So far the most off the cuff yet coherent thing I’ve said in French class was when I turned around and told the professor that I did the homework that afternoon, “Je fais l’après-midi.” Those words slipped off my tongue and they’ve been dancing around in my head since yesterday.
In other news, Matthew finally really moved out of Chicago after staying with us for the week. It was a little sad after he left, with the living room back to normal but looking empty with his stuff gone. Friends leaving is always sad, but the prospect of a trip to Durham and snooping around Duke is a really redeeming one. What a smart cookie that guy is, and I’m so happy that I got to become friends with him. He’s one of those people where you see them from afar, and think “Wow that person seems really interesting/awesome. I want to know them.” And then you become friends! That is one of my favorite feelings.
Human rights groups blast Obama’s plan to open more immigrant family detention centers
June 23, 2014
The Obama administration on Friday announced a plan to open new detention facilities to house families apprehended while crossing the southwest border, drawing criticism from congressional Democrats and immigrant rights groups who say there are more humane ways to handle migrants.
“Human rights require that detention be the last resort, not the first,” said ACLU Legislative Counsel Joanne Lin in a statement. “Families should be moved out of detention as soon as possible and be released under humane and reasonable supervision, including community-based alternatives to detention which have proven to be cost-effective and efficient.”
The push for ramped-up detention is the federal government’s response to an unprecedented surge of migrant children crossing the US-Mexico border, which both Democrats and Republicans are calling a humanitarian crisis. The plan also calls for more judges and immigration officials in the area to expedite deportation proceedings. While the majority of children detained near the border are traveling alone, the new detention centers will specifically house children who came with families.
Clara Long, an immigration policy researcher at Human Rights Watch told The Nation, “We’re really concerned that, especially where children are detained, that these centers will not be under compliance with international law.”
“The underlying approach to such a program should be ‘care’ and not ‘detention,’” Long said, stressing children under detention should have access to education, legal aid, counseling and recreation. Alternatives to detention, such as electronic monitoring via ankle bracelets, should be considered, Long added.
US Border Patrol says it has captured 47,000 unaccompanied minors since October 1 and estimates say that number could reach 90,000 by the end of this fiscal year. Most of the minors arrived from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, countries plagued by rampant gang violence. Researchers for the UN human rights commissioner for refugees found that many of the children crossing the border are fleeing threats of violence in their home countries. Fifty-eight percent of 400 unaccompanied minors interviewed by researchers “raise potential international protection needs.” UNHCR guidelines minors who are seeking asylum “should not, as a general rule, be detained.”
“As a human rights organization, it bothers us that they see detention as the only option. It doesn’t matter how many more beds they have, this will continue to happen,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Texas-based Border Network For Human Rights. “We need policy solutions, not just infrastructure.”
Garcia told The Nation that the federal government should find a way to grant asylum to migrants fleeing violence in their home countries. There should also be legal path for migrants to reunite with families are already living in the US, he added.
Congressional Democrats, including Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Luiz Guiterrez (D-IL), also spoke out against the detention plan. In a statement offered to BuzzFeed, Senator Menendez said, “Using up our nation’s resources to jail families will not be a deterrent—these kids are fleeing violence and are willing to risk their lives to cross the border. The threat of a jail will not stop these families from coming here. Instead, we need to fully address the root causes of the crisis.”
On Thursday, Senator Menendez released a twenty-point plan to address the border crisis. The plan recommends Obama administration to continue cracking down on human smugglers and traffickers taking advantage of the surge. It also calls for increased efforts to provide detainee children with legal representation.
Jai passé un bon week-end! And doing French homework now but taking a little break to live in da moment. Ceiling fan going, open windows, quiet wind outside, good tree smells, classical station on low, lamp on in the corner of the living room setting a nice comfy ambiance.
Long but fun weekend. Friday morning Kevin and I got breakfast at Baker and Nosh then spent two hours roasting in the sun in their little grassy, gated courtyard with unlimited coffee refills and a running fountain. The conversation was a good one — about philosophy mostly, which he’s getting into and whose relevance I’m gradually appreciating. I think we’re both realizing in different ways that philosophy (in its many forms) helps us think about other things going on, it gives us more building blocks. Then the rest of the day was with Carolyne divided between two different get-togethers, last one was better than the first but in the end we ate plenty of picnic-type food and she got plenty of fireworks photos. And I met her friend who’s studying Catholic theology within different cool perspectives, and the three of us had a good conversation towards the end of the fireworks show about topics I can’t exactly remember but whose themes were academia, race, class, nationalism, whiteness… My favorite take-away phrase from that a la Carolyne is “performing whiteness,” which I’ve heard before but which really stuck yesterday.
Saturday was brunch/post-brunch snack with Carolyne, then later Devon and I went to Carolyne’s, made dinner (marinara sauce with CINNAMON, thanks to Devon), drank wine and coffee, experimented with fun lipsticks, watched youtube videos and Bob’s Burgers and Too Cute (why does that exist), conked out, woke up, made pancakes (with cinnamon), drank coffee, watched youtube videos, and cracked up about a lot of silly stuff. I’ve known both girls since freshman year of college, the very first quarter!
Now though, pour revenir à mes devoirs de francais.
It’s kinda funny when you realize that for certain types of knowledge, you often refer back to stuff you learned at one particular point in time. Like when I think about the Revolutionary or Civil Wars I always immediately go back to AP US History to get my bearings, regardless of anything I’ve learned about either wars since that time. Or when thinking about algebra or any type of semi-advanced math I go back to 10th grade trig class to remember what it was like to… think about math. And when thinking about money-related anything I go back to that Flan Man money class in 11th (?) grade. Which actually gave me an ok-enough foundation that other things related to money sometimes make a little sense.
I went to my new bank today (long story wherein sometimes banks get bought out by other banks?) and was asking about (long-term) investment options, and they handed me a phone to talk to some guy about Roth IRAs, and it was a good conversation! He answered all my questions, was kind, and thankfully he didn’t talk down to me at all, even though he knew my age and that it was my first time asking those questions. And it was a good feeling leaving the bank satisfied with what went on and thinking that I have a good idea of what my game plan should be. Also, I’m ever more convinced that if you walk into a room sounding like you know what you’re talking about, people will generally talk back to you as such. Being a big kid has its perks.
Kandovan is an ancient village tucked away in the northwest corner of Iran at the foothills of Mount Sahand and near the city of Tabriz. What makes the village so unique is that its homes have been carved inside cone shaped rocks. The original substance for these unusual cone formations consisted of volcanic ash and debris from an eruption of Mount Sahand in the distant past. It was subsequently compressed and shaped into cone towers by natural elements over thousands of years. This hardened material is strong enough to function as the walls and floors of a house, whilst also providing efficient insulation against the harsh cold of the long winter as well as the summer heat.
Legend has it that Kandovan’s first inhabitants moved there in the 13th century to escape from the invading Mongol army. They dug hideouts in the volcanic rocks but eventually decided to settle in these caves which they gradually developed and transformed into multi-storey, permanent houses. Since then, many generations of their descendants have continued living in the same houses.
Kandovan is largely inhabited by Azeris, an ethnic minority in the predominantly Persian Islamic Republic of Iran. Azeris, a Turkic-speaking people, “make up an estimated one-fourth of Iran’s population of 70 million,” though Azeris themselves “often claim a population share close to 40 percent, a number that includes ethnic brethren such as the Turkmen, Qashgais, and other Turkic-speaking groups.” They are concentrated in the country’s northwestern corner, along its border with the independent Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azeris have inhabited that region for millennia—they are said to be the descendants of indigenous Caucasian Albanians and Iranians who were “Turkified” after the invasion of Turkic Central Asian groups. According to historian Vladimir Minorsky, “the Ghuzz hordes, first in smaller parties, and then in considerable numbers, under the Seljuqids occupied Azerbaijan. In consequence, the Iranian population of Azerbaijan and the adjacent parts of Transcaucasia became Turkophone while the characteristic features of Ādharbāyjānī Turkish, such as Persian intonations and disregard of the vocalic harmony, reflect the non-Turkic origin of the Turkicised population.”
The vast majority of Iranian Azeris, like their northern Azerbaijani cousins and Persian neighbors, are Shia Muslims. Some scholars maintain that the Safavids—the founders of the Safavid empire—were Azeris, while others claim that the Safavids were originally Persians that adopted the Azerbaijani language after settling in historic Azerbaijan. For most of their history, Iranian Azeris were integral, well-assimilated members of Iranian society. The reign of Reza Shah in the twentieth century, however, marked a dramatic shift in the status of Iranian Azeris in their native land. In his book Iran Between Two Revolutions, Ervand Abrahamian writes that Reza Shah’s policy of “national unification” and “closing down minority schools and printing presses…hit especially hard at the Azeris; being more urbanized than the Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, and Turkomans, the Azeris had already developed their own intelligentsia. As a result, cultural resentment increased as Persian schools, papers, and printing presses supplanted Turkish-language schools, papers, and printing presses in Azerbaijan.”
On May 12, 2006, a controversial cartoon was published in Iran, the official daily newspaper of the government of Iran that sparked riots in Iranian Azerbaijan. In the cartoon, a child speaks to a cockroach in Persian. When the cockroach does not understand, the child tries again, this time in made-up cockroach language. The cockroach does not understand its own language and says “Namana?,” which means “what” in Azerbaijani. Many Iranian Azeris found it insulting and dehumanizing. Violent demonstrations broke out in Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil, and other Azerbaijani cities. The Iranian government says that 330 protesters were arrested and at least four were killed, though Azeris claim that many more perished. Some suspect that it was the result of covert foreign intervention, perhaps by the United States, perhaps by advocates of pan-Turkism (a movement that seeks the unification of Turkic-speaking peoples, including Azerbaijanis, in one contiguous Turkic homeland.) The artist of the cartoon, himself an ethnic Azeri, claimed that the use of the world namana, which, although originally Azeri, is used in Persian as well, was not intended to offend. Though plausible, this begs the question: why was it written in the Azerbaijani Latin alphabet rather than in Perso-Arabic script typical both of Persian and Iranian Azerbaijani?
The status of Azeris in Iran is, to say the least, confusing. While, according to Library of Congress, “the life styles of urban Azeri do not differ from those of Persians, and there is considerable intermarriage among the upper classes in cities of mixed populations,” and “customs among Azeri villagers do not differ markedly from those of Persian villagers,” Michael P. Croissant, author of The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict, says that the Iranian government “has nonetheless shown extreme concern with prospects of the rise of sentiments calling for union between the two Azerbaijans.” The identity and national aspirations of the Iranian Azeris remain complicated.
Good evening times. It’s the end of a rainstorm right now so it’s still wet outside but quiet, and the air smells good and I’m lounging by open windows listening to a live folksy radio show that for some reason is on the classical station. And I’m reading through chapters of Matthew’s thesis for him, right now it’s his historical background chapter on colonialism and its aftermath in northern Uganda. His overall thesis is on documentation practices in Uganda, which has some good nuggets for me to think on for my own research. And side note, I got into DePaul’s MA program for International Studies so I’ll be doing that in the fall, it looks like…! So, not a bad Saturday all in all. (And I bought maxi dresses!)
Take for instance, the marriage equality movement, that great red herring of equality. It is essentially meat with no bone. Yes, it allows for queer folks all around the nation to start getting married. But for most queer folks, marriage is not high on the priority list. For queer folks of color, who are subject to disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, violence, and health disparity—marriage provides us with very little resolve. And so, the movement that is the defining LGBTQ issue of our time is an issue that largely benefits upper middle class queer whites.
I can remember about a year ago when I didn’t understand critiques of the gay marriage movement. Now that I’ve digested some critiques and can see commonalities between them, and locate the general undercurrents running through them, I think they’re pointing out a social reality in the US that is often not considered but is being brought more consistently to the surface. And I think it’s an important thing for me to keep in mind too, that benefits are not all created equal. And it brings into discussion how state institutions regulate lives and allow/disallow certain opportunities to be realized — like how marriage intersects with healthcare access, tax laws, etc… Anyway this isn’t a particularly groundbreaking or in-depth piece, it’s pretty short, but it serves as a reminder.
So cute, so creative, so weird.
J’apprends et j’étudie la français petit á petit [until] je comprends plus qu’hier. I needed google’s help to write half of that.