Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

It doesn’t matter who designs a border: Russia divided Berlin; the British carved up the Middle East and India; and we Americans decided that Texas would not become part of Mexico. Imperial powers have drawn lines based on ethnicity and/or religion for centuries, and bloodshed is the usual outcome. This past weekend, as we caught up with post-Thanksgiving errands and pre-Holiday shopping, migrants were tear gassed on our California border.

My immediate thought was “Kent State.”

And inbetween cyber-shopping with a bad head cold, I read that Russia thought this would be the perfect time to seize three Ukrainian ships! It seems that the ships were headed down the Kerch Strait, minding their own business, near the Russian-annexed waters of Crimea…ie Moscow crossed that border awhile ago. Vlad figures Nikki Haley has one foot out the door at the United Nations, and Mr T has his hands full with his paranoia and his “caravan,” so why not now?

I will often turn to poetry when the world is too much with me, and right now “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke fills the bill:

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go.”

And I look at the travel section of the BBC and dream about a great escape. My whole family would like to visit Iceland and I’m not sure why; certainly the stark, brilliant scenery is one thing, but like traveling itself, it’s the people who can delight and inspire you.

There is a certain philosophy in Iceland that is similar to Great Grandma Ada’s mantra, “It will all press out.” Of course you must say this in Yiddish, and since her father was a tailor from Minsk, it makes sense. Icelanders call this , “Betta Reddast” which means basically that everything will work out alright in the end! For a very cold nation, they are an optimistic bunch. http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180603-the-unexpected-philosophy-icelanders-live-by

And although Iceland is not likely to start a war over a borderline, they do have a natural, geographical phenomenon that is pushing the country apart ever so slowly. Climate change is threatening to submerse major cities around the world, but the good news is that Iceland is growing… if you don’t mind a little earthquake here and there.

The country sits on the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, and those plates are slowly moving apart, widening Iceland by about 3cm per year and causing an average of 500 small earthquakes every week.

Our beautiful new niece and her family crossed the North Carolina border to visit us Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m hoping my virus didn’t return the favor when they traveled back over the mountains. Can you see the Bat Building in the reflection?

IMG_4257

Read Full Post »

When I was the Rocker’s mini-league soccer coach, my brother Mike told me that soccer will never take over American Football in popularity. Of course wrecking cranes were tearing down the Berlin Wall at the time, and nobody would have predicted that either. However, the 2018 World Cup fever was electrifying and made me wonder just how viewership compared with the Super Bowl.

My whole family was cheering for France to win, and when they did “Mon Dieu!”

Then I happened to see a clip of the Daily Show where Trevor Noah, who is South African, congratulated “Africa” on the World Cup. I thought it was pretty funny, which is the point, but Oh La La, that hit a nerve in France. The French ambassador to Washington, Gérard Araud, wrote to the network saying Mr Noah had “misunderstood” the cultural model of his country. Well, either that or Mr Araud has no sense of humor.

Immigrant or first generation, like Great Grandma Ada who was born in Brooklyn to parents fresh off a boat from Russia, when is it OK to identify oneself as an American, or a French man or woman for that matter? In light of Mr T’s latest ploy, reminiscent of McCarthy era tactics, to denaturalize American citizens, to eliminate birthright citizenship and ship these children off to their parents’ countries by executive order, it would seem to be a timely question.

Declaring a person stateless isn’t really new; it was initially how the Nazi government was formed by stripping “certain” people of their rights.

In 1922, Albert Einstein said in a speech in Paris: “If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/world/europe/mesut-ozil-germany-soccer.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=5&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F07%2F23%2Fworld%2Feurope%2Fmesut-ozil-germany-soccer.html&eventName=Watching-article-click

This morning I read about a German soccer player who quit his national team because of racism. Mesut Ozil had the bad judgement to pose for a picture with the Turkish leader, President Erdogan, and then performed poorly at the World Cup. He wrote on Twitter, “I’m a German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.” Ozil was born in Germany.

Let’s not forget that Mr T got his start in the game of politics by questioning President Obama’s citizenship, and by fomenting fear of immigrants. He tweets absurdities about NFL players who choose to take a knee on their field of dreams.

My midsummer night’s dream is to register as many new voters as I can, naturalized or otherwise born in the USA, in order to reverse our country’s slide into the MAGA dustbin of history. Great Grandma Ada made this necklace with carved African totem beads, Russian amber, and turquoise from the American Southwest – our diversity can only enhance our politics, and our sports teams!

IMG_3016

 

 

Read Full Post »

We’re invited to a baby shower! My “Total eclipse of the sun” friend’s daughter, who happened to train at Vandy with the Bride, is having a baby. The new mama-to-be is a Pediatric Orthopedist who has gone on hunting trips with her father. I wonder if anyone is going to ask her how long her “confinement” will be?

That’s what Great Aunt Bertha wanted to know when I was waiting for the Bride to come into this world. And even today, in some cultures, cocooning the new mom/baby couple at home for the first month is de rigeur. A rite of passage when grandparents and aunties lived in the same village, or around the block.

While finally watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Netflix, I’ve found myself drawn to certain news stories about the myriad ways women have been constrained throughout herstory: binding the feet of high caste Chinese girls to resemble hooves; ever increasing chokers to lengthen the necks of African women; and the latest tortuous injustice in Nepal – banishing menstruating women to a small hut every month because of a superstition that they will bring bad luck to their families.

Young women have died from the cold, from a snakebite, from smoke inhalation. Last year Nepal passed a law criminalizing this practice, yet it is rarely enforced. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/world/asia/nepal-women-menstruation-period.html

  • In many world religions, women are seen as impure during their periods
  • They are restricted from entering places of worship and following religious rites
  • The chhaupadi tradition followed by Hindus in western Nepal is the most extreme version where women are banished outside during their monthly cycle
  • In India, women are not allowed to enter some Hindu temples and Muslim mosques while menstruating but there have been court cases to overturn this
  • In southern India, a girl reaching puberty is celebrated with a party and presents
  • In the Dogon tribe in Mali, women of the village also live in a hut during their periods

So this morning, as the world celebrates the rescue of all 12 pre-pubescent Thai boys and their soccer coach from a cave, I can’t help noticing that buried at the bottom of the NYT’s front page is a small piece about immigration. Today is the deadline imposed by a San Diego federal judge for the Trump administration to reunite all migrant families with their children who are less than 5 years of age.

The reunions will be carried out today for about HALF of the children under extreme secrecy with the Department of Homeland Security. As we look away, as we turn to Thailand, some South American families will be reunited and immediately deported. But what about the other children under 5, where are their parents? Where are they? What about the children over 6? The Love Bug will turn 6 this summer.

I never thought my country would break up families and put children in cages on our Southern border. And today, as this administration defies a court order of reunification because (insert some reason here for losing about 50 children and babies) I wonder what our legislators will do. Because doing nothing is no longer an option.

IMG_2831

 

Read Full Post »

There was a time in my life, well probably more than one time if we count near-miss car accidents, when I thought I might die. It was a year between the births of my two children; the last miscarriage was brutal and I ended up back in the hospital with sepsis. My roomie was an older Polish woman who spoke very little English, still I understood her. She had me fetch her rosary beads out of her purse and asked me to pray with her.

The words flowed easily from my mouth, hailing Mary I thought about how comforting it was for her and me! And just the other day with Great Grandma Ada, I happened upon another set of wooden rosary beads. She told me a woman had given them to her in Africa.

But it was the picture this morning on my social feed of rosary beads that are being confiscated at the border of our country that sent chills down my spine. How can this be happening here? Will rosary beads pile up in an exhibition, like so many gold teeth or shoes in Auschwitz, in some future museum to our Central American immigrants?

When border patrol agents separate young children from their families, they are not just inflicting harm, they are telling the world that we allowed this…here. And I cannot.

Even though Mr T’s job approval rating has gone up to 45 percent with HIS “zero tolerance” policy, and who ARE these people…I cannot abide by it.

Even when Pro Publica released an audio tape of children as young as 4 – our Pumpkin is almost 4 – crying for their parents while a guard says,

“We have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.”

I will not accept this. We need to call Flake, Collins and every single GOP legislator with a phone and a conscience. We need to rally the White House. We need to give to RAICES Texas to help fund legal services for immigrant families! https://actionnetwork.org/groups/raices-refugee-and-immigrant-center-for-education-and-legal-services

We need to be the conductors of compassion and stop this insane policy. Because praying can only get you so far. We know that one young girl has been raped by a guard – https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/06/17/texas-deputy-accused-sexually-assaulting-4-year-old-threatened-mom-deportation-sheriff-says

When will a child die of an asthma attack in the heat, in a cage? Because we know this will happen.

https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/whats-really-happening-asylum-seeking-families-separated/

What will you do?

Df7dfmcWAAEIbJ_

 

Read Full Post »

We all know that March can come in like a lion roaring, but I didn’t expect government buildings to close in DC and siding to get ripped off of houses in Cville. This morning we went to a preschool Purim celebration in Nashville, and Mother Nature may have turned colder here, but our wind blew in so many super heroes and princess/queens I fell in love with Judaism all over again!

When our kids were little, the President of the Brotherhood In our Berkshire’s temple dressed up as “Super Jew.” Bob once dressed as an Irish fairy because the date happened to coincide with St Patrick’s Day – a rare but exciting alignment of the stars. Purim is like Jewish Halloween and Feminist Easter rolled into one. Instead of the male protagonist dying and coming back to life, Queen Esther (who was secretly Jewish – kinda like Moses) saves her people from complete annihilation!

Purim is my kind of festival. It’s loud and glitzy and kids are all invited to the festivities. They blew up a little bouncy house in the Temple today! There’s no long wait for chicken soup, instead they had specially made cookies called hamentaschen. And just to top it all off, our female Rabbi and Cantor both dressed up as Wonder Woman!

Here are some Purim observances:

Reading of the Megillah (book of Esther), which recounts the story of the Purim miracle.

Sending gifts of two kinds of food (of course) to at least one person.

A festive Purim feast, which often includes wine or other intoxicating beverages.

Maybe I could have a margarita with lunch today? I was reading up on the news, and noticed the BBC dove into the special visa our First Lady Melania obtained to blow ashore in these United States. Not a bad idea for a story, considering Mr T is preparing to deport Dreamers and even spouses of military personnel.

She landed here from Slovenia on a tourist visa in ’96, then a string of working visas until she met Mr T 2 years later at a party. That’s when she applied for a very special green card.

It’s called “The Einstein Visa” or EB-1

To obtain an EB-1 for extraordinary ability, an immigrant has to provide evidence of a major award or meet three of 10 criteria proving excellence in their field. The criteria include coverage of the applicant in major publications, original and significant contributions to a field, and work displayed at artistic exhibitions.

At the time, all Melania was known for was, “… she appeared on the cover of British GQ on a fur rug in Mr Trump’s private jet, and in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated in the US. She was not a top international model.” It’s not quite like being being published in a major journal or something.

Well.  Well.  Well. All right, so she didn’t win a Nobel Prize, but she did win Mr T’s heart obviously, if you believe he even has one of those organs. And I’ll bet he wrote her glowing testimonials as a reference. Hey maybe she was destined to be America’s next Top Model? The next Heidi Klum?!

I just heard a tractor trailer was blown over by 100 MPH winds on the Tappan Zee Bridge. I hope the people who bought our mountain home put some bricks on the hot tub! Or we may have to send in the Super Hero L’il Pumpkin!  IMG_2359

Read Full Post »

I’ve been thinking about my foster mother lately, Nelly Bly. She was born in Scranton, PA, the only girl out of 18 boys! Yes youngsters, before the Duggers, poor women had large families simply because birth control was unheard of, and/or you happened to be Catholic. Nell’s parents had immigrated from Czechoslovakia, and I distinctly remember her crying when we watched Russian tanks roll into her ancestral home in 1968.

The Warsaw Pact invasion of August 20–21 caught Czechoslovakia and much of the Western world by surprise. In anticipation of the invasion, the Soviet Union had moved troops from the Soviet Union, along with limited numbers of troops from Hungary, Poland, East Germany and Bulgaria into place by announcing Warsaw Pact military exercises. When these forces did invade, they swiftly took control of Prague, other major cities, and communication and transportation links. Given the escalating U.S. involvement in the conflict in Vietnam as well as past U.S. pronouncements on non-intervention in the East Bloc, the Soviets guessed correctly that the United States would condemn the invasion but refrain from intervening.                                            https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/soviet-invasion-czechoslavkia

Like the Ukraine today, the Czech and Slovak people were leaning toward the West, instituting reform and banning censorship. Communist Russia put her big bear fist down and that was that. I wonder what Nell would have thought of the Velvet Revolution, when Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two states for purely political motives on Jan 1, 1993? She died when I was pregnant with the Bride, and we still thought a poet might be elected President.

Nell was a proud Slovak, but she didn’t like to cook. For special occasions however, she would prepare Halupkis ( pronounced ha-LOOP-keys). This is a mouth watering stuffed cabbage, simmered for hours on a big bed of sauerkraut. Nell’s father used to make his own sauerkraut in the basement in barrels, but she was happy to buy it pre-packaged. I like to imagine her as a child, picking a cabbage out of their garden, helping her mother grind the meat in the kitchen, and tenderly folding the leaves around the rice and meat mixture.

Maybe because she had so much responsibility in the kitchen, as the only girl in her family full of brothers, she loved modern day conveniences – or should I say “mid-century modern?” One of my favorite dinner nights was “Chinese.” I think it was La Choy, but in the ’50s you could find a box in the grocery store with everything you would need to make dinner. The original Hamburger Helper, only you didn’t need to cook anything, just warm it up!

I translated that to “Taco Night” in our house. I’d add the packet of Mexican seasonings to ground turkey, stand up the hard Old El Paso tacos and let the kids pile whatever they wanted on top, which usually meant lots of cheese. It’s almost wistfully tender to think back about the days when we didn’t need to know where our food came from, so long as it showed up on our table.

And today I admit, I will occasionally cave and whip up an organic Annie’s Mac and Cheese for the Love Bug. Am I willing to order one of those Blue Apron type dinners that would be delivered to me in the mail, with instructions on how to prepare all the fresh ingredients? NO.

Because grocery shopping is my God-given right. I want to smell and feel the fruit, and know when the salmon was delivered. But I understand that working women, and men, are still looking for time-saving ways to serve a meal to their family, even if it’s not two dozen people at the dinner table.

Maybe I’m thinking of my Mother because next year, Bob and I are planning to visit Prague. But today I’m heading to the ballot box in VA because I do believe in birth control and I don’t believe in censorship. And I want guns out of the hands of abusers, and the mentally ill. And I have to think that Nelly Bly would agree.

This is my cauliflower au gratin – made with sweetened condensed milk and goat cheese. Nell put canned milk in her coffee, so I always have it on hand!IMG_3401

Read Full Post »

Allow me to get on my feminist bandwagon for a minute. Over morning coffee I watched CNN’s Carol Costello interview Mindy Finn, the founder of “Empowered Women,” a right wing lobbyist group trying to co-opt the word “feminist” to include “center-right” women. She was very convincing, until she started saying that the original movement was more about reproductive rights, when today’s GOP women are all about pay equality, and of course getting elected to public office. OK. Just saying that TN women will now have to wait 48 hours before obtaining an abortion, and that’s not because their doctors thought it might be a good idea.

Eroding our rights is a time-honored tradition for the Republican party. How about all those little bills popping up in Southern states involving TRAP law? Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers was just one small slice of the GOP strategy to impose their right-wing, religious agenda on a woman’s right to choose what is best for her life. If they can make clinics close due to regulatory folderol, or increase our wait time, or include unnecessary vaginal ultrasound probes into our bodies, well all the better! Please, explain to me again Ms Finn how women need to join the Republican party. Sure, if you think an old white guy from Alabama has your best interest at heart, go right ahead.

“What do today’s female presidential candidates think about feminism?” This was Carol Costello’s question on Twitter. Really? I almost snorted up my coffee!

Then I read this: https://medium.com/human-parts/how-to-date-a-feminist-4e0fdf48d364 by a young feminist.

You date a feminist the same way you date anyone; you treat them with respect and try to impress the crap out of them. As long as you support equal rights, you got a shot…You hold the door for us and we will most certainly appreciate it. We hold the door for you and hope you’ll say thanks. It’s a door people, no big deal.

It’s a good read. And in case you thought the Republican agenda was just about closing doors on women’s reproductive rights, let’s talk immigration. Remember when President Obama announced a unilateral federal action back in November to reform immigration? We were supposed to give nearly 5 Million undocumented workers a path to citizenship in order to free them from the fear of deportation. And guess who has blocked this by imposing a hold on the executive action? Ding ding ding!

You’re right, 26 states of the mostly Southern persuasion. So this action would include women and children, because it specifically targets illegals who came here as children, and those with children born in this country, so called “anchor babies.” We can let this population grow to fight in our wars, but not make them citizens? The DOJ argues that our immigration system is broken and the federal government needs to fix it. But these Republican states beg to differ. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32893810

I wish I could step through a time travel door, and see what side of the argument history looks back on, which party wins. With Ireland passing their own marriage equality law this week, my ancestral homeland and the first democratic country to do so, I think we may have a clue. Very proud Ireland!

Dublin Doors

Dublin Doors 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: