

There is another way. We can recognise the human right to migration. We can recognise that we are ourselves, all of us, doubly migrants. We are migrants historically: our ancestors came from somewhere else, and originated, long ago, in the same spot in Africa.

And we are migrants personally: life is the experience of moving through time, of abandoning each present moment for the next, of temporal migration.

Acknowledging this, we can accept that we have no right to forbid or stigmatise migration. We have only the power to try to do so. And we ought to endeavour to use that power as little as we can manage, less and less over time, for we are using it to deny the human rights of others.

It is we, those who stop migration, who are the criminals, not those who are migrants.

And slowly, at a pace that does not terrify us, but whose direction is clear, we must gradually let go, and allow things to change. Only in doing so can we hope to build a world in accordance with the values we claim to believe in – liberty, equality, democracy – and wash clean the taste of hypocrisy that burns so bitter in so many of our mouths.

I imagine that centuries hence, when people are finally free to move as they please around the planet Earth, they will look back at this moment and wonder, just as we wonder about those who kept slaves, how people who seemed so modern could do such things to their fellow human beings, caging them like animals – merely for wanting to wander, as our species always has and always will.

Mohsin Hamid’s Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York and London is published by Hamish Hamilton on Thursday at £16.99.

And you complain your neighbor is an immigrant?

Dave Lim shared Howard Farran DDS, MBA‘s photo. this May 10, 2014
 
Your car is German. Your vodka is Russian. Your pizza is Italian. Your kebab is Turkish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together.
Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin.
And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant?
Pull yourself together.

A Way out of History? (May 7, 2009)

            The citizens of the developed Nations, within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history especially, their own history.  History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation. Why is this feeling?

First, they have reached a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights that reduce historical accounts of injustices to redundant stories.

Second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs such as maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes.  These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the under-developed States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States. The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the under-developed world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity.

History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquisher and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers. The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit. 

The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day.  History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration in commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to filling him in on current news and occasionally, getting a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors.  Yes, the immigrant might know more details on the developed citizen’s ancestors and the history of this citizen’s country.  In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants; usually, getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if no bickering accompanies the assembly of immigrants.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants. They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws. The immigrants are overachiever, hard-working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the “developed” citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend.  The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate.  The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant.  A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual.  The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application; the immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant. 

The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs.  Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their under developed States.

Learning seriously the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship. Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. 

Make no mistake:  Any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”.  Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.

In Want of Labors? (May 25, 2009)

You barely hear any politician discussing the entrepreneurial activities of immigrants and their real contributions to the global economy of their States.  In general, academic and social studies of immigrants tend to classify immigrants in relational database for rational general comprehension though researchers know that these are easy and dirty shortcuts and could exacerbate communication and strengthen covert apartheid tendencies. One simple way to study differences among immigrants could be by using one binary trading factors and one binary identity conservation factor. 

The economic factor can be stated as “Is it important to establish and maintain relationships in your business with other dominant groups in your new society?” The other factor can be stated as “Is it important to conserve your identity and its cultural characteristics when dealing with dominant groups?”  From these two questions (of yes or no) it is possible to have four major groups among entrepreneurial immigrants.

 

The first group of immigrants expands its business ventures toward the autochthones while hanging on to its roots in culture and customs.  These families are labeled the integrated new comers because they are dealing with their new citizens and still are feeling very much morally stable and balanced within the new environment. There are statistics that tend to the 60% ratio among immigrant enterprises.

 

The second group of immigrants opens its enterprises to the citizens but decided to burn ships with its original identity and cultural characteristics in order to feel completely assimilated in the new environment. This group is going to fight hard to have this fictitious feeling of being assimilated believable and might exercise pressures on its offspring to staying clear of its “own kind”.

 

The third group of immigrants can neither interact with the citizens and are disgusted of mingling with the community of origin that remind it of its failure and blame it on its current miseries. This group is labeled the marginal immigrants and they could be potential threats for laws enforcers when neglect, biases, and brutality become common perception among the immigrants..

 

The fourth group of immigrants separates from the citizens and transact within a fictitious ghetto that they constructed and walled its life within it.  Within this group of “separatists” many came with a mind fix of temporary stay until political or economic conditions in their home States change; conditions that usually drag on and the parents reluctantly hope that their offspring will have varieties of opportunities to finally integrate their new Nation.  Many had no choice because ghettos are definitely cheaper and easier on the nerves for the starting phase toward integration.  In general, ghettos are readily available pools for cheaper labors than autochthones when projects on large scales are contemplated such as the Chinese when laying train tracks crossing the Atlantic to the Pacific or building gigantic dams.

 

After the Second World War, Germany welcomed the Kurdish workforce arriving by trains with fanfare and official bands: badly ruined Germany needed to reconstruct the country.  Currently, Germany thinks that it finished reconstruction and has no idea how to repatriate the Kurds of Turkey.  Germany is offering to finance private enterprises in the Kurdish regions for any Kurdish family willing to return.  The catch is: would anyone not feeling secure and safe in his homeland return to experience the same calamities?  Would Germany re-welcome any Kurds if political conditions deteriorate in “Kurdistan”?

 

Sarkosy of France advocated during his campaign for Presidency that immigrants are economically beneficial when they are well selected. It turned out that Sarkosy meant those human with functional thumbs and trained since childhood to suffer in the fields and construction projects.  Sarkosy is ready to welcome domesticated human beast of burden or maybe those who are highly educated with very rich parents.

 

Construction workers have been erecting a large building next to our home for 6 months. Rain or shine, they are at it from 7 a.m. till pouring concrete is finished, even if they have to work 14 hours.  They are not stronger than average people but they were trained since childhood to suffer and sustain aches and pains. Most probably their fathers were also in construction and they were tempted by quick cash disbursement above average wage rates. Unless they were not injured at the job site, the fathers tend to refuse admitting that it was the nature of the job that is crippling the flexibility of their joints by the age of 40 and experiencing constant pains and aches in their cartilage and spine.

A Way out of History (May 7, 2009)

 

            The citizens of the developed Nations, within their own boundaries, feel that they have no longer any need to learn history or their own history.  History to the citizens of the developed nations is a drag, a waste of time, of no use, totally irrelevant. They are mostly correct in their feeling and appreciation of the uselessness of history relevant to their nation: first, they have reached as a society a level of social cohesion, awareness, appreciation of human dignity and human rights; and second, they are more concerned about their present state of affairs, maintaining their current level of comfort, consumerism choices, creating diverse opportunities, future availabilities for their desires and wishes.  These modern citizens have institutions to continue the good work; institutions to analyze whatever history is appropriate for the nation, institutions for research, for legitimacy, for governance, for economy, for finance, for strategic studies, for learning, for art, for marketing, and for studying the under-developed States and minorities.

History for the citizens of the developed nation is plainly relegated to the under-developed States. The Third World and Fourth World “citizens”, (we should create another term for citizenship for the under-developed world because it is frankly too pompous and inappropriate any which way you define a citizen), have nothing left but “history” for amusement and to give them reference to an illusory identity. History for the “history citizens” has been written by the vanquishers and then translated and interpreted by the colonial powers. The archeological sites in the land of the “amused archaic citizens” were dug out and investigated by the colonial powers and the artifacts were dusted off, cleaned, and conserved in secured museums that the traveling tourists and immigrants never visit.  The chasm between the developed and the “non-developed” States is huge and growing larger by the day.  History is still being taught in the developed nations simply because more immigrants are flocking in and some sort of integration in commendable.

More likely, a citizen would visit an immigrant friend to fill him in on current news and occasionally get a good laugh on stories of their respective ancestors; yes, the immigrant might know more details on the citizen’s ancestors and the history of the citizen’s country.  In fact, hard copy dailies are published to satisfy the voracious curiosities of the immigrants. Storytelling is a cultural trademark among immigrants and getting together is worthless and devoid of any interest if no bickering accompanies the assembly.

If there are rival “civilizations” it must be in the mind of the immigrants. They are attuned to any gesture, tone of voice, slang, or posturing that remind them of their “indignity”, their frequent humiliations, their total dependence on the host nation for understanding, leniency, forgiveness, compassion, and equal treatments under the laws. The immigrants are overachievers, hard working, on constant alert of changes in behavior and special laws, on foreign policies regarding their “homeland”, on unequal measures doled in foreign policies and moral values.

“Civilization clash” is in the mind of the immigrant: the citizen doesn’t care about the agony and tribulation of his immigrant friend.  The immigrant is a sponge for all kinds of curiosities in art, theater, intellectual life, and any association that invites him to participate.  The immigrant is most likely polyglot and can converse in many languages and he has to suffer being mocked for his accent in the local slang; he has to be corrected frequently because accent is the main avenue for integration and acceptance as a civilized individual.

Discrimination is in the mind of the immigrant.  A citizen would immediately recognize an immigrant for miles if he cared to focus a second on the individual.  The citizen in an administrative position has to call upon the cleric, the community leader, or the father of the immigrant before taking any decision for any kinds of permit application; the immigrant is supposed to be looked after as an immature kid no matter how old he is. Equal treatments are the domain of the citizens and interpretations of the law and customs are appropriate when dealing with an immigrant.  The whole gamut of the UN laws for human rights were targeted for the under-developed States that are shaming human kinds in their state of affairs.  Yet, many “non-citizens” would like to experience a new era when embargoes on military hardware, military trainers, and military experts are imposed on dictators, juntas, and oligarchies who are flaunting the UN human rights declarations in their under developed States.

Seriously learning the language of your immigrant friend is the first sign of real friendship. Blatantly observing the differences in culture and customs is an excellent sign of friendship. Vigorously and unabashedly critiquing divergence in opinions is sign of friendship. Make no mistake: any behavior that smack of covert apartheid is quickly sensed by your immigrant “friend”.  Make no mistake: the next generation of your immigrant friend will be exactly you, when you were younger. If you are serious for integration of your immigrant friend then behave as if you are dealing with the next generation, on a par.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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