Tag Archives: immigration

Escaping Trump’s America: One Writer’s Harrowing Tale of Survival

trump-011It has been 51 days since Drumpf became president, and I lock the door to my apartment for the final time. It’s a cold day in March, but even my thick coat raises eyebrows as I arrive at the station.

They say Mussolini made the trains run on time, but I’m guessing the strange intricacies that seem to govern the Greyhound buses would’ve sent tears running down the fat, doughy face of the Italian despot. My ticket reads 5:30 to Chicago, No. 302, but the sun is already starting to rise over the desert. All the seats have been taken. I find myself a free spot of ground beneath a leering poster of the president. The bitter morning wind, reeking of diesel fumes and cigarette ash, sends loose papers skittering across the concrete. Discarded ticket stubs, crumpled receipts- a single page that looks like it may have come from some shoolboy’s essay. All decadent, unpatriotic schools have been replaced with Drumpf Universities, where we are to be re-educated to stop thinking like “bimbos” and “losers.”

An hour passes, and the guards return- weak, winter sunlight glittering off of their glossy, golden uniforms. They have proper haircuts- as we all do now. Aryan blonde, brushed forward to cover the parts of our head that absolutely aren’t balding. Any illicit hairstyles will earn you and your barber 80 lashings. They takes measurements our hands, to ensure their proper size. They search my belongings. I’ve prepared for this. Just enough clothes for a three day trip. No money. No passport. Just my mandatory certificate proving native birth and authorized religious beliefs. My papers say that I am going to Houghton to visit a sick friend. I am lucky that I already have documents that show I went to college there- at least, to the Houghton in New York. I do not think I could have afforded to have all my papers forged. Continue reading

Advertisements

A Special Place In Hell For Madeleine Albright

madeleine-albright-and-hillary-clinton“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help women…”

That declaration was by former Secretary of State and (depending on the shift in public perception) former feminist icon Madeleine Albright, speaking at a rally for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

This comment follows close on the heels of feminist Gloria Steinem’s snide remark that the some 82% of millennial women supporting Bernie Sanders were doing so just so they could meet boys, and not long after DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accused the same demographic of “complacency.

And the timing is hardly coincidental. Staggered by a Pyrrhic victory in Iowa and a resounding defeat in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign has been desperately attempting to find a swift end to what will otherwise become a protracted and altogether too-close-for-comfort campaign, and securing the female vote has been the first place to start.

Or at least, such was the intention. Continue reading

Filmmaker Christine Welsh on Tracing Her Heritage in Women In the Shadows

My Canadian studies class recently watched Women in the Shadows, a documentary by feminist filmmaker and professor, Christine Welsh. Not long after we had watched her film Welsh agreed to visit our class for a question and answer period. Below I’ve included a little of what I learned from her film and her visit.

christine20qu27appelle20valley

1101331

Norbert Welsh’s oral history was recorded by Mary Weekes.

In an article detailing her documentary experience, Welsh explains that her interest had been sparked when her mother recovered a copy of The Last Buffalo Hunter, an oral history by her great grandfather, Norbert Welsh. In the film, however, Welsh attempts to recover more information about her great grandmothers, figures who were much harder to trace.

Along her search, Welsh discovers the name of her great grandmother, Margaret Taylor, and Margaret’s mother, Jane. Welsh surmises that Jane was most likely Cree. Jane’s union with George Taylor meant that Margaret was one of the first generations of Metis women. While documentation about women was lacking during early colonization, Welsh was able to uncover some details about her foremothers because of Margaret Taylor’s connection to Hudson’s Bay Company Governor George Simpson.

In the early period of Canadian colonization, Hudson’s Bay employees often took “country wives”. These women, of First Nations or Metis heritage, would create family ties between the explorers and the local community and were often the reason their husbands survived their first few Canadian winters. In Women in the Shadows, Welsh discovers that Taylor had been Simpson’s “country wife” for many years, only to be cast aside by Simpson when he returned from a trip to England with a new white wife.

Continue reading

Why Hillary Shouldn’t Be President

At the time of this writing, the results of the New Hampshire primaries have yet to be tallied. While it’s generally predicated that they’ll reflect a sweeping win for Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, following weeks will see the battle carried on to Nevada and South Carolina, where Sander’s rival Hillary Clinton is polling much stronger.

The war for the White House is far, far from over, but in the Democrat’s camp it’s still surprising that there’d be such a struggle to begin with.

After all, it was supposed to be a cakewalk.

Former first lady, former New York senator, former Secretary of State, former presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton was supposed to have this in the bag. With her extensive political career, her chosen-one status among the party establishment, her global reputation, her nomination was so certain many had dubbed it a “coronation“.

Months into the campaign, and barely scraping by after a virtual tie in Iowa, Clinton’s hopes for an easy win have been obliterated- and yours truly couldn’t be happier about it.

jsc

Am I a Sanders fan?

I’m not sure yet. Continue reading

Bigotry, Borders, and Beyond

Let’s try a little exercise here-

What’s the first image that pops into your head when I say the word “refugee”?

For many, it will be that of displaced African villagers, perhaps with stomachs bloated from hunger, listlessly waiting in line for water in some desecrated wasteland.

For others, it might be more recent images: those of shivering, terrified Syrians, crammed into boats as they prepare to make a perilous voyage across the Mediterranean.

But how many would think of scenes like this?

borderemergency-diowesttxerd

No, that’s not the Balkans or Turkey or Darfour. That’s the Congregational Church of Austin in Texas, barely over a thousand miles from where I’m writing these very words.

The “American Immigration Crisis” has been quietly brewing since 2014, when a sudden surge of migrants- most of them young children– attempted to cross into the US from countries in Central America.

The response by many, as you can probably guess, was less than welcoming-

Across the Southwest (and the country at large), outrage was expressed over these “illegals”, the town of Murietta, CA perhaps serving as the best example. In July of 2014  buses carrying migrant families were protested in a manner that can only be described as repulsive- but I’ll let you watch for yourself and decide:

Continue reading

This Post Contains Pictures of Dead Children

43 years ago, a picture was taken. It captured the moments after a napalm attack on a Vietnamese village. Against a backdrop of smoke a nine-year-old girl runs towards the camera, naked and screaming.

The shock that image’s managed to elicit is credited as having helped end the war, and that photograph has become perhaps the most powerful pictures of the horrors of war ever taken.

Until last Thursday.

That is the body of Aylan Kurdi, 3 years old.

Refugees from the Syrian civil war, Aylans family’s had attempted to escape to Vancouver, only for their application to be rejected by the Canadian government. With nowhere else to turn, the Kurdi family fled to Europe in a final effort to escape. While the Kurdis found passage on a small boat bound for Greece, the vessel was far overloaded with refugees and tipped a few miles off the Turkish coast. Aylan, his brother Galip, and six other passengers (all but one of them children) fell overboard and drowned, their bodies washed ashore to where this heartbreaking picture was taken.

Once again, there are no words. Continue reading

Will The Real Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Please Stand Up?

If you’ve read even a couple of my posts, you’ll probably be able to guess that yours truly is more than a little bit political.

The problem with having political views pretty divergent from the rest of the country is that I often get stuck between two (supposedly) diametrically opposed worldviews who flood my inbox with conflicting petitions. The group whose legalize gay marriage petition I signed fully expects that I’ll jump at a chance to demand a ban on assault rifles, and vice versa.

Today being both inauguration day and Martin Luther King day, the liberal and progressive groups I’ve signed with have naturally been rejoicing like kids on Christmas morning.

Me?

Not so much.

What ticks me off isn’t that Obama is going to be president for another four years (okay, that does tick me off, but no more than any other proposed candidate), it’s all these people attempting to draw lines between what happened earlier today on the steps of the capitol and what happened half a century ago only a short distance away.

Now this certainly isn’t the first time Obama and MLK have been thrown together, and as simple examples of key figures in African American history, there’s really nothing wrong with that. What gets me- what really gets me- is how the two men are imagined as being part of the same great lineage, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What is so often forgotten is that MLK wasn’t simply an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of advancing the cause of civil rights- he was an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of stopping violence. MLK despised conflict, and was one of the staunchest voices of opposition to the Vietnam war. But hey, don’t take my word for it, hear it from the man himself:

Strong words, eh?

Those sentiments of King don’t exactly overlap with those of Obama on the subject of drone strikes and decade-long military occupations. Heck, at 3:40, King straight up declares his views to be biblical- something that the neo-cons and religious right in this country would definitely take issue with. Can you imagine MLK living today?

Well you don’t have to- Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, already has.

Again- regardless of feelings about either MLK or Obama, you can’t deny that the two of them were/are integral figures in American history, but it’s there that the similarities need to stop. Guantanamo Bay was not King’s dream for the country. Same goes for drone strikes, indefinite detention, record deportation rates, and the White House’s inaction on the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

I’m just speculating, but I imagine King’s reaction would look a bit more like this.

And not so much like this:

It’s just something to think about…