American Renaissance, July 2005
A Volatile Mix
Many Gypsies and Algerians live in Perpignan, a French town near the Spanish border. They do not get along. Algerians say Gypsies carry illegal weapons and steal, and that the police do nothing about it. They also claim town politicians discriminate against Arabs in order to get the Gypsy vote.
On May 22, Mohamed Bey Bachir, a 28-year-old Algerian, caught a 14-year-old Gypsy, known only as “Ketchup-Mayonnaise,” stealing his car radio. After an angry exchange, Ketchup-Mayonnaise threw a rock, which broke a tail-light on the car. Mr. Bachir drove away, but came back armed with a box-cutter. Ketchup-Mayonnaise called his cousins, and a gang of 10 to 20 met the Algerian with clubs, metal pipes, and golf clubs. Mr. Bachir slashed one of the Gypsies across the cheek with his box-cutter and fled, with Gypsies in pursuit. He hid in a cafe owned by an Algerian, but no one helped him because everyone was afraid of club-wielding Gypsies. They found Mr. Bachir in the cafe and beat him to death. Witnesses claim to have seen nothing, but police have managed to arrest six attackers. Ketchup-Mayonnaise, who has a record of 19 previous arrests for theft going back to age eight, was picked up only for attempted theft.
On May 29, someone shot and killed an Algerian named Driss Ghaib who was standing on his doorstep, and escaped in a waiting car. Algerians immediately blamed Gypsies. Police are saying nothing about the killer or his motive.
After this second murder, 100 to 200 Algerians marched into the Gypsy neighborhood with steel bars, baseball bats, Molotov cocktails, and even swords. They burned 50 cars and damaged more than 100 shops. Shots were fired, and eight people were injured in the violence. Police arrested 34 rioters. The day after the riots, schools were closed, and so many Gypsies had left town that the streets in the Gypsy quarter were deserted. One thousand police officers patrolled the streets. Algerians vowed to start carrying weapons like the Gypsies, and predicted that the worst was yet to come. [Karim Kettani, “Maintenant, On Va Faire Comme Les Gitans, On Va S’armer,” Libération (Paris), May 31, 2005. Gilbert Laval, Un Équilibre Fragile Entre Deux Populations Fragiles, Libération (Paris), May 31, 2005. Tensions Entre Maghrébins et Gitans Après le Meurtre de Perpignan, Le Monde (Paris), May 26, 2005.]
The Curious Kyrgyz
Wife-abduction is an ancient Kyrgyz custom still practiced today. More than half of Kyrgyz marriages begin with abduction. Sometimes this is just an elopement, but often a man takes his wife violently. According to recent surveys, more than a third of Kyrgyz brides are carried off against their will. The practice has been illegal ever since the Soviets took over, but the law is rarely enforced, and most Kyrgyz do not know wife-snatching is illegal. The occasional prosecutions are usually for assault or rape, not kidnapping. The danger for Kyrgyz women begins in their teens, and some university students wear wedding rings or head scarves to make men think they are married.
One reason for abduction is that it is cheaper than paying the standard bride price, which can be as much as $800 plus a cow, but Kyrgyz men also think making off with a woman is proof of masculinity. Usually a group of male relatives makes the snatch, with the bridegroom well lubricated with alcohol. Many women protest furiously but 80 percent eventually accept their fate; often their own parents urge them to go along.
Ainur Tairova has been abducted twice, first by a man whom she spoke to for 20 minutes in the tobacco shop where she worked. He asked her for a date, but she turned him down. The next day, as she waited for a bus with two friends, a car pulled up and the men inside offered the girls a ride. One of Miss Tairova’s friends was in on the plot, and urged her to accept. When the car stopped to pick up the man she had met in the shop, she began to scream and choke the driver. Desperate to escape, she told the men she was not a virgin. It was a lie, but the men let her go.
Eventually, Miss Tairova met a suitor whom she liked. She told him she did not want to be abducted, and he promised not to. After several months, he proposed, but she asked for more time. Soon after, she fell for the same trick: Some men offered to drive her to a restaurant, but took her to the house of her suitor’s family. The men had to drag her kicking and screaming into the house. Her parents, however, told her to marry the man. She eventually accepted, and is now happily married. Her husband says he abducted her only because he was afraid someone else would do it first. [Craig S. Smith, Abduction, Often Violent, a Kyrgyz Wedding Rite, New York Times, April 30, 2005.]
When the Border Patrol catches a Mexican illegal crossing the border, he can be back in Mexico in hours. Things are different for non-Mexican border-crossers. International law prevents the Border Patrol from returning them to Mexico; the US has to buy them tickets to their home countries. It takes weeks or even months to arrange travel.
What to do with them in the meantime? Sixteen years ago, when a flood of Central Americans came across trying to escape civil wars, the Border Patrol set up detention centers where they could hold them until they were deported. Today’s Border Patrol lives in such fear of immigration activists it will not set up detention centers for fear of complaints about mistreatment.
Agents therefore usually give non-Mexican border-jumpers notices to appear in court, and release them. The notices mean safe passage through other Border Patrol checkpoints, so illegals call them “permisos,” or “permission slips.” Only two percent then show up for court hearings.
It is to the advantage of a non-Mexican illegal to be caught by the Border Patrol. Besides his permiso, he gets free food and board for the night, and often a ride to the bus station the next morning. Non-Mexican illegals have figured out that the Border Patrol is a welcome wagon; it is common to see them flagging down agents.
Naturally, the number of non-Mexican border-crossers has soared. In 1995, the Border Patrol arrested only 15,000 of them, but in the first eight months of the current fiscal year, they have arrested 85,000. [Jerry Kammer, Loophole to America, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 4, 2005.]
Judge Felix Recio of Brownsville, Texas, has had enough of this. Recently he kept a group of Honduran immigrants in the local jail until space opened up at an immigration facility. “I want you to tell all your friends in Honduras,” he told them, “that if they come through Brownsville, Texas, they will not be paroled into the system, and they will be put in jail and deported.” [World NetDaily.com, Illegals Shocked as Judge Actually Puts Them in Jail, June 6, 2005.]
National Security Quotas
Not even intelligence agencies are exempt from affirmative action. According to Body of Secrets, James Bamford’s 2001 bestseller about the ultra-secret National Security Agency (NSA), hiring and promoting non-whites and women is “among the most sensitive issues facing NSA in the post-Cold War period.”
Although women made up 43.4 percent of the federal workforce in 1993, at NSA they were only 36 percent. Non-whites were 27.7 percent of the federal workforce, but just 11 percent at NSA. In its defense, then-NSA director Adm. John M. McConnell pointed out that the agency’s work was highly technical, involving mathematics, engineering, computer science and linguistics — ”skill areas . . . in which minorities have been traditionally underrepresented.” NSA also had a policy of hiring only the “best and brightest,” which made it hard to recruit non-whites. Adm. McConnell nevertheless directed that one third of new hires be non-white, and the agency actually exceeded that quota by several percent from 1992 to 1996.
Once they were hired, non-whites got other preferences. Non-white women got three chances to advance while white men got one. Whites were angry, and called the new Office of Discrimination Complaints and Counseling “a party organization for blacks.” Many thought promoting inexperienced non-whites to important jobs was a threat to national security. One white, William J. Sonntag, sued the agency, claiming he “was denied consideration for a management position on the sole basis that white males were not being considered for three such jobs in my office.” The government settled with him. Most other whites kept their mouths shut, since the agency retaliated against anyone who complained. It used information gathered in supposedly confidential employee counseling sessions to revoke security clearances — and “losing a security clearance at NSA means losing a job.” [James Bamford, Body of Secrets, Anchor Books, 2002.]
In 1993, two Indians, Adrian Rusch-Guthrie and Simon Roberts, robbed a pizza deliveryman in Everett, Washington. The 17-year-old cousins beat the man with an aluminum baseball bat, causing permanent damage to his hearing and vision. Both pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery, but instead of going to jail they were turned over to a Tlingit Indian tribal court, which in late 1994 banished them for two years to separate campsites on a remote island off the coast of Alaska. The banishment was an experiment to see if tribal justice was more effective rehabilitation for Indians than prison.
Unfortunately, the experiment did not run its course. Mr. Rusch-Guthrie made unauthorized sorties to town, and received visits from relatives and reporters, so a judge sent both men to state prison in Washington. Mr. Rusch-Guthrie went on to a life of crime but Mr. Roberts has since kept his nose clean. [Tony Carroll, Banished Man is Arrested for Assault, Juneau Empire, April 6, 2005. Jim Haley, Banishment Experiment Fails, Herald (Everett, Wash.), April 7, 2005, p. B1.]
Black Bike Weekend
Each year in late spring, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts descend on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for two separate rallies. The first is a Harley-Davidson rally that draws approximately 300,000 mostly white visitors over nine days. The second is the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, known locally as black bike weekend, which brings in more than 250,000 largely black visitors over just three days.
For years, blacks have complained that while the city puts out the red carpet for white bikers, it rolls it up for them. The NAACP has a lawsuit in federal court accusing Myrtle Beach and local businesses of changing traffic patterns, fielding more police, cutting back on business hours, and raising prices during black bike weekend. This year it will set up a hotline so blacks can complain, and plans to send monitors.
The city says the two events are different. The Harley-Davidson rally attracts an older, restrained crowd, and plans events as far as 60 miles from Myrtle Beach. The blacks are concentrated downtown over Memorial Day weekend and are a young, rowdy crowd that leaves a lot of litter. Mark Kruea, a city spokesman, says most of the black bikers spend the weekend cruising up and down the city’s main street. “If we didn’t have a traffic management plan, traffic would not move on Ocean Boulevard,” he says. Crime levels explain the extra police presence. In 2004, police arrested 317 people during the first weekend of the Harley rally, and 673 during the black weekend.
Locals treat the two events differently, too. Most just stay home during black biker weekend. [Heather Vogell, Are Separate Rallies for Bikers Unequal?, Charlotte Observer, May 26, 2005, p. 1A.]
Searching the Woodpile
In 1810, nearly a third of Buenos Aires’s population was black, but by 1887 the number was just 1.8 percent. For years, most Argentines thought the blacks had either died in a yellow fever epidemic in 1871 or had been killed during a war with Paraguay in the 1860s. New research suggests many were absorbed into the white majority.
“Argentina was interested in presenting itself as a white country,” says George Reid Andrews, a professor of Latin American history at the University of Pittsburgh. “Its ideologues and writers put a great emphasis on the yellow fever epidemic and the war, and it was feasible to pretend that the black population had simply disappeared as immigration exploded.” Early political leaders like Juan Bautista Alberdi strongly believed in “the reviving spirit of European civilization” and promoted the image of Argentina as a European country transplanted to South America.
Researchers are using two methods to try to find out what happened. One is DNA analysis, and the other is to go door-to door and ask people if they have African ancestors. The DNA study is easier and more accurate; according to preliminary results, as many as 10 percent of Buenos Aires residents have African ancestry. Getting information door-to-door is much harder. People who are obviously black are the most reluctant to talk about their forebears. “Without a doubt, racial prejudice is great in this society, and people want to believe they are white,” says Miriam Gomes, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires who is part black. “Here, if someone has one drop of white blood, they call themselves white.” [Monte Reel, Argentinian Population’s Genes Hint at Diverse Past, Herald (Miami), May 8, 2005, p. 23A.]
Hispandering in NYC
New York’s Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg is expecting a tough race this fall against his likely opponent, Democrat Fernando Ferrer. Although he got 47 percent of the Spanish-speaking vote in 2001, Mr. Bloomberg fears Mexicans and Puerto Ricans will pull the lever for a fellow Hispanic. He has been trying to fluff up his image by learning Spanish, and works with a tutor almost every day. On May 17, he displayed his new skill in campaign ads. The 30- and 60-second spots, entirely in Spanish, tout his record on crime, education and the economy. The mayor speaks four sentences. These ads came out even before the mayor ran spots in English. “We don’t believe any city or statewide candidate has done Spanish ads first,” boasts campaign spokesman Stu Loeser.
The results remain to be seen. “The courageous mayor’s enunciation is so poor that at the end of the ad, when he’s making his final appeal for voter support, he sounds like he’s asking for mas pollo (an extra helping of chicken) instead of su apoyo (your help),” writes a Hispanic journalist. Still, she gives the “gringo” credit for trying. [David Seifman, Bloomberg’s On a Roll en Español, New York Post, May 18, 2005, p. 2. Sandra Guzman, Gringo Gets Laughs and an ‘A’ for Effort, New York Post, May18, 2005, p. 2.]
Bad for the Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, not just for men but for women as well, and the female death rate varies by race. According to the CDC, black women die from heart disease at a rate 1.4 times higher than white women, 2.1 times higher than Hispanics and Indians, and 2.6 times higher than Asian women. The CDC says that between 1991 and 1995, 22 percent of black women who died of heart disease did so “prematurely,” meaning they died before age 65.
A new study blames this on discrimination. Tene Lewis, a health psychologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, spent four years monitoring 181 black women in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Each year she had them fill out questionnaires on whether they thought they were being ignored or treated disrespectfully. “The women reported discrimination in the form of having poorer service in stores or restaurants, being treated as if they were less smart, or being treated as dishonest,” Dr. Lewis says.
After four years, 60 percent of the women had at least some calcification in the walls of coronary arteries, an early sign of possible heart disease. The researchers then compared the results to the questionnaires, and concluded that black women who faced constant discrimination were 2.8 times more likely to have calcification than women who did not. After controlling for weight and high blood pressure, the rate was still 2.5 times higher. “The more discrimination African-American women experience, the more calcium buildup they have,” says Dr. Lewis. She seems to think it is hopeless to try to change whites. Instead she says society needs to help black women “cope more effectively” with discrimination. [Miranda Hitti, Discrimination May Hurt Heart, FOXNews.com, May 3, 2005.]
Over the last decade, the percentage of whites in the Guilford County, North Carolina, schools has dropped from 57 percent to 45 percent, and Superintendent Terry Grier thinks the district needs “a better understanding of that diversity.” He spent at least $45,000 this year on anti-racist “workshops” run by something called Crossroads Ministry, from Chicago — money many parents and teachers think ill-spent. At least one parent objected when she learned that Crossroads was co-founded by Rev. Joe Barndt, who believes whites are inherently racist.
Crossroads says it encourages people to look at history from the point of view of non-whites in order to uncover “institutional racism.” “We explain that the history and structure of institutes [sic] creates advantages for white society and disadvantages for communities of color,” explains executive co-director Chuck Ruehle, who is white. He says the training is not about how individuals act, but how society is structured. History books written from the white perspective, for example, talk about Christopher Columbus discovering America, whereas Indians would say he was an invader.
Vicki Alston, who runs a similar anti-racism program called Racial Healing, Inc., defends the training, which, she explains, differs from diversity training. Diversity training is about getting along with people of different backgrounds. Anti-racism training “is the tough part. You get in there and you have to get inside yourself and do the analysis and start dealing with the real issues of our society.”
Three hundred teachers have had to take Crossroads training, and many whites resent the assumption that they needed it. They say it is more opinion than fact, a waste of valuable class time, and does nothing to make them better teachers. University of Alabama history professor David Beito was forced to take similar training five years ago. “There’s a lot of emphasis on guilt,” he says. “This is fringe stuff, and they’re trying to force it down people’s throats.”
Superintendent Grier wants to spend another $500,000 on anti-racism training next year. [Jennifer Fernandez, Confronting Racism Through Workshops, News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.), May 22, 2005.]
Not Hate, ‘Ethnic Pride’
May 18 is Haitian Flag Day, a day of protest organized by black college students, Haitian lawyers, and “human rights activists” to denounce foreign (mainly US) involvement in Haiti. Haitians all over the world are supposed to show solidarity by flying the flag. Irvington, New Jersey, is home to 5,000 Haitians, and several Haitian students took flags to Irvington High School. When school let out, American blacks reportedly insulted or desecrated a Haitian flag. Shortly afterwards, a gang of Haitians shot two black students and stabbed two more, in what police are calling an “ethnic pride dispute.” [Jonathan Casiano, Ethnic Dispute Leaves Four Students Injured, Star-Ledger (Newark), May 19, 2005, p. 19.]
No Whites Allowed
Brian Parnell is a social worker with the Kern County Child Protective Services unit in Bakersfield, California. He wants to know why so many black children are in the child welfare system, and thought he could find answers at the National Association of Black Social Workers annual convention, which took place in New Orleans in April. Mr. Parnell flew to New Orleans, but could not attend the convention. “I approached the registration table and was greeted by a very friendly fellow who looked me in the eye and said, ‘Are you black?’” says Mr. Parnell, who is white. “I told him that I’m not and he told me that the conference was only for people who were black.” Mr. Parnell then asked to speak to a conference organizer, a black woman, who told him, “You’re white. You can’t attend this conference.” Nothing in the association’s material said it was open only to blacks.
Mr. Parnell went home and filed a civil rights complaint with the federal government. He is also thinking about suing the association for discrimination. His bosses are considering legal action to recover the cost of his airfare and other expenses, and have vowed never to send another employee to one of its events. (Mr. Parnell went to New Orleans with five black colleagues, all of whom were admitted.)
The National Association of Black Social Workers is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Restricting membership to blacks is a violation of IRS rules. Bakersfield lawyer Richard Papst says that if Mr. Parnell or Kern County sue, the association could lose its exemption. An IRS spokesman says that if it had known the association was only for blacks, it would never have made it tax exempt. [Gretchen Wenner, White Worker Barred Over Race, Bakersfield Californian, May 24, 2005, p. B1. Man Claims Racism at Conference, KGET.com, May 30, 2005.]
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the country’s largest accrediting agency for teacher training programs, requires schools of education to evaluate students on their “commitment to social justice” and “skills related to diversity.” This means education programs sometimes judge teaching students on their politics. The Brooklyn College School of Education is an example. Its mission statement says, “We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism.”
Some students at the school claim this means professors censor students’ views and even prevent them from becoming teachers. In a class on “language literacy,” Prof. Priya Parmar reportedly taught that English was the language of the oppressor, and that teachers should therefore let blacks use “Ebonics” in their schoolwork. In class discussion, Prof. Parmar refused to let students defend standard English. Prof. Parmar also showed the left-wing documentary Fahrenheit 911 in class before the 2004 presidential elections because she wanted her students to see it before they voted. “Basically she’s a socialist, she’s racist against white people,” says one student. “If you want to pass the class, you better keep your mouth shut.” [Jacob Gershma, ‘Disposition’ Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College, New York Sun, May 31, 2005.]
The school newspaper of South Hills High School in Fort Worth, Texas, recently published a story on what students think about having a Hispanic majority at their school. One student’s view was that “Hispanics have a high dropout rate and it is making the school look bad.” Another said, “Too many.” Another just answered, “H.T.B. (Head to the border),” which appears to be a local insult to Mexicans. The journalism teacher responsible for the newspaper, Amy Nelson, tried to black out H.T.B., but a few uncensored copies got through. Miss Nelson put an apology in the next issue, but is on administrative leave pending an investigation. [Amie Streater, Journalism Teacher is Put on Leave, Star-Telegram (Fort Worth), May 24, 2005.]
Blacks and AIDS
According to a recent study by the Rand Corporation and Oregon State University, nearly half of US blacks believe the HIV virus is man-made, more than a quarter think it was cooked up in a government laboratory, and 15 percent are convinced it is part of a genocidal plot to kill blacks. Forty-four percent believe anyone taking new anti-AIDS medications is a government guinea pig. While many whites think the government did not do enough at first to fight AIDS, almost none believes the government deliberately loosed it on the population.
What accounts for the difference? America’s racist past. As the Philadelphia Inquirer explains in an editorial, “there is ample evidence throughout U.S. history for African Americans to be suspicious of government-funded medical research. The most notorious example was the Tuskegee experiment, conducted by the federal government from 1932 to 1972 in Alabama. Scientists told nearly 400 black men they were being treated for syphilis, but secretly withheld the treatment so they could study the progression of the disease. Up to 100 of those men died from it.” [Ease Suspicious Minds (editorial), Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 30, 2005, p. D6.]
The Inquirer is pushing nonsense. According to an investigation published by Prof. Richard Shweder of the University of Chicago last year (see “The Truth About Tuskegee,” AR, March 2004), virtually every popular assumption about Tuskegee is false. The study had the support of black medical authorities to the end, and almost certainly caused no harm to the men who participated in it. The experiment was intended to study the effects of latent stage syphilis, when the disease is no longer contagious and shows no symptoms. By the time they reach the latent stage, most patients will suffer no more effects, even if untreated. It is simply untrue to imply that a quarter of the participants died because they were not treated. Ninety men were still part of the program at the time of the last examination in 1963, and penicillin developed after the experiment began in 1932, would probably have done them no good. By the time the experiment ended, Prof. Shweder suggests the men who were still part of it may well have had life expectancies as high as other black men of the same age who had never had syphilis.
Although they can’t blame the Tuskegee experiment, many South African blacks, including President Thabo Mbeki, believe AIDS is the fault of the white man and not a consequence of black behavior. AIDS is taking a severe toll on South Africa’s working-age population, and many experts believe it threatens the country’s future. One in nine South Africans is thought to have AIDS, and the death toll went from 318,287 in 1997 to 499,268 in 2002, an increase of 57 percent. Among people over age 15, the increase was 62 percent. An estimated one fourth of South African soldiers are infected, and the disease is particularly common among miners. [Andrew Quinn, South Africa’s Death Toll Rises 57 Percent in AIDS Crisis, Reuters, Feb. 19, 2005.]
Dodge City, UK
Almost no one in Britain can own a gun legally, but the country is suffering record levels of gun violence. There were 10,590 firearms offenses in Britain between June 2004 and May 2005, a ten percent increase over the previous year. Seventy people were shot to death and another 430 seriously wounded. More than a third of the gun crimes — 3,653 — were committed in London. April 2005 saw a record number of 49 shootings and 3 killings in London, compared to just 12 in April 2004. Thirty-five of the 49 shootings and two of the three killings were black-on-black. The 14 other shootings may have involved blacks as perpetrators or victims. Police killed one armed black drug dealer. Officers say the rise in gun violence is due to black teenagers shooting each other over trivial disputes, and to wars between rival black drug gangs. [Jason Bennetto, Shootings at Record Levels as Teenagers Turn to Guns, Independent (London), May 11, 2005.]
According to a recent poll, nearly half of the country’s non-whites and immigrants prefer to get news and entertainment from the so-called ethnic media. The survey found that more than half of Hispanic adults, a quarter of Asians and Indians, and 60 percent of blacks and Arabs use some form of ethnic media, which now reaches one quarter of the American adult population. Many people like foreign-language news because they don’t speak English, or they think ethnic media report more news from their homelands and cover things they care about. Hispanics like Mexican soap operas called telenovelas, and music videos that are not quite like anything on American television.
Felix Gutierrez, a professor of journalism at USC thinks ethnic media will continue to grow at the expense of the mainstream. “People pay attention to media that pay attention to them,” he says. “That’s the bottom line.” [Jeremiah Marquez, Poll: Minority Groups Favor Ethnic Media, AP, June 7, 2005.]
Some of the US military’s most important training bases are in the desert along the Mexican border, which means illegal aliens wander onto firing ranges. Colonel James J. Cooney, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, an important combat training center for pilots, says he’s had to close the range more than 500 times since last July. Col. Cooney’s men intercepted 1,500 illegals last year and 1,100 during the first three months of 2005. “We’re getting overrun here,” he explains.
Closing the range to chase illegals has meant a loss of 1,100 hours of training hours. “Any moment we take away from a Marine’s experience base could cost him his life in combat” fumes Col. Cooney. “We just don’t want them here, because we’re firing lasers, we’re shooting machine guns, we’re shooting 20-millimeter cannons, and we’re dropping practice bombs.” Although no illegals have been killed, Col. Cooney fears that that a death would bring training to a halt.
The Army and Air Force have the same problem. A spokesman for the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground — one of the largest military bases in the world and a major weapons-testing base — says smugglers drive illegals up the highway and dump them off, and then “these illegal immigrants stumble right onto our testing range.” An Air Force spokesman says it had to suspend bomb-drop training on a range near Gila Bend 55 times last year because of illegals, for a loss of 122 combat training hours. [Illegals Blocking Marine Training, NewsMax. com, April 14, 2005.]
El Gran Norte Blanco
Canada’s immigration policy is both better and worse than ours. It puts some emphasis on attracting people with skills, but doesn’t care where they come from. On April 19, the government announced a $58 million plan to smooth citizenship applications from people with skills, but also to triple the number of approvals for parents and grandparents of immigrants already in the country. It would also make it easier for foreign college students to become citizens. “Our population is shrinking and getting older,” says David Rosenblatt, a Canadian immigration lawyer. “Canada, in order to survive and grow, needs to get more skilled workers.”
Canadian recruiters now advertise in Mexico, hoping to lure immigrants frustrated by US laws. One company recently ran an ad in a Mexico City newspaper that said “Live in Canada!” and a Canadian immigration law firm promoted Canada on television. The Canadian embassy’s switchboard was jammed. Canadian companies are even wooing illegal Mexicans in the United States. One posted a sign near a place where illegals look for work in Mesa, Arizona, that read, “Come to Canada to work — legally!”
The number of Mexicans legally in Canada increased by 68 percent from 1998 to 2003, from 13,261 to 22,344, but the number there illegally could be many times higher. Unlike the United States, Canada does not require visas — Mexicans just show a passport. The number of Mexican refugees seeking asylum jumped 89 percent between 2000 and 2003, as the US started tightening its rules. Mexico is now the third largest source of refugee claimants in Canada, behind only Pakistan and Colombia.
Many Mexicans are eager to come — some, like Marcos Ramirez Posadas, because they don’t like the US or the way it treats Mexicans. “Canada has its arms open to immigrants, and the United States has its arms closed. It’s as simple as that,” he says. “There are a lot of historical problems between our countries,” he adds. “Canadians are much nicer; they appreciate other countries. I find [Americans] very egotistical.” [Chris Hawley, Canada is Wooing Mexican Immigrants, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), May 3, 2005.]
Strike Up the Band
The Marburg virus is a deadly hemorrhagic fever that spreads through contact with body fluids. There is no cure. The latest outbreak, in northern Angola, has killed at least 194 people, and international medical workers are trying to keep it from spreading. The natives don’t trust Western medicine, and aren’t cooperating. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Doctors Without Borders have warned them not to touch the bodies of victims, but many natives insist on burial rituals that involve hugging the corpse. When WHO workers tried to put a corpse in a body bag for immediate burial, natives drove them away in a hail of stones. Doctors Without Borders has asked a band from Uige, a city in the heart of the affected area, to write a song about the disease with words to explain to locals how to avoid infection. [Casimore Siona, Angola Recruits Musicians to Fight Off Deadly Virus, The Independent (London), April 13, 2005.]