The Immigrants, Again

The Spanish newspaper Publico publishes today an article by Augusto Kappenbach where he analyzes the different social approaches of our contemporary society concerning the immigration.

He criticizes, firstly, the authoritarian perspective that demands for a strict integration of the immigrant, asking him a behaviour that is – paradoxically – not followed by the normal citizen nor by the politicians. But he warns, as well, about the extremely opposite point of view, what he calls a “relativist multiculturalism”, that accepts as a whole the immigrant idiosyncrasy without questioning at all the suitability of their social and individual perspectives.

The sentence that, to me, summarizes his words is a statement that should be understood by all societies:

la verdadera igualdad no consiste en eliminar o disimular las diferencias sino en reconocer la igualdad de derechos entre personas profundamente distintas.

(real equality is not to eliminate or mask the differences but to recognize the equal rights of people profoundly different.)

However, the whole article is worth reading it. It already starts saying:

Los inmigrantes no sirven solamente para ocuparse de trabajos que muchos españoles desprecian o para aumentar nuestra exigua tasa de natalidad: también resultan útiles para cargar con las culpas de nuestros problemas, como el paro o la delincuencia.

(Immigrants are not only useful to take those works that the Spaniards reject or to increase our low rate of birth. They are also useful to take the blame for our problems, like unemployment and crime.)

Other ideas:

Robert Brasilach, un intelectual fascista francés, defendía durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial lo que él llamaba “un antisemitismo razonable”. Nada de campos de exterminio ni pogromos: solo una discriminación civilizada.

“Brasilach Robert, a French fascist intellectual, argued during the Second World War what he called “a reasonable anti-Semitism. ” None of pogroms and death camps: only a civilized discrimination.”

 

Quizás no haya muchas posibilidades de opción. Nos guste o no, nuestras sociedades serán cada vez más multiculturales, independientemente de las políticas inmigratorias.

(“Perhaps there are not many possibilities of choice. Like it or not, our societies are increasingly multicultural, regardless of immigration policies.”)

 

Well, worth it to read the whole article.

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Tarik Ramadan & Slavoj Zizek discussing the Egyptian revolution on Al Jazeera

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Teaching and perception of human

Dear Diary,

I will quote again Scollon & Scollon (2001), because I found a very interesting reflection about how the beliefs of the teacher concerning the nature of human beings (and, more specifically, that of his/her students) affect to his/her teaching style. This goes also for parents, of course.

The important issue for us is not to try to decide whether or not humans are
good or bad; we are more interested in what this issue means for socialization
into a culture or a discourse system. If you assume humans are basically good,
in trying to teach them you will assume that they are trying to do what is right
and that what is needed is to show them the right thing to do. Motivation will
be based on the learner’s own intrinsic desire to do what is right.
On the other hand, if you assume humans are basically evil, in trying to teach
them you will assume that they will do everything they can to distort your
teaching, to turn it to their own mischievous purposes, or to refuse to
cooperate. Motivation of such learners is more likely to be based on
punishment and threats than rewards and promises. In other words, the theory
of education and socialization which is held by a society or within a discourse
system will be based on the more general concept of the good or evil nature of
its members.

Scollon, S. & Scollon, P. (2001):Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach (Language in Society). p. 152

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On perceived history

Dear Diary,

From Scollon & Scollon (2001): p. 128, an interesting thinking about the difference on perception of history in East and West.

Perhaps the clearest difference between East Asian cultures (China, Korea,
and Japan) and so­called western culture is that East Asians have a sense of
having a long, continuous, and unified history, whereas westerners tend to
emphasize the shorter­term political organizations which have arisen since the
Renaissance. An American businessman visiting Korea for the first time, for
example, is almost certain to be told that Koreans have a “5000­year history”
and to be shown Namdaemun and Tongdaemun, the “new” gates to the city of
Seoul, built before the United States was established as a country. The
American, on the other hand, is likely to have little consciousness of his own
cultural roots in the equally distant past of Mesopotamia. He is more likely to
focus on the newness of his culture and the American emphasis on rapid
change and the idea of progress.

PS: I don’t find the complete reference. I come in a while and update the post with the complete reference.

PS2: Here you have the book in Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Intercultural-Communication-Discourse-Approach-Language/dp/0631224181

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What does HOPE mean to you?

¡Obama, Obama, Obama…!

The day has arrived. In some hours, Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States of America. The first black president of this nation’s history. The dream made true.

Everything is ready. The family Bush has already finished to empty the White house from their belongings; the Obamas have travelled in train to Washington, covering the same distance that Abraham Lincoln did a century and a half ago; and, in Washington DC, a crowd awaits impatiently the starting of the epoch-making event. It’s a day of national celebration in the USA.

That this will be a new page for History, no doubt. But in which direction?

What does hope mean to you?, asks the CNN website to its readers in a cartoon. The Real Dude? Not much besides Clever Marketing? A Guide for Cabinet selections? And, in spite of the comical approach, the matter is not trivial. Hope will never have the same meaning for everyone.

A survey question for the readers of CNN.com

A survey question for the readers of CNN.com

What seems true is that new airs of change arrive to the USA with the new president, who restores an improved confidence among the Americans while asking them to work united in these hard times. Obama has managed, in a outstanding post-elections campaing, to inject real adrenaline among his followers, making use of the image of emblematic figures, like Lincoln and Luther King.

However, while the USA seems to have reasons to celebrate, the international projection of this change remains still quite a mystery. Something is clear: whatever Obama does, he will never be able to do it worst than what Bush did. Because now, we are facing the arrival of an independent president, more interested in justice than in power. Goodbye to Bush and goodbye to fear, or not?

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Who will save Israel from itself?

Article by Mark LeVine on AlJazeera.net


One by one the justifications given by Israel for its latest war in Gaza are unravelling.

The argument that this is a purely defensive war, launched only after Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire has been challenged, not just by observers in the know such as Jimmy Carter, the former US president who helped facilitate the truce, but by centre-right Israeli intelligence think tanks.

soldado

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, whose December 31 report titled “Six Months of the Lull Arrangement Intelligence Report,” confirmed that the June 19 truce was only “sporadically violated, and then not by Hamas but instead by … “rogue terrorist organisations”.

Instead, “the escalation and erosion of the lull arrangement” occurred after Israel killed six Hamas members on November 4 without provocation and then placed the entire Strip under an even more intensive siege the next day.

Continue here.                

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And, at the end, is anyone going to explain Israel that killing more than 1000 people is not proper?

The war on Gaza has reached today to its 20th day.

The Palestinian list of dead is surpassing already the 1000 (ONE THOUSAND), without counting the bombarding of the UN headquarters, this morning, where some 700 Palestinians were seeking for refuge.

Meanwhile, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are competing for hosting the Peace Summit. The important now is not to stop the bloodshed, but to decide who’s going to take the biggest piece of the cake, even if their efforts in promoting the pacification has been, until the moment, conspicuous by its absence.

So sad, but true.

The war will finish when the Israeli beast will satisfy its blood thirst. The Palestinian will bury their dead. The Summit, that will arrive too late, will take place and conclude without any strong statement. The Western countries will send food and will help to clean the blood. And the situation will go back to calm again, without great changes with regard to how it was before.

But what about all the dead? Is anyone going to punish the murder? Is anyone going to explain Israel, at least, that killing more than 1000 people is not proper? I am afraid not…

 

Children pay price of Gaza war (Picture from aljazeera.net)

 

 

 

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¿Buy to live… or live to buy?

Dear Diary,

Modern life has reduced itself in a vicious cycle around consumerism. We work to buy things than soon “become old”, so we have to work more to buy more… and then the tv, and the people, and the fake expectations of happiness… And it never ends!

 

Annie Leonnard has spend 10 days of her life travelling around the world to see in person the nature of consumption. Now, her conclusions are compiled into 20 amusing and insightful minutes in a video (The Story of Stuff) that covers the madness of consumerism, since the extraction to the sale, use and disposal of stuff, making a special focus on its effect in daily life through its social, economic and environmental consequences. Here you have an example of the video…

 

 

And here the whole 20-minutes film and project.

Enjoy it and take your time to think about the issue in depth!

 

Take care!

N.

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The Jew pacifist minority

Dear Diary,

Today is the 16th day of the criminal aggression of the State of Israel against the defenseless Strip of Gaza. The number of dead oversteps the 800 and the one of wounded goes over the limit of 3000. The humanitarian disaster continues, while some media looks tired of offering the same news, and the diplomatic efforts brush the bounds of exhaustion.

Yesterday, the mood of those following the conflict was flooded by helplessness after reading the news of the US resupplying Israel with ammunition through Greece and discovering the strong relation of Obama with the Zionist movement. About this last issue, we can extensively talk another day. 

Now, to restock the positive energy and hope, we can dive into an article published last November by The Guardian Weekly, about a peaceful minority in Israel. Under the title of “We are all guests in God’s land“, the text reflects the story of a man of wisdom inhabiting among all this madness.

I am one of the settlers, a Jew who prefers his connection to the land than his connection to the state. I believe this is the definition of a settler,

starts telling Rabbi Menachem Froman, the white-bearded old man, to continue explaining his perception about the politics of the Zionist beast and the historic arrogance of the Jewish community.

 

Toni Oloughlin

Rabbi Froman with his wife Hadasah.

 

 

My nation is famous for its arrogance. God has sent us his prophets again and again, and gave us the Torah because he wants us to change. But my beloved nation still has the same problem.

(…) From my point of view, the whole purpose of Zionism is to heal my nation from its minority complex. Many times we have been a suppressed minority in the world, and it’s natural for men to react to suppression by being arrogant. I think that when the Jews come to their land, to their natural homeland, we can fight our arrogance and learn to be modest as men have to be.

I have to admit that the speech of this man has, certainly, made me think. It is not common to listen a Jew recognising the arrogance of his people. I believe that his point of view deserves some attention and must be an interesting one for us to analyse, a reasonable meditation that can help us to better comprehend and regain the believe in hope and justice. Nothing has never been black or white, right?

Hillel, a Jewish sage, was once asked by a non-Jew to summarise the whole Torah in one sentence standing on one leg, which he did with a verse from Leviticus: you have to love your neighbour as you love yourself. The Palestinians are my neighbours. So it is the essence, it is the Torah on one leg to love the Palestinians.

Doesn’t it make you dream that there might exist the good Jew, the authentic one, the one that has correctly interpreted the words of their holly book?

I wonder if others would believe, like I do, that the construction of bridges with this kind of people, should make part of a serious interest of analysis, and the possibility that this would enrich our societies and give us power to fight against the monster of Injustice.

Take care,

N.

PS: You can read the whole article that I’m referring to here.

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Robert Fisk: “Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask”

Dear Diary,

I have just read the last article written by Robert Fisk, the British jornalist expert in the Middle East, and I strongly recommend its reading. Taking as a central discussion point the attack of the UN school in Gaza (that caused some 40 dead) Fisk goes over the massacres that Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinian community and the explanations and excuses that were given for each of them.

Some quotation of this article:

Have we forgotten the 17,500 dead – almost all civilians, most of them children and women – in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon; the 1,700 Palestinian civilian dead in the Sabra-Chatila massacre; the 1996 Qana massacre of 106 Lebanese civilian refugees, more than half of them children, at a UN base; the massacre of the Marwahin refugees who were ordered from their homes by the Israelis in 2006 then slaughtered by an Israeli helicopter crew; the 1,000 dead of that same 2006 bombardment and Lebanese invasion, almost all of them civilians?


What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. “Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties,” yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night’s butchery on their hands. Had George Bush had the courage to demand an immediate ceasefire 48 hours earlier, those 40 civilians, the old and the women and children, would be alive.


And our leaders will huff and puff and remind the world that Hamas originally broke the ceasefire. It didn’t. Israel broke it, first on 4 November when its bombardment killed six Palestinians in Gaza and again on 17 November when another bombardment killed four more Palestinians.

Read the whole article here, and the whole collection of his articles in The Independent here.

Take care,

N.

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