May. 17th, 2006

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From World Net Daily commentator Vox Day's article "Against the fence", regarding American immigration policy and the possibility of mass deportations.

"[...] [Bush] lied when he said: 'Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work.'

"Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society."

Um, yes.
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Dinner Monday night with J. at The Sidharta (1450 Gerrard Street) was excellent. Buffet places are good; good buffet places are excellent. Now all I need to do is develop the appropriate critical apparatus for Indian food, i.e. discover what Indian cuisine is all about.

Does anyone have any recommendations as to how I should do this? Does anyone have any particularly favoured texts, perchance? I want to learn more.
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Toronto's fab features, in an issue noting the 20th anniversary of the Fashion Cares fashion show/AIDS fundraiser, a reprint of Andrew Holleran's 1983 short story "Journal of the Plague Year".
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In today's edition of The Globe and Mail, Doug Saunders has written ("Political star stripped of citizenship" about the effective lustration of former Dutch citizen and former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She lied on her refugee papers, and now, notoriously strict Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has removed her physical presence from the Dutch polity.

Her falsehoods were of a sort committed by many refugee claimants. Rather than coming to Holland directly from Somalia in 1992, as she had told officials, she had come first to Germany with a forced-marriage husband, a Canadian cousin, then left him and fled on the train to Amsterdam. And she had changed her name on the form -- her real name is Ayaan Hirsi Magan -- to keep her family from finding her.

The Immigration Minister said that, even though the party had known about these falsehoods for years and they had been part of Ms. Ali's official biography, as a party opposed to illegal immigration they had no choice but to force their own star MP out of government.

During an emergency debate over Ms. Ali's citizenship in Dutch parliament yesterday, Ms. Verdonk defended the move: "I understand my colleagues' emotions, but we're living in a country that prides itself on respecting the law. Rules and laws apply to everyone, and I'm not making any exceptions."

Even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende seemed shocked, saying he was "surprised by the speed" with which his minister acted, though he said she alone was responsible for the matter.

Elsewhere, [ profile] angel80 has noted ("Has Ayaan Hirsi Ali been hounded out of the Netherlands?") the tragedy of the fact that Hirsi Ali was steadily being marginalized from the moment of the assassination of her former colleague Theo van Gogh in 2004, neglected by a left supposedly committed to the universality of freedom and cruelly treated by her allies on the right.

The left deserted her when she spoke out against the Muslim patriarchy. They drove her into the arms of a political party that scarcely sympathised with her for any reason other than her opposition to Shariah. You can hardly blame her for trying to find a niche in politics as a platform from which to expound her ideas. Clearly it was the wrong sort of platform for a person with such a single-minded focus on a single issue. But the options she was given were not very wide either. Now she has fallen into the arms of the American right who will, no doubt, want to use her for the same purpose that her erstwhile party did. I'm not trying to deny her own agency in reaching this situation, but it is scandalous that an immigrant has to join an anti-immigration party and then a radical right-wing think tank in order to put across a feminist message.

This is quite true. It's also quite true, unfortunately, that for many people this commitment to Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment values is only tactical where people of immigrant stock are concerned, that this is used as a cudgel with which to bludgeon outsiders. As Saunders noted, Hirsi Ali isn't the only person of immigrant stock in the Netherlands to be strung up by Verdonk's strict application of the laws:

The harsh turn against immigration in the Netherlands seems to be costing the country many of its most loyal citizens. Earlier this year, Ms. Verdonk insisted on deporting Taida Pasic, a straight-A high-school student who had become a star of her community after arriving as a refugee from Kosovo at age 12. On the grounds that she had applied using the wrong procedure, Ms. Verdonk ordered the girl expelled. Immigration officials handcuffed her in front of her classmates and deported her, two months before her final exams.

Ms. Ali has somewhat better prospects. She said yesterday that she had taken a job with the American Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Washington.

The law applied without room for mercy leaves those people with social capital better off than those people without. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." Here's to the forlorn hope that, one day soon, a bit of this majestic equality will be shed for humanity's sake, by which I mean to say for the sake of the Other.
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The recent visit of Canada's Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to her Haitian homeland has received quite a lot of attention, both in Canada and in Haiti. Jean's visit has taken on the character almost of a Horatio Alger story's ending, of a woman driven out of her homeland by oppression who has returned a success.

As her Dash-7 plane began its descent over verdant hills and into Jacmel's airport yesterday, Governor-General Michaëlle Jean looked out the window and began to cry. She wiped her tears away, and told her Rideau Hall staff that she needed time to compose herself.

She did, but it didn't last.

On the tarmac, two little girls in white dresses with matching ribbons in their hair waited to offer flowers, and old friends of her family formed a welcoming party. On this, the final leg of her four-day visit to Haiti, Ms. Jean had landed triumphantly in her spiritual home, and it seemed like all of Jacmel was waiting for her.

"This is where I retrace the steps of my childhood," the Governor-General said on the steaming tarmac, in a voice choked with emotion. "I feel a bit overwhelmed by emotion. It's the most moving moment for me."

Her welcome in Jacmel, the picturesque port town to which she traces her family roots, was worthy of that given a returning hero. It underscored how inspirational a figure she is for the impoverished people of a country where hope is as scarce as three square meals.

All day, Ms. Jean was treated like a superstar. Families squeezed on cinder-block balconies to catch a glimpse of her, and peasants waited on dirt roads in the searing heat. Mothers with children stood on her route with signs reading "Merci, Michaëlle."

Some people didn't know exactly who she was, but they knew she was Haitian, she was successful, and she was now among them.

"We realize that if she can do what she did, so can we," Yaël Talleyrand, 9, wearing a crisp school uniform, said as she waited to meet the Governor-General at the airport. "When most Haitians leave the country, they forget they're Haitians. We're proud of her because she didn't forget Haiti."

Jean, incidentally, is perhaps the most prominent member of Canada's Haitian community. This population is overwhelmingly concentrated in Francophone Québec where they make up perhaps one percent of the Québec population, there contributing both to a poor proletariat subjected to racial discrimination and also a highly successful and educated elite. Jean clearly belongs to the latter group, but (hopefully without sounding patronizing) it is nice to know that she has felt able to retain her links with her homeland. Her visit has been compared to Karol Woltyja's post-Papal visit to Poland for a reason.
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