Saturday, October 20, 2007

United States of America: The Real Weapon of Mass Destruction

Our country is fueled by anti-immigrant sentiments. Our hard-core conservatives bash other nations with other religions and other political systems, claiming that democracy is the only way, attacking other cultures for things such as Islamo-fascism.

Why are we wrong in closing the borders and citizenship rights to immigrants? Because we force immigration--we force people out of their homes, we bring more danger into their lives than they faced in the first place, and then we criminalize them and make them illegal in our own country, calling them 'economic migrants' and denying many asylum. Yes, NAFTA, CIA coups in Guatemala and Haiti and other countries, and then of course our current war in Iraq.

Here are some some highlights from a very important article posted on ZNET

Since the US and UK forces invaded Iraq in 2003, an estimated 4.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes, the majority in the last two years. Up to two million are estimated to have sought refuge outside Iraq, while the remainder has been displaced within the country. The exodus is the largest the region has witnessed since the Palestinian Nakba. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the flight of Iraqis continues at a rate of 60,000 per month.

...In Syria, authorities have turned a partial blind eye to working Iraqis. According to AI, however, some deportations have been reported.

Iraqis in Syria face a wide array of problems, many of which stem from economic hardship as the savings they brought from Iraq run out. Many of the Iraqis currently in Syria are children and are thus in need of extra protection. In Syria, all Arabs are entitled to free public services, including education and health. Nonetheless, only 30,000 Iraqi children were registered in schools last year. This year, the number is estimated to have risen to around 80,000. Given a total Iraqi population of up to 1.5 million, both figures are desperately low and in part indicate the level of economic stress parents are facing as they refrain from enrolling their children in schools.

...Displaced from their homes, not knowing when they might be allowed to return, many Iraqis in Jordan have yet to come to terms with their plight. Almost unanimously, Iraqis of all generations were keen to emphasise just how profound their desire to return home is, and that, had the invasion not happened, they would never have left.

The phase to come will be difficult too, as Iraqis increasingly begin to come to terms with the pain of the present. "Here there are no bombs," said 12-year-old Maryam as she wept, "but I am tired and sad. My parents are tired too. We try not to be, because this way we are resisting. But it is getting harder. How long do we have to be here?" At this, Youssef interjects, with strength in his voice that belies his young age: "we have to be here so long as there is war. Until the war stops, we are refugees."


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