The Hoodie & The Hijab — Our Common Struggle for Human Rights

March 25, 2012
Written by: RoyaAziz
http://www.dominionofnewyork.com/2012/03/25/the-hoodie-the-hijab-our-common-struggle-for-human-rights/#.T3XNj9WepRT

As a good friend prepares to put together a book on the topic of hijab in America I referred her to an incident during then-Senator Barack Obama’s televised presidential campaign rally in Detroit when two hijabis were barred from sitting behind him. The event occurred at a time when there was close scrutiny of Obama’s identity: the phonetic similarity to Osama, his very Arab middle name, Hussein, and, of course, the rumors that he was actually a practicing Muslim, not that there was anything wrong with that, to borrow the inappropriate disclaimer. Obama apologized to the women and vowed to fight discrimination of this sort. To many American Muslims it was perplexing because much of the racism directed at Obama at the time was being couched in anti-Muslim bias. At that moment he was not Obama the inspiring candidate, but Obama the typical American who showed his own anti-Muslim bias.

In the wake of 9/11, American Muslims took to Islamophobia with some borrowed humor: ‘driving while black’ became ‘flying while Muslim.’ And so, as it is with wearing a hoodie, wearing a hijab elicits similar prejudices, as Geraldo Rivera reminded us during his TV appearance last week. In the same commentary where he claims Trayvon Martin was killed because of his sweatshirt, Rivera cites Juan Williams’ comments about being scared when he sees Muslims in religious garb at the airport (one presumes hijab is among the articles of clothing that terrify Williams). Rivera writes that Williams was copping to his fears, but it was a cowardly cover — if a black man like Williams, whom Rivera pointedly refers to as “among America’s sharpest commentators” can say he’s scared of Muslim women, it should be valid for him to say that a black kid in a hoodie had it coming. The implications of his comparison are unsettling. Continue reading

Abusive, Xenophobic Detentions, Inc.: A Lucrative Global Growth Industry

September 28, 2011

Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit

By , New York Times

The men showed up in a small town in Australia’s outback early last year, offering top dollar for all available lodgings. Within days, their company, Serco, was flying in recruits from as far away as London, and busing them from trailers to work 12-hour shifts as guards in a remote camp where immigrants seeking asylum are indefinitely detained.

It was just a small part of a pattern on three continents where a handful of multinational security companies have been turning crackdowns on immigration into a growing global industry.

Especially in Britain, the United States and Australia, governments of different stripes have increasingly looked to such companies to expand detention and show voters they are enforcing tougher immigration laws.

Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers in the world — and they say they are meeting demand faster and less expensively than the public sector could.

Resistance to abusive detention is growing. Here, The Woomera Detention Center, in Australia, was the scene of a detainee breakout in 2002.

But the ballooning of privatized detention has been accompanied by scathing inspection reports, lawsuits and the documentation of widespread abuse and neglect, sometimes lethal. Human rights groups say detention has neither worked as a deterrent nor speeded deportation, as governments contend, and some worry about the creation of a “detention-industrial complex” with a momentum of its own.

“They’re very good at the glossy brochure,” said Kaye Bernard, general secretary of the union of detention workers on the Australian territory of Christmas Island, where riots erupted this year between asylum seekers and guards. “On the ground, it’s almost laughable, the chaos and the inability to function.” Continue reading

US: New government attacks on migrants target unionized workers with mass firings

US government's xenophobic anti-immigrant campaigns include ICE raids in working class communities and mass firings of workers, both unionized and unorganized

FIGHTING THE FIRINGS

By David Bacon,  In These Times web edition, 8/23/11

After years of ‘silent raids’ and federal workplace audits, unions and community allies are going on the offensive.

BERKELEY, CA — When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called “silent raids” in the press.  The phrase sought to make firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration.  During Bush’s eight-year tenure, posses of black-uniformed immigration agents, waving submachine guns, invaded factories across the country and rounded up workers for deportations.

“Silent raids,” by contrast, have relied on cooperation between employers and immigration officials.  The Department of Homeland Security identifies workers it says have no legal immigration status.  Employers then fire them. The silence, then, is the absence of the armed men in black.  Paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, they used to rob workers of their jobs with a gun.  Now they do it with a fountain pen. Continue reading

In the Belly of the Beast: How the Middle East events affect us

Nina Farnia on how the Middle East events affect us

In a program in Oakland, California in February 2011 — sponsored by The Committee to Stop FBI Repression — Nina Farnia spoke about the relationship of events in the Middle East to people in the US — people of Middle East origin and descent, and US solidarity activists.

For more information on government repression of Middle Eastern people and of international solidarity activists, see stopfbi.net

This is a video from Collision Course Video Productions of San Francisco.

France: Anti-Xenophobic protests of mass Roma deportations

http://www.euronews.net

A week of protests in France has begun with a march in Paris in support of the Roma. An estimated 12,000, led by Roma, turned out in Paris. It was one of over 130 such demonstrations in towns and cities throughout France as protesters voiced their anger at Nicolas Sargozy’s policy which critics see as an attempt by him to revive his popularity ahead of elections in 2012.

Thousands of members of the nomadic group have been sent back to Eastern Europe in recent weeks after the French authorities intensified repatriations.

The government says it is a crackdown on crime – but there is been widespread criticism, including from the EU and UN. Continue reading

South Africa: Mass Deportation of Zimbabweans to begin again

South Africa anti-xenophobia protest, 2008

Monday, September 06, 2010

By IRIN

South Africa will resume the deportation of undocumented Zimbabweans on 1 January 2011, ending its 17-month moratorium, the Cabinet announced on 1 September.

“After the 31st of December [2010] all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated like all others and their deportation will resume,” said a statement issued after the Cabinet met.

In April 2009 the government placed a moratorium on deportations, introduced a 90-day visa on demand for passport holders, and was on the cusp of issuing Zimbabweans with a special permit allowing them to work and reside in South Africa for between 6 months and 3 years.

The Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (FMSP) estimates that between 1 million and 1.5 million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa. Continue reading

France’s crackdown on Romas continues, hundreds deported

Agence France-Presse

Paris, August 27, 2010

France today deported hundreds more Roma in defiance of growing domestic and international criticism of its crackdown on travelling minorities. Two specially chartered planes carrying Roma men, women and children left Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport and Lyon in east-central France and touched down

in Bucharest mid-afternoon. “The police told us we could choose between leaving now, on our own accord, or be expelled by force later,” said one young Roma man, who declined to be identified. “So we agreed to leave.”

“For three months I could find no job, so I decided to come back to Romania,” another man arriving in Bucharest, Ion Stancu, 52, told AFP. “But, my God, what will I do for a living now, with eight grandsons to feed?” he added, tears in his eyes. Amid a country-wide crackdown that began this month after Gypsies attacked a police station, police in the northern French city of Lille also moved in at dawn to dismantle a Roma tent camp set up under an overhead railway line. Continue reading