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Author Topic: The anti-racist's field kit, a blurt, & the imaginary infidel
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 23 February 2006 01:28 PM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You'll find them all in this week's rabble book lounge reviews: www.rabble.ca/reviews

Impressions, questions, tangents, reactions and helpful hints can be posted here.


From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 23 February 2006 04:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rundler, I had a question about Matt Carr's review of Behzad Yaghmaian's profiles of immigrants to the West from Africa and the ME.

Carr spends a lot of time up front talking about the Islamophobic prejudices that threaten immigrants once they make it to Europe or North American, and justifiably so. Those barriers and dangers will vary from place to place in the West (I assume that Carr - and maybe Yaghmaian? - are in England), but I accept that they aren't absent anywhere. And he takes Yaghmaian's sympathetic portraits of these brave migrants to be a potential corrective to some of those prejudices, also an important point to make.

By the time I got to the end of the review, though, I was left with the impression of one - to me - oversimple contrast: Africa and many countries in the ME, nightmares of tyranny and persecution; the West, final safe haven and prosperous new life. While there is obviously some truth in that contrast, it has an intensely political context. It seems to me politically dangerous to leave North Americans and Europeans merely confirmed in their smug convictions about the superiority of their own societies, in other words.

I'm assuming/hoping that neither Carr nor Yaghmaian would want to leave that side of the topic untreated?

I repeat, though: the book sounds fascinating and gripping, and I'm glad to see the cross-fertilization with Red Pepper.

[ 23 February 2006: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 24 February 2006 09:07 AM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi! Thanks for the comment. A reply from the review writer is forthcoming. Yay for interactive media!
From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
matt carr
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12155

posted 26 February 2006 09:49 AM      Profile for matt carr        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks skadl, for your comments on my review of 'Embracing the Infidel'. I don't think either Yahgmaian or myself were trying to present the West as inherently superior to the political trainwrecks from which many of Yaghmaian's interviewees are trying to escape. One of the common features linking these individual stories, is the discrepancy between what many of Yaghmaian's migrants expect from the West and what they actually find during their difficult and hazardous journeys. Having said that however, there is a political context to these migrations, as you rightly point out, and as things currently stand in many parts of the Middle East and Afghanistan, it is easy to see why the possibility of a better life in the United States and Europe often appears to be the only escape from cultural and political authoritarianism. The fact that so many would-be refugees are treated with brutal contempt by the countries in which they seek refuge merely adds another tragic dimension to the tragedies they are already trying to escape from. Such treatment also exposes the hypocrisy of the West, which uses the lack of democracy in the Middle East as a justification for violent intervention, while simultaneously doing everything it can to prevent the victims of political tyranny from achieving the place of refuge that should be a universal human right.
From: United Kingdom | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
anne cameron
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8045

posted 26 February 2006 10:09 AM      Profile for anne cameron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just when I think I'm making some small progress to rid myself of conditioning I read something that makes my knee jerk and I am once again disappointed in myself and my reactions.

"universal human right" did that to me. I was reading along, agreeing and then KNEE JERK.

This Island is covered with immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants, and the government has done nothing at all to settle land claims with the native people. We've had some really dreadful episodes in the past few years with clam poaching , oyster poaching, etc., and, sadly, it seems as if in each case the ones who got caught were immigrants, so now the general feeling is "they" have no respect for the regulations, "they" come from places where they strip mine the beach, and "they" are going to do the same here...and some people think this "they" and "us" mentality is exactly what the government and corporations want (!), and if we all get fighting with each other we'll be too busy to notice the skulduggery going on in Victoria...

and I'm not sure there IS a "universal human right" to go to someone else's island, mainland, country or continent to escape the shitstorms and slaughters.

I know "we" did it when we came here and at what cost to the original people? And I can't see we've learned a lot since. Until we DO learn how to not fall for the "them" and "us" stuff maybe .......what?

I think of the go-round in Ontario when some people wanted Sharia law recognized...and my knee jerks...we made the mistake of not trying to fit into First Nations culture and law, we made the mistake of imposing ours on them and look at the horror which grew out of that...

So I truly doubt the "universal human right", we can't just continue to go swarming over other peoples borders and boundaries bringing with us what we claim we were trying to escape. And I know I can say that because I'm okay, Jack, but ... again, I am disappointed at my own reaction. I don't care what colour their skin is and I'm truly sorry for their plight but I don't want ten or fifteen thousand anybody-at-all showing up tomorrow claiming universal human right.

Maybe a move toward step one would be to stop lying to these people. Although how we're going to do that when we're still so busy lying to ourselves, I don't know.


From: tahsis, british columbia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
voice of the damned
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6943

posted 26 February 2006 01:53 PM      Profile for voice of the damned     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
So I truly doubt the "universal human right", we can't just continue to go swarming over other peoples borders and boundaries bringing with us what we claim we were trying to escape.

Anne:

Point taken. If 300 000 refugees all decided that they wanted to move to Iceland(population 300 000)tomorrow, I don't think that Iceland would be obliged to take them in under the provisions of some "universal human right" to go live anywhere you want any time you feel like it.

But I'm not sure if Matt Carr's "universal right to refuge" would neccessarily mandate something like that. The purpose of refuge is to keep people safe from harm, not to give them a great new future in the country of their choice. So there's no reason why the responsibility can't be spread out among various countries accross the globe, the only provision being that in the new country the refugee will be safe from whatever threats were bedevilling him in the old one.


From: Asia | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 27 February 2006 10:55 AM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For discussion of the review Anti-racist like me, see this thread:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=39&t=000077

From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 27 February 2006 11:26 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
x
From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 02 March 2006 08:57 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by matt carr:
Thanks skadl, for your comments on my review of 'Embracing the Infidel'. I don't think either Yahgmaian or myself were trying to present the West as inherently superior to the political trainwrecks from which many of Yaghmaian's interviewees are trying to escape. One of the common features linking these individual stories, is the discrepancy between what many of Yaghmaian's migrants expect from the West and what they actually find during their difficult and hazardous journeys. Having said that however, there is a political context to these migrations, as you rightly point out, and as things currently stand in many parts of the Middle East and Afghanistan, it is easy to see why the possibility of a better life in the United States and Europe often appears to be the only escape from cultural and political authoritarianism. The fact that so many would-be refugees are treated with brutal contempt by the countries in which they seek refuge merely adds another tragic dimension to the tragedies they are already trying to escape from. Such treatment also exposes the hypocrisy of the West, which uses the lack of democracy in the Middle East as a justification for violent intervention, while simultaneously doing everything it can to prevent the victims of political tyranny from achieving the place of refuge that should be a universal human right.


Hi, matt, and thanks for the reply.

One of the reasons I asked, if you hadn't already guessed, is that we cope with the other side of things a lot on babble, and of course just generally in the msm in Canada - a lot of the self-righteous (who have usually never done a thing for human rights, women's rights, gay liberation, etc) suddenly inflamed in favour of invading or otherwise interfering in other countries under cover of human-rights rationalizations, and claiming that their whole purpose is to liberate women, gays, and other oppressed groups.

I assume you've heard this kind of stuff before. Actually, I was coming back here yesterday to reply to you, but several discussions of just this kind erupted on the board above, and I couldn't resist ...

Yahgmaian's book sounds really valuable from both angles. If there is one thing I am convinced we all need much more in the West, and fast, it is to hear more and more voices directly from the ME and Africa. Our foreign policy has run for too long on outdated, ages-old, often racist presumption, and part of the proof of that is certainly that "brutal contempt" you speak of and the sheer incompetence with which we greet the refugees we have pretended to care about.

So thanks for the review, and welcome to babble.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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