Ethan Casey is a Seattle-based international journalist, frequent public speaker, and author of Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The News: "Tear down that wall"

My column this week for the Pakistani daily The News is on the immigration issue in the US, a topic I had been meaning to treat for several weeks. I found a fresh angle - my softball team:

"Mexico and Mexicans have been much in the news lately, here in the USA. Many Americans think it's a good idea to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and some anti-immigrant vigilantes are rumoured to have impersonated Border Patrol officers. Two waves of huge, assertive marches by illegal immigrants and their supporters in cities nationwide seem to have seized the initiative in the public debate over immigrants and their role and rights in US society away from reactionaries in Congress, and may have launched a durable movement.

"To some Americans, that movement is offensive or terrifying. To me it's bracing. ..."

The full column is online here.

1 comment:

Chitra said...

You say " ... it's not the society that's small-minded and mean-spirited, only the clique that's been bullying the rest of us for five years." I agree.

But as a first- generation immigrant from India, I often wondered about the leaden ignorance of the citizens of this most resource-blessed nation on Earth. This year, I discovered where it comes from.

In examining the class handouts and notes from a sixth grade social studies teacher, I was horrified to find the most incredibly twisted approach to introducing impressionable children to other cultures. Negative aspects of these cultures were culled, catalogued and presented to the exclusion of anything redeeming !

Just think what would happen to the United States if the majority of its children grew up to be intolerant and mindless baboons like Bush and his brigade, completely ignorant of the world outside their private ballpark and scoreboard -- and proud of it to boot.

People ascribe the decline of America to immigrants of color, when in fact they are the very reason for its primacy in many fields. In reality, the sucking sound you hear is that of Primary and Secondary Education swirling down the drain, as more teachers who can't spell, can't think, can't cope, are deployed to teach this nation's children. The best and brightest educators flee the pressures and pathetic salaries in five years.

Our politicians would rather spend billions on waging war than investing a few millions to develop and strengthen education. Grandiose laws like No Child Left Behind remain largely unfunded mandates, and actually work to undermine schools in the poorest districts.

If the educational system continues in this direction, America will be producing many more dead intellects content to let all reason and resolution proceed from the barrel of a gun.