Immigrants and Refugees
The Future of Walls
Mentor, Professor Christine Secilia, Department of Criminology
Abstract: My note is for the Honors Department of the Community College of Allegheny County. It will explore the areas in most urgent need of digest concerning public misunderstanding of a global refugee and illegal immigrant crisis affecting the politics of the United States as a challenge to our society’s scruples and legal authority. The survey of issues takes as its point of departure that any resolution to the problem of political asylum for refugees and illegal immigrants in America must be supported by the law in order to be lasting and resolute. For this very good reason, the paper was proposed to the Criminology Department and Professor Christine Secilia agreed to mentor the work. The goal of this paper is to advocate for immigrants and refugees by explaining a criminological theory about American high command. To make acceptance of this distressing view easier to accept, I present a field of reference that does not necessitate agreeing with my hard won opinion. The paper describes the problems involved in recognition of Sharia Law by the United States; the treatment of women and atheists in the Middle East, why American media sometimes fails with good intentions in understanding and effectively explaining what has gone wrong, as well as addressing areas of true misrepresentation. The paper explains some problems in the history of American intervention that have gone wrong leading to past refugee struggles. The thesis will resolve a pattern of ill-considered policy and hunger for warfare that has required deception by the United States to see through, conversely intensifying our obligation to the civilians fleeing catastrophe as a primary cause of their distress. It mentions a resolution for a Good Neighbor Policy advocating for successful Mental Health Recovery Programs, and concludes with judgment regarding the idea for a wall on our Southern border, rejecting its brutal image and barbaric cause.
“I believe we created the conditions the refugees are fleeing.” ~ Kenneth Lewis, Vietnam Veteran,
CCAC fellow student, Agent Orange victim
1. A View From a Community College
2. Sharia Panic
3. Oppression of Women and Atheists
4. A Word About Media
5. Gun Show, USA ~ Battlefield Wanted
8. A Criminology of High Command
10. Arab Spring
11. A Theory of ISIS
12. Our New Neighbors
13. The Future of Walls
Interview with Hindreen: CCAC International Students Office
Journal: Meetings with a Mentor
1. A View From a Community College
The theme of this paper is that the United States of America has a duty to assist the refugees from the war in Syria to relocate and to grant them asylum and that this obligation is informed by the same understanding that allows assistance to illegal immigrants. There is evidence that the United States has acted criminally in helping create the situation that they are fleeing, yet there is no other significant state or superpower to exercise moral authority. Differences between our people need to be understood to make clear what grants of asylum will bring and to what degree the future may conform to our hopes for inclusion of new, productive, law-abiding, creative families. This paper will show that the paradoxical situation of our government acting as a moral authority while advancing a criminal foreign policy is a disturbing fact of our times.
There have been other refugee crises in the past. Our response has rendered definition and picture to American legacy, honor and national estate forever. “Refugee policy is the litmus test of the concept of justice in society.” 1 In 1939, on its only journey, a German sea vessel called, “MS St. Louis,” (named after the American city) set sail. Filled with Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, they were forbidden entrance to Cuba. While floating off the coast of Florida seeking entrance to the United States, their plight was discussed by White House staff and the passengers were forbidden entrance to America as well. The ship returned to Germany. Most of the poor creatures were killed in Auschwitz and the Sobibor concentration camp. Abandonment has never rankled so much in the history books, challenging the welfare of our name with disgrace.
Well known differences between the pluralist legal foundation of the United States and Muslim countries, where religious or Sharia Law is practiced, do not separate us in terms of understanding the primary good invested in civilization and value of human life. Principled Muslims are peaceful. Terrorism affects us all equally. Israel, our favorite in the Middle East, also has a legal system based on
a religious foundation. America is entrusted with the power to advocate for the view that a lawful society affirms toleration concerning differences in belief systems among many diverse people in a commonwealth. Those who feel this is something we should not be doing are met with authority and political resilience. Separate and unique identity is normal as is assuring legal protection for law-abiding minorities. Part of this trust means understanding the background of our Muslim minorities.
Paradox is at the root of arbitration concerning the fate of democracy in a world where there are Islamic nations. While it is possible to imagine a post-Fundamentalist world where legal institutions are in place everywhere that protect the dignity and human right of all individuals to live by their own private beliefs concerning faith or skepticism, that is not yet the case internationally. Further, the day of reconciliation may be far away. The article I am embarked on is motivated by a feeling at my school that research into the situation that has developed between America and The Middle East, particularly the catastrophe in Syria, and appeal for asylum by refugees in the context of our country’s divisions about illegal immigration, is called for and timely. It is too easy to forget, in light of public opinion barrages caused by dizzying news reports of sudden, unexpected violence in crowded public areas, that politics are not just an acid test of rival pressure groups proclaiming loud public opinions, but a problem of legal review and law enforcement. Accordingly, a sociological approach to understanding U.S.-Islamic relations in light of current affairs has to be comprehensive enough to explain confusion and misperception concerning jurisdiction and International Law. It is a matter of peace-keeping and criminology. War, unfortunately, can be easier or at least simplifies, questions involving intelligence gathering necessary for capable diplomacy. While Constitutional Democracy is no doubt preferable and better for everybody, attacking Islamic society simply because of differences in our legal systems is a sinister gyration that oversteps reasonable exercise of American power. We are after all talking about sovereign nations, not vassal states. Hatred for Sharia Law and Islam is powerful enough, however, that I begin with this dreadful mindset.
2. Sharia Panic
Sharia is Islamic Law based on interpretations of the Koran. The Koran was written by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed. With the help of the Hadith, or reports of the intent and meaning of the Koran by persons familiar with Muhammed, Sharia Law is conceived as divine law. When the West can be suspicious of this legal tradition, Constitutional scholars debate where we have points in common. Mutual tolerance is a desirable goal. Sharia panic is a devious mistress. It comes out in legal review, political satire, and official proclamations. It is guided by the idea that Sharia law is so biased and prejudicial that nothing good can from even attempting to achieve comity between legal systems that have many points of departure in common. It is sometimes believed that our laws are meant to restrain their laws, which leads to a zealous attitude about military intervention. Not all that involves military inclination towards the Muslim world, however, is so easy to understand. Something much more sinister is at work in the feudal situation that commands a good deal of political attention in America. Fear of an attack in the wings of Sharia recognition and empowerment is announced by bigots while our strategic high command have authored a cataclysmic war, at turns, dagger in glove with repugnant Shi’ite clergy as the Iran-Contra affair made chillingly clear. The government tried, and failed, to keep this strange deal a secret and reduce it to obscurity and meaninglessness, a forgotten incident, unworthy of mention.
When thinking of the Middle East as blameworthy, conceptualizing the evolution of trouble there as an expression of government under Sharia Law committed to control of the population through Theological Empire and mandatory religion is not necessary. The hazardous situation is much more ambiguous. It was not pre-determined by religious beliefs. Many Americans have come to closely associate the Muslim world and Sharia law with backwards, medieval views and terrorism, yet Muslims are part of the modern world and here to stay. Sharia Law, properly understood, is on the side of civilization. Reform, where possible, should be peaceful. There are differences between us that require moderation, but on April 6, 2016, which was just yesterday at the time of this writing, the first Syrian refugee family was relocated in the United States under a special accelerated program in cooperation with Jordan that allowed Ahmad al-Abboud, his wife and five children from Homs, Syria, to resettle in Kansas City, Missouri after three years in exile from the civil war. Despite the symbolic victory for those who recognize our duty and the humanity of the refugees, Governors of Texas, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, have all spoken out in defiance of Federal authority vowing never to allow refugees into their states. To hear this from Massachusetts, home of the Kennedys, is disheartening. Our allies, in Europe, Turkey and the Mediterranean are besieged with refugees in an enormous crisis. Martha Gellhorn, a famous journalist, told me in a private letter, “America is a huge island populated by self-absorbed dummies. Nothing good will come from that ignorance.”
The stage is set in America by a Nativism movement, the belief that those who were here first are more entitled that those arriving later, which has long blamed immigrants for the woes of America’s working class in hard times. Public support for refugees is divided, both sides vigorous and loud. In the echoes of Republican Presidential campaign hostility, Diya Abdo, associate professor of English at Guilford College, has started a program: Every Campus a Refuge, asking “every college and university around the world to host at least one refugee family on their campus grounds and assist them in resettlement,” 2
In his book, Sufi Essays, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, favors Sharia Law over modernist trends in The Middle East towards secular, constitutional government, citing the ancient history of Islamic legal scholars in the establishment of comity and moderation between foreign countries in accordance with Muslim understanding of International Law. “Muslim jurists were the first to develop the science of international law, trying to provide means whereby relations between peoples following different codes of law could be established.” 3 This idea does not sit well with everyone concerned. Comity between countries is voluntary deference to court rulings originating in other countries. Tim Wilson in his article: Britain’s Worsening Sharia Creep 4 argues that the United Kingdom’s Law Society in their prestigious guidelines advising attorneys have recently proceeded to help English barristers word their legal terms regarding inheritance practices to discriminate against children considered illegitimate under Islamic Law who would normally be recognized as heirs in British courts. There is a profound fear that tragedy which is absolutely wrong and does not need to happen could be a consequence not of terrorism but of the shadow of improper values exerting undue influence over civil society. To find the British so smug and gentile, so lacking in self-reflection, gives pause to those familiar with their legendary hypocrisy, but they have a point regarding the abandonment of children at risk to an uncertain future of foster homes and orphanage in an environment hostile to their native, Muslim culture.
Yuliya Zeynalova, a legal scholar at Berkeley sees the shadow of wariness as a more comprehensive political condition. She writes, “A number of factors have led to this pervasive fear and distrust of Muslims and Islamic Law, including military conflicts (particularly those regarding oil), sour diplomatic relations with several predominantly Muslim countries and a misunderstanding of differences between belief structures.” 5 In another article by Sarah M. Fallon titled: Justice for All: American Muslims, Sharia Law and Maintaining Comity Within American Jurisprudence Salam Al-Marayati is quoted as calling the lack of acceptance of Muslims “a psychological ghetto” in which they live. Yuliya Zeynalova seems to answer, “Shunning any group tends to create a feeling within that group of exclusion from the broader society.” Fallon states, “Sharia bans violate the voluntary but long-standing principle of comity, which encourages courts to defer to foreign laws where such laws do not prejudice the power or right of the U.S. government or its citizens.” 6 That such recognition applies only to Civil Law, when appropriate, but never to Criminal Law is also explained in the article by Fallon.
There is a stubborn belief among those who study and practice the law that international law is of no use whatsoever because it cannot be enforced by police power. Events beyond the reach of law enforcement, it is advised, do not amend themselves to wishful thinking. If Islamic moderates displace secular governments where they exist under Constitution, such as Tunisia, it is feared that their moderation might gradually be replaced by new religious oppression which would not yield to international opinion without resort to violent force.
Not everyone agrees however, that international law is rendered impossible to enforce by absence of coercion. In an article in Yale Law Review by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, they argue that “the coercion used to enforce the law need not involve the threat and exercise of violence. Rather, it may involve the threat of exclusion, or as we call it, outcasting. Unlike the distinctive method that modern states use to enforce their law, outcasting is nonviolent: it does not rely on bureaucratic organizations, such as police or militia, that employ physical force to maintain order.” “Disobedience need not be met with the law’s iron fist – enforcement may simply involve denying the disobedient the benefits of social cooperation and membership.” 7 Checks and balances in the international community can keep Islamic moderates peaceful. Clearly, outcasting does not mean refusal to accept refugees from countries in turmoil. It is the influence of inclusion despite the trauma and gravity of extreme situations, that lifts Muslim refugees out of the psychological ghetto which Salam Al-Marayati ascribes to prejudice and brings them to safety in a Commonwealth of mutual learning and self-respect. Alexander Klassen, writes, “Using a moralism/moderation and hypocrisy/integrity ethical framework,” we can evaluate the performance of Middle Eastern governments under Sharia Law.8
3. Oppression of Women and Atheists
Nothing is more well-known concerning academic disapproval of Islamic Law than its enforced oppression of women and punishment of atheism. This tendency in Arabia itself seems silly and backwards to all but the most determined. Not all Muslim women believe it is an accurate interpretation of Sharia law.
Critical misunderstanding exists in the hostility that Western women express with great violence towards the traditional life of a Muslim woman. It is hard to know who to trust among company analysts. What we know about both sides also comes from Muslim women themselves. Long before the rise of Arab Spring, a case of civil disturbance seeking greater freedom under law, and before the Gulf Wars, greater than the divide between the Sunni and Shi’ite branches of the Islamic faith, a rift deeper than the martyrs and known to every tribe, just as it is in the legacy of the United States, is the oppression of women. That not all Muslim women feel oppressed or reject their role is something that evokes a bigoted response from many Western women. The consequence of poisoning the debate with feminist hysteria, is among the most terrible we are faced with at this placemark in the book of time. Driving women into the slave pits of Boko Harem in Nigeria, a country with powerful, international organized crime syndicates, through policies that destroy Muslim dignity and society, and into the clutches of ISIS, which is what our wars there have done, has hardly liberated Muslim women. It is only on the basis of government credibility that anyone familiar with the consequences of our wars can believe the wars were intended to help. Led by men and women who insist they are competent leaves us no choice but to ask why then they wanted this outcome?
Whatever its intention (humility, fashion, tradition) the burka veil worn by Muslim women hides their beauty. In Nigeria, in 2002, the Miss World Beauty Pageant scheduled to be held in Nigeria was moved to London as hundreds of Christians and Muslims were killed in violence over the offense to modesty. The violence spread to Abuja, the capital and Lagos, the commercial capital. It is of course paradoxical that this un-feminist exhibition of beauty should highlight the reasons why Western women are distainful of Islamic cultural dictats. Women are commodified for beauty pageants, which reinforces vanity and sexism, a prominent feature of Western culture, permanently adolescent, that leads some young women who feel they do not measure up to expectations of beauty into feelings of rejection and conditions like anorexia. This is rightly considered oppression by feminists when it happens here at home, but most Western women feel strongly that male domination forbidding women to exhibit their sexiness is a more serious threat to their personal sovereignty than beauty pagents. Women should be allowed, and men protesting it are more insufferable than those who attend. Nobody entertains the notion that the Muslim extremists protesting Western immodesty are doing it for feminist liberation.
Theresa Corbin is a woman who identifies herself as an Islamic feminist who believes the ideals of Islam are “tolerance, justice, and honor, promoting patience, modesty and balance.” Such a position does suggest Muslim understanding that the dignity of women is at stake in exhibitionism. 9 Islam-Australia, Inc. in an article by Sr. Aminah Mah, asks, “when Muslims oppress Muslim women, one must make a distinction between what constitutes cultural practices and what is in the religion. Islamic teachings are not always practiced by Muslims.” 10 Ali A. Rizvi calls himself an Atheist Muslim. In his understanding there is no contradiction. He loves the songs, memories, rituals, holidays, feasts and joys of the culture that provided his upbringing. He says in understanding this it is important to “emphasize the difference between criticism of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry: the first targets an ideology, and the second targets human beings.” 11 A Senior Fellow from the Center for Global Affairs, NYU A. Ben-Meir in asking if Islam is compatible with democracy argues that the other monotheistic religions were despotic for centuries, “but unlike Islam these religions were effectively secularized and toned down during the century of European Enlightenment.” 12 In another article Rizvi says, “most Muslims are good, peaceful people who have barely read the Quran and seldom follow it except for the occasional cherry-picking and hearsay, much like the adherents of any other religion. Most of the 1 billion Muslims in the world (with the largest populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) don’t even understand Arabic.” 13 This sample of minds addressing the question of Islamic culture helps explain that many good, and dignified people are simply going about their daily lives in a society where Islamic history provides cultural definition. Seyyed Hossein Nasr summed up the Western World’s Islam-blaming attitude with the adage: “Don’t blame God that man is bad.” Whatever else, it is a mistake to blame Muslim culture for the extremists.
Isam M. Shihada, a teacher of English in the Gaza Strip, says, “the Western world still perceives us either romantically, as the land of the Arabian Nights, the land where bearded Sheikhs sit in their tents surrounded by the beautiful harem women, or politically, as the land that gave birth to Bin Laden.” 14 Indeed, the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam, the poetry of Rumi, Suhwardi’s ruminations, the exotic, imaginative captivation of the Whirling Dervishes, calligraphy, the compassionate reign of Sulieman the Magnificent, modern life in the Valley of Kings with its memories of Nefirtiti and the Pharoahs, even local shiskabob restaurants in American cities, are a reminder that the awful things we come across about Al-Qaida, ISIS and Osama Bin Laden, are only a part of a story that is graven into the soil of our earth. It is not proper for the West to engage in a Cowboys and Indians movie about desert men in turbans, especially in light of what this paper will show concerning criminality in high command.
There is a central tenet of the Constitutional objection to Sharia Law that needs to be put forward in order to understand not only other objections that form, but also to prevent narcissism and hypocrisy from informing the Western critic. One such objection is legitimate indignation that Islamic religious law goes beyond behavioral norms into improper invasion of the inner man, that the entire society is geared for parochial, religious education, forced to pray five times a day, which makes spiritual demands on the soul, identity and personhood of the citizen in ways that are understood to be Constitutionally private and off-limits in the West. With no violation of the peace occuring, atheists have been known to be put to death in one of our favorite’s (Saudi Arabia) based on ideas of spiritual pollution that resemble the theme of Spectral Evidence advanced by Wm. Stoughton, Chief Justice of the Special Court arranged in Massachusetts to prosecute the Salem Witch Trials. All of the Middle East is depicted as a land where Cotton Mather seems to be in charge, due to these insistences.
In complaining of mistreatment that puts divorced women into the grips of defective old men and so on, the charms of women straining for liberation in societies that forbid them to drive or to vote takes on a habit of mind that is very singularly feminist in social combat, and this elicits a good deal of understandable attention from women in the West. Like a Japanese woman who charged a Sumo circle from which they are forbidden, women have been known to take to the streets in cars in Arabia without license as a group in protest.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Muslim girl, stood up for the right of young women to an education, and survived being shot to speak again. She is taken by the West for their own martyr, but there is a cautionary note that explains something important to this adoption of cause. Malala has never renounced Islam. She believes in the potential for a renaissance granting women education under a proper interpretation of Sharia. She writes, “when we have our first sight of the Kaaba, the black-shrouded cube in Mecca that is our most sacred place, any wish in your heart is granted by God. When we prayed at the Kaaba, we prayed for peace in Pakistan and for girls’ education and I was surprised to find myself in tears. But when we went to the other holy places in the desert of Mecca where the Prophet lived and preached, I was shocked that they were littered with empty bottles.” 15
Seyyed Hossein Nasr writes, in a meditative book about the poets of Sufism, “On the level of the Shari’ah Islam has always seen other religions as a Divine Law like itself. Many medieval jurists referred to the shar of other prophets and peoples, and Islamic Law itself gives freedom within the Islamic world (dar al-islam) for other people having their own Divine Law to follow.” 16 It seems grating, but the shock jock radio of New York City and lampoons of Charlie Hebdo, entirely legal in the West, probably do not speak eloquently for the wishes of all the women in the Middle East seeking dignity and reform. They are more like the bottles strewn in sacred places. In alliance with other powerful religions, Islamic theocratic governments affect some Western minorities with foreboding, mystery and dread. Some of the traditions are not as noxious to the women in the Middle East as they are always made out to be.
Women in Iranian literature, for example, began finding their voice around the same time as American suffragettes. “Bibi Khanom Astarabadi’s The Vices of Men (Ma’ayeb al-rejal, 1894), is a plea for greater understanding of the lot of women in the patriarchal society of Iran and an indictment of exploitative behavior.” 17 The vociferous outrage that presumes all Muslim women oppressed and unhappy is misguided. The thunderbolts from the skies, bombings so constant and intense that recent news reports that we have depleted our supplies of missiles. Again, we must ask, if the happy campers in American high command are so earnest and competent, why did they demand this shocking outcome?
4. A Word About Media
Understanding about the Middle East is hard to arrive at, but with some careful catagorical priorities, a reader can, in fact, find a set of disputes that help bring into focus what the rift between our cultures is all about, and why things have gotten worse, despite promising avenues for advancement, moderation and resolution. The inability to understand on the part of our people may be part of a malaise in the media.
In an article about Diane Arbus, a photographer of marginal persons who died in 1971 by her own hand, Louis A. Sass says that Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist, describes the post-modern mind “as a new form of schizophrenia: the person having lost all sources of passion or direction, or of personal individuality, and all motivation for introspection, comes to be little more than a “switching center for all the networks of influence.”” 18 Although he does not say this, for that to happen the individual would have to become an active agency in switching off interjections from conscience or personal curiosity, working instead to master the juggling act of accommodating positions from their parameter comfortable to their power center. In another note, a group of medical sociologists in Germany wrote about grueling working conditions and health decline in positions available to freelance media workers. They describe a society where “the steady growth of non-standard work contracts, increasing instability and flexibility and rapid technological change may have far-reaching effects on health and well-being.” Specifically, “people on fixed-term contracts, contingent and temporary work and the self-employed may suffer from the consequences of increased flexibility and decentralization (Bussing & Glasser, 1998; Thorell 1996). The media industry belongs to the sectors that are most intensely hit by these developments.” 19
It can be hard, in other words, to pour time and attention into understanding the problems of a culture faraway which are traditionally scorned in the West, with your own health challenged, your skills unequal to the chore and little personal to gain.
Consider this when attempting to grasp why you may not be satisfied with your own understanding of the Middle East if it is based on what arrives by way of mainstream and available alternative media. These observations depict a post-modern world in which the mind is trained to be versatile at accommodation, swept into circumstances that require intensely rigorous, competitive self-definition or discovery of new ways to exploit a power center based on what is understood to be acceptable. For the exhausted journalist, the saving grace in such an arrangement is a public unwilling, unable and disinterested in seeing the labors of influential media, both mainstream and independent, exercise practical deviation from their standard scripts, pitches and entries. What were once called “ink devils” presumably on the prowl for the truth, are now understood as navigators of acceptability and useful scandal. The pace of technological change in other words, and what was once called “future shock” still has to cater to a consumer base that graciously accepts what is offered, provided it plays to their grasp. This simplifies things on both sides. If everyone misunderstands, it has the grace of being at least common ground. Readers unfortunately feel well served by this upheaval. Media burnout, that is to say, has an ally in a society that doesn’t really understand what is going on and therefore cannot identify when what they are told is wrong, any more than those charged with explaining can find time to research, or the autonomy needed to bring comprehension to the table.
You cannot understand the Middle East without having an understanding of why so few people do. While the most important industry for alternative views, independent journalism is less likely, (due to economic constraints over writers) to develop the powerful research skills needed to vie publicly with established journals playing misleading tunes or successfully show when a powerful voice is being unreasonable, perhaps lying. Freelance writers, once also known as stringers, are caged by difficult circumstances and subject to greater access by agencies hostile to freedom of the press, including disgruntled or bigoted readers, their rival writers and their overlords in the advertising department. This creates a particularly serious problem when it comes to affairs in The Middle East, towards which there some expectation of ignorance, bias, hysteria and a past of misleading disgest. It is my goal in this note to help you understand what you are being denied an opportunity to by available media.
Despite the terrorist attacks on “Charlie Hebdo” a lampoon newspaper in France, or the sparks that flew over “Satanic Verses” by Saalmun Rushdie, terrorism towards freedom of expression is not a characteristic of Muslims living in the West, most of whom accept separation of Mosque and State graciously, aware their freedom of belief and practice of religion is being protected by law. Terrorism does not excuse journalists from the obligation to make sense of our times and the duty to get truth out to the reading public. The bandwagons of hate play on, selling the meaningless, while wrecking the dignity of our civics. If you subscribe to the preposterous idea that Muslims are terrorists, read no further. Stereotyping after an incident leading to lasting trauma may be understandable concerning an individual victim from a psychiatric point of view, but it has no place in a profession.
To understand why you should want to understand the Middle East, and aspire to assist the refugees, return to the art of Diane Arbus which concerns subjects of deformity, mongoloids, individuals with mental illness and Downs Syndrome. As she became enthralled with these images her mental health deteriorated leading to suicide, leading some critics to suspect she began identifying with her subject matter and internalized stigma. As we are inundated with false ideas about the cataclysm around Arabia that has lurched from Cold War stalemate and low-intensity conflict, into rivers of blood, mass exodus, starvation, and threats of a dirty bomb in a climate of shocking terrorism, we begin to identify ourselves within the mess, trying to navigate the post-modern morass while ourselves on the receiving end of powerful media misrepresentation, unnecessary fear and alternative media burnout. This swirl of opinions could affect our self-esteem, leading to apathy, coldness and cynicism. The timing couldn’t be worse. Those who wish ill on the West would be deeply gratified to see us abandon our scruples.
The hurdle you may feel in looking at information through the lens of cultural bias is from the surreal impression left by of a myriad of diverse and specific conflicts of interest demanding mediation and resolution skills that seem beyond the grasp or will of our intelligence services. Who is Hamas? Where did the PLO go? What is happening on the West Bank? Over what tribes has Boko Harem secured influence? Who is the more bloodthirsty, Sunni or Shi’ites? What opportunities were wasted? Who or what was Arab Spring? All of those live ammunition hot buttons exist, but it is where we take refuge that is the most revealing, and that is the will to wage war.
In attempting to research an opinion about the Middle East, instead of relying on editorials and political platforms, I did arrive at my own carefully considered position about what I think probably happened in the Middle East that led to this bloody outcome.
5. Gun Show, USA ~ Battlefield Wanted
The following is a picture of what I think probably really happened in the Gulf War leading to the situation of catastrophe ongoing today.
The evening after the recent shootings in Paris, I was in my Film Studies class and the professor apologized that he was about to show us an Algerian movie about massacres of peaceful Algerian protesters by the French. I started to say, “well, if you want to be fair about it,” he cut me off, “I don’t want to be fair about it,” he said. There is however reason to point out that it happened, and that there are photographs in internet taken during the aftermath with French soldiers exhibiting the heads of the Algerian men they cut off.
“We assume to our peril that as peoples around the world “modernize,”” wrote Susan Rodgers, professor of Anthropology and French History at New York University, “that significant differences among us diminish and in essence we are or will become increasingly alike. The possibilities for serious misunderstanding and blunder are legion when we fail to recognize (at least) or understand (at best) the sociocultural specificities that continue to distinguish us in consequential ways. The displacement of the Shah’s Iran by the Ayatollah’s, for example, was undoubtably unpredictable, but might not have been so astounding to Western observors had been inclined to suppose that signs of moderization mark a single, ineluctable, and familiar path.” It is on the point of unpreditability that Rodgers and I part ways. Gary Sick published an article in the New York Times describing evidence that was observable before the Iran-Contra scandal that the Reagan Administration made arrangements with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime to hold American hostages the 444 days necessary to prevent their release from helping Jimmy Carter. This secret was kept against what they called, “the October Surprise.” Mysteriously, Michel Foucault, the homosexual French philosopher who wrote copiously on the subjects of mental illness, confession and martyrdom astounded everyone by his uncritical support for the Ayatollah’s Islamist overthrow in the years before he contracted the AIDS virus and died, a surrender to gnostic ideals that took form in the name of hedonism and self-reproach, all of which chills with its secret meaning.
The question of whether our competent leaders in high command are doing something they haven’t explained is relevant to understanding the disaster that has unfolded. The alternative explanation is that they are not as competent as they claim. Their denial of incompetence is noted as weighing in favor of my explanation.
The crystalization of decades of Orwellian meditation by the ruling class who have long used the 2nd Amendment as our foreign policy, has resulted in a mutilationist personality on the level of American military authority declaring their rapine to be peaceful intentions. Throughout the Cold War we institutionalized a zero-sum game. Many of our citizens are hoodwinked to think this is in their interest by inclusion in the very restricted rewards available as material prosperity to the survivors, leading to misrule by consent of the governed.
If you are a human being with a heart, the only way not to suffer from the sight of what special, beautiful human beings the Syrians are is to have no contact whatsoever with them, and that is exactly what a sizeable percentage of Americans are seeking to do, further, there is nothing new about this approach, tuning out, to the problem of accomplice in atrocity and murder.
In a rational world it might be possible to ask: why are there Americans who blame Syrian refugees who are fleeing terror for the very terror they are fleeing when it was caused by American policies? Just as though Syrian refugees were the gunmen in the Paris massacre when they were not. Proof? You mean you have not be inundated with Neanderthal dogma every time you have tried to listen to opinions? Proof? Okay, proof, fair.
In an editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published Friday, November 27, 2015, written by Ted Goldberg and Karen Hochberg, titled: “Welcome the Syrian Refugees,” they point out that, “dangerous rhetoric used by some Republican presidential candidates fan fear.” They add, “At a time when the world needs humanitarian leadership, some are now calling for the suspension of the U.S. refugee program.” David Ropeik, in Huffington Post, author of “How Risky is it Really?” notes dryly, “None of the attackers in Paris were Syrians, nor refugees. They were French or Belgian.” Ian Bremmer reports in an article from, “World Refugees,” that Presidential candidate, “Ted Cruz plans to introduce legislation that would ban Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the U.S.” while “Ben Carson has used a particularly offensive analogy to rabid dogs when explaining why he is against letting in Syrian refugees.” What it amounts to is an American culture who will say what it not true to get their way. Obstruct and lie.
Loudly affirming that they do not mean well, nevertheless they have taken matters into hand and caused this mess. In Salon Magazine, Jo Comerford and Mattea Kramer stated, “U.S. military advisers and trainers in Iraq soon launched what would be a disastrous program to vet, arm and train “moderate Syrian rebels to counter militants in Islamic State. In the year that followed, the Syrian refugee crisis escalated dramatically.” According to Behlul Ozkan in Huffington World Post, “During the 1980s, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. armed thousands of international jihadis — the mujahideen — who were flocking to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union; Reagan even met with a group of their leaders in the Oval Office in 1983. Just two decades later, however, it became clear that the U.S. had been playing a dangerous game in backing these “freedom fighters.” Unfortunately, the very same scenario is now being repeated in Syria — with Turkey assuming the role of Pakistan. The U.S., Turkey and Saudi Arabia have effectively created a new Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean. And yet, instead of trying to extinguish the conflagration in Syria, they continue to pour fuel on the fire.”
Detainment of children who fled without their parents is sometimes in cold, concrete cells for long periods with little medical attention. Documentation is necessary to begin the long application process. Conditions are getting worse. 71 refugees suffocated to death in a truck abandoned on the side of the road in civilized Austria. Migrant centers in Greece are turning back refugees to Turkey where they sometimes just disappear. Hunger is forcing many who flee to withdraw their children from schools set up for their children and try to return to the broken country they fled. In a facebook post a woman named Amanda Buessecker says, “they are scared and they are brave,” but, “it sucks that my new neighbors are Syrian refugees, it means I can no longer escape the horrors of the world.”
Under President Chester Arthur in 1882, Congress suspended Chinese Immigration. This was a turbulent and unusual economic time. Jesse Chisholm had opened a trail for longhorn cattle drives from Texas to the Midest, Kansas and Dodge City (known at the time as the “Gomorrah of the Plains,”) that succeeded with the help of the railroads. Chinese labor, virtually slave labor, had been used to build the railroads, especially in California, yet “Judge Roy Bean stated in an infamous murder trial, “I’ll be damned if I can find any law against killing a Chinaman” (because the law in Texas came down on killing human beings, which according to Bean included whites, African-Americans, and Mexicans only).” 20
Crafty monopolist moves were transpiring. “In February 1872, the railroads were parties to a conspiracy that doubled freight rates from the oil regions – to all except members of the South Improvement Company,” 21 a move in the rise of J.D. Rockefeller’s attempt to control oil revenue. Although watchdogs in Oil City, Pennsylvania announced a “common people” campaign exposing the illegal manipulations of the South Improvement Company under the headline: “Behold “the Anaconda” in All His Hideous Deformity,” 22 leading a boycott that forced Rockefeller to change tactics, it was a time when mass industrialists from the cities were smashing the interests of the rural poor, as railroads were characterized by writers like Frank Norris as an “Octopus,” reviewed by literary columnist Wallace Rice as describing, “the machinations of the officials of a great monopoly,” 23 “hatched in warped and brutal brains.”
From it’s very inception the ingraciousness of deportation was a ruse of ingrates. “Due process in deportation was smashed on the rock of judicial decision in 1893, never to be put together again. In Fong Yue Ting v. United States, the Supreme Court determined the future pattern of expulsion in one simple interpretation: Deportation was not a punishment for crime but merely an administrative process for the return of unwelcome and undesirable alien residents to their own countries.” 24
As what Mark Twain called, “The Gilded Age,” in a satire about its insincerity, evolved into the age of robber barons, seeing such groups as the IWW and Wobblies organizing to protect immigrant labor, the great forces of the automobile industry began to vie for control of our cities.
The word Pinkerton Detective is virtually the opposite of the malicious word, “Jaywalker,” which was invented to depict those who wanted Pedestrian Protection and Speed Limits as simpletons and scoundrels deserving to be chased off the roads by Edsels and Model T’s. Scarifying propaganda arrived from Henry Ford’s faction depicting those who wanted safety in the cities as Chinese radicals. Child labor challenges had exploded in America and Europe. A hostile country where Native Americans were soldiers in the Confederacy during the Civil War, the rise of the automobile industry appeared with platoons of military repression putting down labor riots, while Upton Sinclair took on meat packing irregularities and demanded fact-checking in journalism where newspapers were under control of the rich and prejudiced against such groups as miners.
Exclusion became a birthrite of power that had nothing to do with Constitutional philosophy. Henry Ford was eventually given the highest medal of honor that could be bestowed on a non-German by Adolf Hitler personally. The octopus of the automobile industry has never been exposed for all its tawdry shame.
Railroads continue to be at the heart of the struggle for human decency. “There’s a network of freight trains that runs the length of Mexico, from its southernmost border with Guatemala north to the United States. In addition to grain, corn or scrap metal, these trains are carrying an increasing number of undocumented immigrants whose aim is to cross into the U.S. and despite the many deadly challenges it poses, more and more children ~ both with adults and alone ~ have been making the risky journey … these aren’t passenger trains, there are no paroramic windows, seats or even a roof to guard from sun or rain. People call it La Bestia, or The Beast. Some call it the Death Train. It’s estimated that up to half-million migrants ride The Beast each year.” 25 Trains, themselves, when speaking of refugees, conjure the host of Sobibor, Dachau and Treblinka.
The Miami Herald warns of the welcome. “Beware of Police Brutality Against Immigrants” one headline screams. Latin Post reports by headline: “Police Brutality Towards Latinos is Up but Fails to Get Coverage, Undocumented Immigrants have “Fear” of Contacting Authorities”.
They come from narcofascist regions encouraged and sponsored by high command intriguers with warped priorities. We know this only if we care to, because media has carried on as though nothing ever came to light.
Iran-Contra was a scandal under the Reagan Presidency where Exocet missiles were sold to Iran by way of Israel to raise money for mercenaries bombing Nicaraguan harbors in violation of the Boland Amendment, passed by Congress. Iran is to Contra what Arab Spring is to Liberation Theology. Both Arab Spring and Liberation Theology were violently suppressed by the proxies of the U.S. Military in order to prevent a movement of poor people seeking greater civil liberties. Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered in El Salvador by forces supports by the United States. The murder took place in his church where he had preached for the rights of the poor. Arab Spring was not like an American peace demonstration, no matter how rowdy it became at Kent State. Sniper fire was constant, many who began the day by taking to the streets, didn’t return home again. The witnesses said that one impression really galled them, that all of the tear gas cannisters read: Made in America.
For many decades the United States of America has used our 2nd Amendment, the right to own and bear arms, as a foreign policy, giving guns to anyone who could afford to buy them, while seeking to spread dischord among the poor. This foreign policy of maximum militarization was sold as anti-communism as we institutionalized under the slogans of the Cold War a zero-sum game. The secret history of AIDS remains a key element of this nightmare. War has spread. Governments in South America have become narco-fascist executioners.
It is likely that those who flee to the U.S. are following the music of our principles, but in many things British and American, the bullets that arrive begin as songs.
8. A Criminology of High Command
On August 18, 1945, just after the surrender of Japan, Harold Lamb wrote an article titled, The Middle East Explodes, in the Saturday Evening Post that began, “Just across the globe from us is the biggest stretch of unclaimed land on earth.” He is speaking of the entire region. “The Middle East,” he continues, “remains a vast territory unclaimed by any of the great powers.” Describing tensions in Syria with the French he conceeds, “It is not a case of internal combustion. Throughout this region one and half times as large as the United States with only half its population, there are no internal stresses and strains that have worked to the surface and have broken out in conflict at the great war’s end. The explosives have been imported from outside. The pressure comes directly from the west.”
On May 8, 1945, while Paris was celebrating the capitulation of Berlin in WW2, French massacred Algerians peacefully demonstrating. The French exhibited the heads of protesters they decapitated and are held responsible for as many as 45,000 deaths that year by Turkey investigating atrocity by the French in Algeria.
The Cold War was largely brokered by Allen Dulles who led the CIA and his brother John Foster Dulles who served as Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower. Together they allowed the Vichy French, who had been loyal to Hitler and partners of the Japanese in Indochina, stay in Vietnam where they dragged us into an unjust and unpopular war that continues to divide and poison our domestic political environment. Yet the poison of war was described as just the opposite by American Armed Forces leadership.
In 1968, Major General Thos. Lane, a protegee of Dulles, wrote, “The alchemists of peace work subtly to confer the high prestige of the peace of the spirit upon its very antithesis, the peace of the flesh. We are called upon not to preserve any principles at all but to regard the absence of war as the highest good. Surely this is the philosophy of a dying civilization. This corruption of peace is the poison of civilization.” I assume the peace of the flesh would offend him deeply as it walked, catty and stridently, across the floor of a Nigerian Beauty Contest. “The poison of peace has been the agent of decay,” he continues. “I observed the accelerated decay of our American system under President Kennedy,” he rues. “Peace,” he says is, “a mirage with which to hypnotize.” 26
Once we have it clear in our heads that only by war can we arrive at peace of the spirit, the mandate to provoke war is also understood and confirmed. Dr. Tim Anderson says that the war against Syria came about as a result of America’s determination not to allow a popular movement of peaceful political reform to emerge in Damascus. “Accusing Syria of constant atrocities, then pretending to rescue the Syrian people from their own government,” he says that America engages in a dirty war like, “dozens of interventions in Latin America over the subsequent century. A notable dirty war was led by CIA-backed, ‘freedom fighter’ mercenaries based in Honduras, who attacked the Sandanista Government and the people of Nicaragua in the 1980’s. That conflict, in its modus operandi, was not so different to the war on Syria.” 27
The Gulf War itself began when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, a country run by an oppressive Sunni ruling class. Syria and Iran were the first to demand Saddam withdraw. The United States unleashed a war against Saddam, although never stating openly that Syria and Iran were our allies, which would not have sounded right in a toxic environment about Iran’s participation in an Axis of Evil. The resultant environmental calamity has been under-reported in the press.
Questions have been raised to the effect that Saddam Hussein was lured into an invasion of Kuwait. Global research, who published the book by Dr. Tim Anderson, reveal in a tape of a meeting between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie that the following exchange took place eight days before the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.
Saddam Hussein: If we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. What is the United States’ opinion on this?
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie: We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary of State Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.28
America continued the war against Iraq, preaching against imaginary weapons of mass destruction and then temporarily occupied Iraq. We pulled out just in time to all the Islamic State or ISIS to pour into the void. “On June 10, 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, moved on Mosul, Iraq’s largest city. The advance blew the uniforms off hapless soldiers and police, and left prison cells and bank vaults empty of the contents,” say Juan C. Zarate and Thos. M. Sanderson in a June 28, 2014 New York Times article titled: How the Terrorists Got Rich.
According to deceased British member of Parliament, Robin Cook, “Throughout the 80’s Osama bin Laden was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage Jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden’s organization would turn its attention to the west.” 29 Making sure that the poison of peace didn’t lull us into the peace of Beauty Pageants.
Russia has suffered ethnic warfare with Muslims in Chechnya where their rule over a significant minority has been challenged. Russia has been moved to aid Syria and Iran in efforts to maintain a civilizing pressure on a growing Muslim minority in their midst whose birth rate may someday make Muslims in Russia a majority. Variables in what sort of leadership to expect “appears to take on added importance in view of the suggestion by some prominent observors – vigorously disputed by others – that Muslim cultures are incompatible with, or at least inhospitable to, democracy.”30 “The results of public opinion surveys do not establish a specific relationship between belief in Islam per se and adherence to democratic or antidemocratic values. What they often do suggest is that the population of Central Asia is traditionally more conservative and respectful of authority.”31
Syria and Iran are run by Shi’ites who constitute only 10 to 15 percent of the Muslims in the world, the rest being Sunnis. Sunnis have a reputation for being more militaristic and Islamofascist. Saddam Hussein was Sunni, so are the Saudi Arabian. ISIS and Al-Quaida are militant offshoots of Sunni, a cult known as the Salafis. The historic religious difference between is that Shi’ites continue to follow Islam represented by martyrs from the family of Muhammed. Sunnis believe that religious authority passed on from the Prophet to members of the religious community.
Since Russia was the other half of the Cold War, and are now concerned for to be sure their people are more respectful of democracy, I thought it would be worthwhile to include what some Russians are saying today about America. These are the people whose mutual hostility has destroyed the world. All of these quotes are from the book: Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States 32
“In this country girls blush if you catch their eye by chance.” ~ Mikhail Aizenbey
“The city of San Francisco is beautiful.” ~ Anatoly Barzakh
“America is always an event.” ~ Dmitry Bavilsky
“We were meant for each other, weren’t we?” ~ Marina Borodiskaya
“The glorious city of Pittsburgh….I am just giving them credit.” ~ Evgeny Bunimovich
“Departure to the U.S. is viewed here as murder: of one’s former self.” ~ Oleg Dark
“Books, in any quantity, can be taken down from the shelves and brought into the can, to be read to your heart’s content.” ~ Arkadii Dragomochenko
“Traveling to America cannot NOT change your life…America, my friends, is our common property, the property of all intelligent, thinking human beings.” ~ Arthur Kudashev
“The turning point, I believe, was poetry.” ~ Dmitry Kuzmin
“I am sad that I did not get to go to America.” ~ Aleksandr Levin
“New York, on its tippy toes, always reaching up high.” ~ Suregy Leybgrad
“Forever and the Earth.” ~ Stanislav Luovsky
“No one’s inviting me.” ~ Aleksey Mikheev
“There’s plenty of the quaint and weird.” ~ Dmitry Prigov
“It would be good to go everywhere in America, look into every God-forsaken corner, flirt with the winds.” ~ Max Frai
“They behave – honest to God – strangely.” ~ Maria Galina
“It didn’t change the issue: nothing but America on my mind, and that’s the end of it.” ~ Sergey Gandlevsky
“I want to start dieting and to become anorexic.” ~ Linev Goralik
“Americans are very touching in their grief.” ~ Olga Linitskaya
“America is a land of fools which has created attractive conditions for an intelligent person.” ~ Leonid Kostyukov
“I fell in love with Robert Frost.” ~ Grigori Kruzhkov
“No matter how you look at it, America, both in general and particular, is a problem of Russian consciousness.” ~ Igor Shevelev
“The inhabitants of this planet would like to see at the head of this Superpower a more responsible administration.” ~ Vladimi Tuchkov
“Of course, being homeless, isn’t all roses.” ~ Aleksey Tsvetkov, Jr.
“The English language is a belief in the human being and his or her abilities, despite everything.” ~ Dmitry Vedenyapin
“One could ironicize about barbaric America to one’s heart’s content.” ~ Andrea Zorin
It is as if personality, and fraternity, never conceded, laughs anyway.
I do not believe that anyone should be allowed to deny that Russia is in Syria and influencing Iran out of concern for the prospects of their own future under Democracy. The lack of awareness about that fact is a pretty serious matter.
10. Arab Spring
People need hope, they need to believe that ideals can make better things real. Arab Spring was named for Prague Spring, so it is a good beginning to know what this means.
After World War Two, which began with Hitler’s occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union took control of Eastern Europe. Czechoslovakia never knew post-war freedom. Academics and expression were controlled and dominated by the communists. In 1968, Ivan Svitak and a number of other leading professors led a movement into the streets demanding reform and liberty that was put down by tanks and soldiers from the USSR. Svitak wrote in reflection, “A skeptical mind cannot imagine what the power elites might do to avert social change when they are not even able to tame the devastating force of water, which is insignificant when compared to the vandalism of man.” 33 Through the Samizdat (free speech movement) with martyrs like elderly professor Jan Patochka who died in prison for circulating petitions, Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution eventually led to the establishment of a free Czech Republic, but it was not without pain and early failure.
“At some point we decided to stop being silent and our revolution started,” says Hussein Ghrer, a Syrian human rights activist named Amnesty International. In December of 2010, a street vendor in Tunisia named Mohammed Bouazizi committed suicide by fire to protest extortion by police. This began a process that spread to Egypt, where non-violent protesters endured sniper fire to expel Hosni Mubarak from power, uprisings that led to anarchy in Libya after the street execution of Moammar Ghaddafy and civil war in Syria. A New Yorker article by George Packer, published March 28, 2016, titled Exporting Jihad blames Arab Spring for the rise of ISIS. “Before the revolution, Tunisia had been kept rigidly secular. Now the black flag of radical Islam flew over many buildings,” he writes.
Why would anyone cast aspersions on Arab Spring?
11. A Theory of ISIS
Among the most telling comments I found in my readings was by Harold Rhode in Focus Quarterly, Summer 2013, published by the Jewish Policy Center. He writes, “There are many divisions among Sunni Islamists and they are spending a lot of effort, not only killing the (Syrian) regime’s forces, but also killing fellow Sunnis. It would be prudent if we took advantage of the differences among the Sunni fundamentalist.” What this admits is very telling. America and Israel are looking to spread sectarianism, create chaos, prevent unity, divide and conquer. The fact that Arab Spring was a popular movement of people seeking what we seek, freedom, dignity, fair play and justice was abhorred.
The Salafi Sunni sect behind ISIS were in fact sponsored by the Royal Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and by the United States of America. Saudi Arabia’s monarchy is held in place by riches that trickle down through their society, but the legitimacy of the reign is widely questioned. The last thing they want is a popular uprising to succeed. The sight of Hosni Muburak being brought down from the streets was too much for them.
Hani Soubra is skeptical of one-line warriors. He writes, “there is no one solution,” to the problems of the Middle East, but on review, writing of Al-Qaida he pens, “Al-Qaida owes its existence to many factors: The American CIA, Saudi intelligence, the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and of course the charismatic personality of its leaders.” Robin Cook, deceased British member of Parliament claims that Al-Qaida meant “database” and was just a list of extremists that the U.S. armed to fight Russia. In the Guardian July 7, 2005, Cook wrote that Al-Qaida was, “a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden’s organisation would turn its attention to the west. The danger now is that the west’s current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail.”
After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Syria and Iran were the first to demand war. America invaded first in Kuwait and then Iraq itself while fomenting delusions about weapons of mass destruction. America wanted to make very clear that we weren’t there for the benefit of Syria and Iran. We pulled out just in time to give maximum advantage to ISIS.
“On June 10, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, moved on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The advance blew the uniforms off hapless soldiers and police officers, and left prison cells and bank vaults emptied of their contents. In the largest bank holdup in recent memory, ISIS operatives reportedly stole up to $400 million in cash. Flush with money, ISIS will have the resources (as well as the territory) to establish itself as the hub of a global terrorist movement in the heart of the Middle East. There are no Treasury paratroopers to send in to seize the cash, or bank regulations to issue to stop ISIS from spending it.”34
Kevin Barrett, a loose cannon online says in an article titled: ISIS: a Frankenstein monster created by the US and Israel, “They call themselves Islamic State (IS)…but their behavior is radically un-Islamic, even satanic and their so-called caliphate is actually a false flag operation against Islam. A better acronym would be U.S. (Un-Islamic State). Was ISIS created to crush Arab Spring? Why would the New Yorker be so disingenuous as to blame Arab Spring for their rise?
I believe the answer is in British Royalty, which Saudi Arabia and New York power all support. We’ve seen missions of this sort before. The Duke of Windsor even supported Adolf Hitler. This has been reported in Newsweek (6/11/2015, Karina Urbach). After the murder of Martin Luther King, a movement known as the British rock invasion, with cohorts from Laurel Canyon in California, launched a bedlam of drugs and occultism in rock lyrics and music intended to derail, pollute, mislead, confuse and destroy the Civil Rights Movement in the name of lunatic ideas about freedom of expression that relied heavily on the promotion of hallucinogenic drugs, now exposed as a mission of shadow war called the MK-Ultra. The purpose was to march their enthralled into a death trap.
During the war in Vietnam heroin flowed in and out of Asian into the United States with the help of secret air services that were again implicated in smuggling drugs and guns during illegal operations that came to light in the Iran-Contra hearings. These attacks targeted the poor in Nicaragua who Roberto Clemente, by the way, and relevant to my community college in Pittsburgh, died trying to bring assistance. Sabotage of poor people’s movements is nothing new.
Queen Elizabeth’s letter exchanges with Billy Graham are in Time Magazine. In his book Rebel With a Cause Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, reveals, “Every contra had a nickname so if he or she were ever caught by the Sandanistas, real names wouldn’t be disclosed. One man in the chaplains corps was called Hitler. He had been an executioner in the contra army. His cohorts had chosen his name because at one time Hitler had been very proficient in his responsibilities. Hitler was one of our promising young chaplains. One day Ruben said, “Now Hitler will come and give announcements.” Hitler stood up and said, “My name no longer Hitler.” Ruben asked, “then what is your name?” “Lazarus,” he said with a smile, “because I have raised from the dead.” Everyone applauded as Ruben put his arms around Lazarus and hugged him tight. There were tears in everyone’s eyes.”
12. Our New Neighbors
They come by clinging to a train through Mexico from Central America known as “the beast”. They flee executioners of the poor supported and trained by the U.S. known for genocide. They flee narco-trafficking and chaos, bad sanitation, and lack of educational opportunities. They come alone and they come as families. They arrive in a sorry state. “When trauma is of human origin and is intentionally inflicted…it not only shatters one’s fundamental assumptions about the world and one’s safety in it, but it also severs the sustaining connection between the self and the rest of humanity,” wrote Susan Brison, in Ethics of Law at Dartmouth.
There is almost no accounting what they have been through. Immigrants are afraid to call police when exploited. Women who suffer domestic abuse that may be normal in their home countries are subject to incidents that are abuse and felony assault in the United States. The cultural differences are profound, but so is the availability of mental health programs.
Newcomers from Muslim nations face stereotyping and prejudice. In the Muslim community, “Mental illness may be perceived as a test or punishment from God,” writes Ayse Ciftci of Purdue University. “Even when Muslims have positive attitudes toward mental health, social stigma remains strong.” 35
Pressures from Muslim society can be irregular. According to Time Magazine, “Nearly 19,000 people in Indonesia diagnosed with mental disabilities are currently living shackled in chains or otherwise confined to claustrophobically small spaces.” With such cases in their culture, fear of recovery and treatment would be understandably profound. America has high standards against sexual harassment in the workplace. We have rehabilitative programs and long-term planning expectations for people in the work force. Some of us are good Samaritan enough to worry about low-income elderly and their home maintenance. Muslim refugees with elderly in cultural shock are a new prospect in urban mental health care. Neither South America or The Middle East have much of any representation in such progressive movements as the International Clubhouse Program for recovery and stability among the mentally ill.
Further there are cultural biases that may shade and prejudice Muslims in their willingness to engage life in America, which in turn will inflame those who believe they should ethnically profiled and excluded. “Honor killings are not classified as such, are rarely prosecuted, or when prosecuted in the Muslim world, result in relatively light sentences.”36 These are murders of daughters who are thought to bring shame on a family through freedom of association that is considered normal and encouraged in the West.
Muslims regard pornography as Fuhsha, a word meaning filthy or foul, and abhor even nudity. They are forbidden to use the human image in art. Zina, the word for sexual intercourse outside of marriage is considered a criminal act. For victims of wartime rape, there is a strangulating dialogue coming from the Catholic Bishops’ council who accused the United Nations of making abortion available to slave rape victims of Boko Harem, as though the U.N. are committing a crime. The question of Islam oppressing women is augmented by divisions in America concerning the best approach to Mental Health Nursing in extreme situations like wartime rape. What this means is that if we do not prepare ourselves for the drama ahead, or shirk our duties by building a wall, we not only abandon our professional duty to our commonwealth, but challenge our own right to claim leadership in the world by abandonment.
13. The Future of Walls
War is a time for poets and yet no time for them at all. Societies who know nothing of saving lives need poets to explain but the poets are too busy saving lives. Each time a decision is made by a politician to wage war the public should be reminded of the screams of frightened, confused and doomed children, as well as the predator history of war machine profiteers. The so-called War on Terror is no different. It has become an attempt to radically dehumanize the Arabs, while justifying crime after crime against the people of the Middle East. As a result of this, voices in the margin are right in asking whether the people of the United States are being misled by powerful interests and ensnared in policies based on misleading reports about the source and intentions behind the bombings and massacres in places like New York, Paris and Brussels in recent days.
The problems that exist in Arabia are solvable from an intellectual standpoint, but it is clear that from a political standpoint it may be too late. The reality is shadowed by cataclysm and false awareness. In this gloom, compassion fatigue, the malady of depression that can fall upon and beset those engaged in life-sustaining labors against fierce odds, often defeated, is virtually a point of departure. The embarrassing lack of wisdom and meaningful education in the West converts a wall of silence into fear and the promise of other walls as well. This paper is about the future of those walls, where they are coming from, and why we don’t need them, why they are a waste and a fraud, for who will build us a wall against global warming and the environmental catastrophe that is a hidden result of contemptible policies towards the Middle East?
We are facing a grand transformation from a vision of Arabia as a place where progress is needed, and demagogues obstruct International Law, to a darker vision of enemies who need to be destroyed, subjugated and exterminated. The lurch from a region where war was unthinkable to a region where war is suddenly normalized with bitter consequences for the societies crippled in terrible bloodbaths, may look like just one more chapter of strategy and chess from the Encyclopedia, but the urgent cries of suffering and fight for life are immediate and pertain to our own reputation. It is no joke that elements of our High Command appear to be war criminals, giving the valor of the Lodz Ghetto Uprising to the acts of terrible revenge we call terrorism. So long as this is true, the strange case will remain that the refugee and Immigrants fleeing to America are simultaneously fleeing here from us, who invaded their homelands snarling with bigotry and jingoism.
Arriving here all but buck naked, having sacrificed their possessions and even their families to escape, they face Judges in court many of whom are not advised of the circumstances surrounding their condition as escapees from atrocious conditions. Such Judges receive a daily diet of misinformation from political media.
“Judges in the United States do not necessarily have any specific training for that position. Many judges have not even practiced criminal law; others have not practiced any kind of law for more than a few years. Some law schools now offer summer institutes to train judges, but judges are not required to attend.” 37 It is probably too much to hope that expertise in history, sociology or psychology are merits that they bring to the table. Many judges not only fail to understand the issues, but do not have a handy grasp on the Asylum process, interpreting their role as one of arbitrary judgment, leading to judicial error. According to TRAC, a records clearinghouse online: “The process by which the United States grants asylum is extremely complex, partly because it takes place in two different agencies. One is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), located in the Department of Homeland Security. The other is the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), located in the Justice Department. In addition to being under the purview of separate agencies, the asylum process is further complicated by the fact that it has multiple entry points and multiple exit points.”
In light of the fact that many illegal Mexican immigrants, towards whom nativist, anti-immigrant resentment has developed as a match to the blaze concerning Syrian immigrants, simply have to hide to get by, hoping to remain invisible until the next Congressional Amnesty program arrives, if it ever does. It contains a note from more a more extreme situation from a hundred years ago. Writing of the German Concentration Camps, Bruno Bettelheim reports, “True compliance with all commands and prohibitions was impossible if one wanted to live, so the real necessity was to just not get caught. That this was not simply a solution worked out by prisoners, but one intended by the SS was made very clear to everyone. Again and again every SS from the army commander down announced, “Don’t dare to be noticeable” or “Don’t dare to come to my attention.”38 I saw the effects of this heartbreaking terror of American authority when I lived in the Chinatown/International District of Seattle. Walking in the door unexpectedly of Acorn, a drop-in program for Vietnamese and Filipino Immigrants from the local landscape, I provoked, as an unknown white man, a frightened stampede out the back door. I was also an offended witness to arbitrary shakedowns by bicycle police officers of elderly Asian shoppers outside the grocery, and was treated upon my arrival to Seattle in 2001 to the sad story of an 80 year old man named Manalastas who was deported from his long time home. Mr. Manalastas was known and liked by a large congregation of Filipino Veterans sworn into the U.S. Army in World War Two who were granted citizenship but never allowed to bring their wives.
Not everyone is sympathetic to the lenient sounds that trend in the civics of Seattle. Michelle Maglalang (Malkin) in a book of advocacy for the Japanese Internment camps memories of which are contained in a Memorial Wall near Little Saigon, a book specifically aimed at vocally justifying Arab cultural profiling as potential criminals despite lack of evidence, writes, “The Japanese espionage network and the Islamic terrorist network exploit many of the same immigration loopholes,” “members of both networks arrived here on student visas and religious visas.” 39 Malkin calls us, “off our collective rocker,” and pursuing, “a dangerous bugaboo,” in giving consideration to civil liberties when faced with “the threat of Islamofascism.” “America,” she announces, “need never apologize.”
Another writer with a nom de guerre, Stefan Anarkowic, writes in a pamphlet titled: Against the God Emperor, “The methods of state repression are universal…all use exactly the same methods to repress, to kill, to suppress discontent, using any and all dirty tricks possible to maintain themselves in power.” 40 Whose dire warnings have more force in this tragic situation? Is there any past by which to guide us? Do we have to rationally choose our poison from between the scare tactics?
“From the moment he spoke in Wheeling on February 9, 1950 down to the instant of his condemnation by the Senate in late 1954, Joe McCarthy’s unvarying thesis was that the American system on the highest levels was riddled with subversives; that communist infiltrators had been placed and protected in high policy making positions; that they had betrayed the nation.” “Vast portions of the American public never realized the whole performance was a “hoax and fraud.” 41 Yet the authors of the current situation in Arabia rose to power in the United States from the noise of this Red Scare windbox.
At the time of this writing, another political pugilist has arrived on the scene spreading hate, but I prefer not to sully this research paper by including a tawdry name.
Although the United States of America has in its legend the belief that all men are created equal, the Supreme Court has ruled out recognizing foreign authority when law enforcement is seeking criminals overseas; nor do we recognize the Fourth Amendment civil rights of aliens in their own countries when we are investigating a crime. Since Constitutional authority is seen, already, as having aspects that violate the laws of God under Sharia, the example we set, to do away with our own principles when interacting with others in foreign affairs, invites scorn for our sovereignty. I fear that the newspaper establishment suffered a defeat in the 80’s during the Iran-Contra era. During the Senate Hearings on the affair, a notorious plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution was mentioned, and Sen. Danial Inouye of Hawaii, presiding over the inquiry, hammered his gavel for a recess, after which he asked the participants to avoid issues too close to National Security. In my view, the entire sinister entanglement suggested that the extremists of God law were being purposefully incited and empowered under the table of Reagan’s dark hand.
1. Howard Adelman, Canadian academic, quoted in Good Material: Canada and the Prague Spring Refugees, Laura Madokoro, Refuge Magazine, vol. 26, no.1
2. Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 2015.
3. Sufi Essays, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Allen and Unwin, Ltd, 1972, p. 143
4. Commentary Magazine, 2015 (online)
5. International and Comparative Law Review (Vol. 36: 153, 2013), p. 154
6. Justice for All: American Muslims, Sharia Law and Maintaining Comity Within American Jurisprudence, Sarah M. Fallon.
7. Outcasting: Enforcement in Domestic and International Law, Yale Law Review.
8. Islamism and Democracy in New Arab Democracies, Alexander Klassen, online.
9. Human Events: Powerful Conservative Voice, Weds. Oct. 15, 2014, online.
10. “Does Islam Oppress Women?” Sr. Aminah Mah, Islam-Australia, Inc. online.
11. “Why I Call Myself an ‘Atheist Muslim’ Ali A. Rizvi, Huffington Post, 5/13/2103
12. “Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?” Alon Ben-Meir, The World Post, 7/8/2013
13. “An Atheist Muslim’s Perspective on the ‘Root Causes’ of Islamist Jihadism and the Politics of Islamophobia, Ali A. Rizvi, The World Post, 5/3/2013
14. Breaking Silence in Rajjaalsanea’s Girls of Riyadh, International Journal of English and Literature (IJEL), Vol. 3, Issue 2, Jun 2013.
15. I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai, Little Brown Company, 2013
16. Sufi Essays, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Allen and Unwin, 1972, p. 143.
17. In a Voice of Their Own, Stories by Iranian Women, F. Lewis and F. Yazdanfar, Mazda Publishers, 1996, from the Introduction.
18. “Hyped on Clarity”: Diane Arbus and the Postmodern Condition, Louis A. Sass. p.5
19. Adverse psychosocial working conditions and subjective health in freelance media workers, Work & Stress, 2005, Michael Ertel, et al.
20North American Project, Chinese Railroad Workers, Stanford University, online.
21p. 644 American Economic History, Broadus Mitchell, Louise Person Mitchell< houghton Mifflin Company, 1947.)
22p295 OUR TIMES vol 2 america findinger herself mark sullivan Chas Scribner 1929)
23p.9. Studies in the Octopus, compiled by Richard Davison, Chas E. Merrill Pub. 1969)
24Aliens and Dissenters, chap. One, Immigrants as Scapegoats, Wm. Preston, Jr. Harvard U. Press, 1963.
25Riding The Beast, Wilson Sayre, Politics and Policy, National Public Radio, June 5, 2014)
26. The War for the World, Maj. Gen. Thos. Lane, Viewpoint Books, 1968.
27. The Dirty War on Syria, Dr. Tim Anderson, Global Research ebook, available in PDF.
28. Transcript of Meeting. July 25, 1990.
29. The Struggle Against Terrorism Cannot Be Won by Military Means, Robin Cook, July 2005, Manchester Guardian.
30. Russia and the New States of Eurasia: the politics of upheaval, Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott, Cambridge University Press, 1994. p. 155.
32. Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States, edited by Mikhail Lossel and Jeff Parker, Dalkey Archive Press, 2004.
33. On Revolution and the Prague Spring, Ivan Svitak, New Politics, Fall 1973, p. 68
34. How the Terrorists Got Rich, Juan Zarate and Thos. Sanderson, NY Times, June 28, 2014
35. Mental Health Stigma in the Muslim Community, Ayse Ciftci, Purdue University, Nev Jones and Patrick Corrigan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Stigma, 2002
36. Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings, Phyllis Chester, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2010, p. 3
37. Crime and Criminology, Sue Titus Reid, p. 394-395.
38. The Informed Heart, Bruno Bettelheim, p. 210, Free Press of Glencoe, 1960.
39. In Defense of Internment, Michelle Malkin, p. 150, Regney Publishing, 2004.
40. Against the God Emperor: The Anarchist Treason Trials in Japan, Stefan Anarkowic, Black Powder Press, Kate Sharpley Library, 2009.
41. The Nightmare Years, Fred J. Cook, c1971, Random House.
Interview with Hindreen, CCAC International Students Office
Hindreen works for CCAC, but prefers to remain somewhat anonymous. In agreeing to speak with me it was understood that she was taking a risk. Her testimony is very serious, testifying to a different idea and dimension to the invasion of Iraq by American forces, who she thanks for stopping Saddam Hussein, than the one presented in this paper. Her comments are very enlightening, even though, in her gratitude and trust for America, I think she misreads what really happened, putting hope in America’s virtuous claims that seems a little misplaced.
One thing for sure, she was up close. Her thoughts are also dignified by the historic record. What she saw and testifies to no doubt really happened. I cannot imagine the scars this woman carries, wanting to die, as she says, having seen her family killed in frightful ways, like being forced to drink poison.
Hindreen has traveled widely. Born in Iraq, she knows Iran and Syria, understands instinctively what sort of questions Americans harbor and what mistakes are common in our assumptions. She says she has faith in America because she is still alive. Her own life is in danger from Sunni extremists, so she favors experienced background checks on refugees, stating that she is haunted not by the idea of dying, but of dying for nothing.
There is a lot of suffering. In the refugee camps are a lot of children who have lost their hearing. It is hard to feed them. Refugee women are taken from their husbands and children and forced into the hands of Jihad soldiers who use them remorselessly and kill them. Isis, she said, used Arab Spring, “just look at the outcome,” was her curt assessment.
“Terrorism takes funding,” Hindreen told me, and noted that the countries with a financial stake in keeping poorer Muslim countries conflicted and oppressed, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are favored nations, both rich and controlling. Saudi Arabia helps fund Salafi and Wahadi sects, which she likened to the cult of Jim Jones.
Noting the truth that women had more freedom under the Shah, she thinks that was a better time. Regarding the general attitude of Muslims in the Middle East, she said they are just like people everywhere, atheism and combative feminism are common, in Lebanon, Iran, Syria, places that are believed more extreme, but “it’s in Saudi Arabia where people are beheaded and women are stoned to death for disbelieving,” she notices. Jordan and Egypt are more free, she points out that Hosni Muburak, who was displaced by Arab Spring, had no history of killing dissenters.
The Shi’ites in Iraq, she says, give women more freedom, while the Sunnis practice a form of Sharia Law that has nothing to do with Islam.
It made me terribly sad talking to Hindreen. She’s a groovy lady.
Honors Contract: Criminology
Student: Mac Crary
Mentor: Christine Secilia
SLIP Sign Language Interpreters: Charity Kheshgi and Kelsey
Topic: Immigrants and Refugees
Title: The Future of Walls
This Journal concerns mentoring meetings between Prof. Secilia and Mac Crary at 5:00 p.m. Thursdays, half hour prior to Criminology Class which occurred on a weekly basis.
Digest: Professor Secilia returned repeatedly to the themes of narrowing focus, and making my purpose clearer, arguing for a greater objectivity and cautioning against confirmatory bias.
I wrote a letter to Dan Lowe of the CCAC Honors Department when I learned that Dr. Ralph Proctor, an Independent Study Mentor, was offering a class. In response to this letter, Mr. Lowe advised me that due to a ten year absence from school I am eligible for an Amnesty concerning prior difficulties due to deafness. Having returned after learning sign language from deaf peers and a night class at CCAC not for credit, he said that my performance for two terms and graduation with a 4.0 QPA qualified me for the Honors Department.
Kelsey and I attended an Honors Department Meeting where I learned of the Contract option, taking a research project on with the help of a mentor. Dr. Procto-r was interested but he and Dan Lowe explained to me that it would not be possible in conjunction with an Honors Class, this was to upgrade a non-Honors class. My first thought was Prof. Secilia.
I described to all of my professors how it could work in the classes I am taking: News Reporting, Creative Writing and Criminal Justice Law, but everyone, including Charity, the interpreter who has worked with me in classes with Prof. Secilia, felt the greatest prospect for success in this research was with this intense and disciplined teacher.
Prof. Secilia greeted the project with some trepidation having never done it before, and rightly understanding that it not only meant a lot of work but problems concerning the sort of mindset I bring to the table, with a background in unethical conduct by military society. Reluctantly, but I think with some enthusiasm, making clear that an Honors course would make her standards and expectation even more rigorous, she agreed to mentor me in my search for cultural literacy concerning the Immigrant and Refugee crisis in the air. The fact that the Honors Department itself stated the project was “timely” may have been the final determiner in her decision.
Everyone I spoke to was gratified and moved.
Desire to understand the facts, rules, possibilities and other contours of the passionate debate regarding Immigrants and Refugees is widespread. Professor Secilia, aware of my extra-curricular writing said wryly, “You have a lot going on in your head.”
Turning to the task at hand, we established a task itinerary, made certain of requests for Interpreting Services through the Special Services Office of Christopher Richardson, and discarded the need for involvement of other faculty. We also settled on the plan of seeking Interviews with CCAC’s International Students Office and the Mayor’s Office for Refugee Resettlement. We finalized the contract proposal for Dan Lowe who told us to proceed as though it had approval while we awaited the Dean’s signature.
At this brief meeting I presented Prof. Secilia with a Search Book, filled with records of the Contract, and gleanings from the immediate public media online and in libraries showing the high volume of hot button responses to this urgent and pressing subject matter. This preliminary depiction of issues popular in the press was a collection of primary considerations showing grounds for concern over whether dependable, accurate and fair digest is reaching a public that comes in contact frequently with views of popular culture and political slogan.
In preparation for Meeting #3, I took a Sunday field trip to CMU’s Hunt Library where I reviewed 30 books on Meso-America, Asylum, Syria, Arab Spring, Ethnic Rivalry in the U.S. and Inter-Cultural Adoption, to name a few, securing ten pages of excellent critical citations which formed my initial research skeleton for the project, helped begin focusing the dialogue academically allowing preliminary strategy for the goal of informing busy people by a survey and analysis of issues in this urgent mainstream topic
After reviewing this material, I settled on the title: The Future of Walls, bringing this journal to the date of Feb. 25, 2016, on which day it was surrendered to Prof. Secilia for review.
Meeting #3, Feb. 25.
Prof. Secilia emphasized my Contract Obligations. We discussed the Abstract with which I have had a good deal of trouble. She brought up the fact that Policy issues are under review as decisions are made concerning the granting of Asylum. I went over two very confusing pieces about geopolitics: AIDS and Current Affairs, mentioning my intention to go into political history. I feel strongly that our refugee and immigrant policy should take into consideration the geopolitical framework that informs American foreign policy and should stress our faith in individual potential, rather than simply campaign for sides in a political dispute.
I cited sources for Republican opinion that our policy should in fact favor allies in war. Professor Secilia interrupted me to point out that by lurching around I was only going to confuse readers, and that I should concentrate for now on describing the conditions in refugee camps and arrive at what sort of issues police are likely to be expected to address. I said that the lurch was a fact of history, and that I needed to lasso a widespread cluster of topics to render an effective survey.
My studies have been widespread: Classical Arabia, Women’s Independence Movement representatives, U.S. Human Rights Law, the Gulf War, crimes by regimes in the Middle East, environmental destruction, French attitudes, terrorism and the causes of the current cataclysm.
The Honors Department notified me of the Contract’s acceptance on March 4, 2016. I also met with the International Student’s Office that day requesting an interview with Hindreen who lived in these conflict regions, saw her family executed, escaped with her life and wants to remain pretty anonymous. She said, “these are policy issues, not a religious problem.” I expressed my support for a generous refugee program, anticipating cruel political dialogue with anti-immigrant extremists, which Hindreen at first thought was orientation.
I heard a sincere Republican opinion from a substitute Police Science professor who said that the part of America affected by illegal immigrants was “a different world.” He added that competent men are in charge of National Security looking after our interest and that the public does not really have the right to know what they are doing. I am sure these views have a widespread chorus.
Meeting of March 10.
I presented prospective Criminological angles: Comparisons of laws and customs in the U.S., Mexico and Syria with thoughts of comparing cultural explanations for difference. I mentioned Trump’s mentality about Arabs and compared it to early socio-biological theory, the measuring of skulls and so forth. I also touched on Kohlberg’s theory of moral development in the policy of High Command.
Prof. Secilia cautioned me against forming stereotypical opinions myself in advance of research. “This is not an editorial,” she said. She told me to study differing points of view concerning how thecatastrophe in Syria came about.
I presented a preliminary Abstract which she criticized at length, saying the Abstract is what people will read first before deciding if they want to read the paper. She feels that fair refutation of any point of view expressed deserves consideration.
We discussed my request to Interview Hindreen in the International Student’s Office who was born in Iraq and traveled widely in the Middle East. Also, I reviewed with Prof. Secilia the policies established from my meeting with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh concerning their new programs for residents in Section 8, access to interpreters for speakers of Spanish and Arabic as well as the prospective role for HACP in Mayor Peduto’s re-location program.
As I enumerated the many issues at work, Prof. Secilia said again that she felt my labors and discussions lurched around, a problem of haste in very short, half hour meetings. I explained the difficulty involved in summing up a situation that has lurched from viewing war as unthinkable to normalizing war.
As I went over what I had listed as an outline, Prof. Secilia asked questions, made sure I had sources for my statements, and agreed that the paper had good potential in working out a Good Neighbor Policy and description of the values at work in Arab Spring, an important item of interest in this research. She also agreed that the tragedy to those seeking asylum in history was fair subject matter in highlighting tragedy and duty.
I mailed a number of free writings on the topics I’ve developed which I have in record if anyone is interested, particularly describing what I called: The Ironic Curtain, and on-topic letters captioned: Would You At Least Tell Me, which are qualified by college restrictions.
Professor Secilia was particularly interested in being sure I made note of an unscheduled mentoring session after class, which I mis-characterized in conversation later as an argument. She insisted it was a mentoring session, a particularly productive one, I think I should add.
There was a little small talk about Current Affairs before class. She said, “I don’t see why people are afraid of Donald Trump.” I expressed my view in answer that the Syrian refugees deserve asylum and that it involves acceptable risk. I stated that Acceptable Risk and Unacceptable Risk were categories I had settled on for my final paper. She seemed to agree that accepting Refugees was reasonable and asked me to talk with her after class.
Professor Secilia again told me, after class, with direction that this is a research paper and not an opinions editorial. She needed me to understand that she regarded me as having two primary objectives: One, to be true to my research skills, meaning open-minded in my readings, objective in my search, and fair in my interpretations; Second, that this is to be a Criminology Paper. She is a Criminology Professor and took the Honors Contract on with the understanding that I would be focused on Criminology and within topic boundaries.
We discussed at length my efforts to get sources. (This was, by the way out in the hall with my interpreter’s help, because other students were still finishing exams, but there were students waiting for another class around and everyone seemed quite interested in our exchanges). I explained that I was working hard on securing sources from Arabian International Law, Sharia theories of International Law, and how American jurisdiction disputes are mediated. She was happy to hear of this research.
I did state my personal desire to understand what is really happening and was emotional in reminding her that for me it is a matter of war and peace, trauma to children and a question of obligation. She said that is okay but to focus on the challenges to Law Enforcement. I must say that my Criminology textbook itself has been a great deal of value, and the more I am reminded of this focus, the more I feel it is the right field for the Contract.
Professor Secilia later said it wasn’t an argument, it was a mentoring session, which tells me that she listened to my protest and made every effort to understand. I’m relieved that my words did not negatively affect her.
April 24, 2016.
I am reviewing the first complete draft and research records in anticipation of the final evaluation before my last week for revision. The paper is due May, 5th. I believe the paper is interesting and well arranged for a final overhaul.
Honors Contract Reflective Essay ~ Dan Lowe and Christine Secilia, Mentor
May 5, 2016 Community College of Allegheny County
Honors Contract: Immigrants and Refugess: The Future of Walls
How I Feel About this Project Now
When I was a kid and read First Love by Nabokov, where he remarked, “In the early days of this century,” meaning the 20th, I could, as a romanticist, close my eyes and think of that far off day long ago when he was young, but now I say that phrase, too, having seen the early 21st. His era brought in automation and early cinema. In his story, he spoke of a model international sleeping car. My era speaks more of cyber-intelligence, satellite remote control, internet cinema and bullet trains, but the expression, itself reflective, ‘in the early days of this century” remains the same.
Which is a roundabout way to begin, but in the early days of this century, I joined the International Clubhouse Movement at a place called Emerald House in faraway Seattle, thousands of miles from my hometown of Pittsburgh. As hard as it was to earn acceptance to CCAC’s Honors Department, having had to learn sign language first, being a late deafened adult, being homeless for two years was much harder. Disciplinary Review dogged my return to school. Seattle Central Community College were directed by deaf services administrator Al Souma to refuse me admission. The Dean of Students infuriated him by saying I could use the library, café and attend art gallery exhibits as a member of the public. Mr. Souma failed to convince her that my views are a danger to the community and failed to convince me of his assertion that I should be consdered an unwelcome, disruptive presence and a bore. CCAC much more politely discussed my thoughts about our society and allowed that they did not know all of the relevant material I had dug up while living the life of what Matthew Arnold, a role model of mine, once called, “a scholar gypsy”. Upon returning here, with the help of Dr. Ralph Proctor I made headway in The Film Project, under Ethnics 303, Independent Study, a research paper: Easter Bunker: Hitler-Reagan Semiotics in the Reconstruction of Post-War Axis Cinema. This was Part One of a Three Part Independent Study project for which Part Two and Part Three have no mentor, nor immediate prospect of representation at school. The Themes of Part Two and Part Three are not yet determined to be suitable for campus digest and I was banned from the Allegheny View, our school newspaper, instructed to make no campus communications concerning the topics, and left to develop around my awareness of material that is more acceptable to campus Authority. De-focus seems to be the watch word but everyone knows how combative I can be when I think our safety and peace are at stake.
On Friday, April 29, 2016, I was given a gold pin by CCAC to celebrate my achievements in later life academics as a disabled student who earned good grades. I was awarded this pin for participation in the Honors Program, after returning to school and joining the department with a 4.0 under their ten-year absence amnesty program. I was inclined to attend this ceremony and enjoyed the company. My sign language interpreter, Charity Kheshgi, was present and characteristically refused the credit she is due. Although I did graduate from CCAC once in general studies, it reminded me, in acclaim, of having been awarded a Governors School Scholarship for my Poetry after surviving a violent ordeal in 1978 while attending Letsche Alternative High School and Taylor Allderdice High School. A 4.0 academic record that year also counted for something, showing that a young mind can struggle with trauma and deafness to achieve not only recognition, but insight into life and power to express its personal meaning. A bit of a Victorian, myself, Matthew Arnold spoke to me most deeply when I read his poem Dover Beach for it fine, economical hand in getting to the point and saying it properly. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the more abstract expressionists in poetry. I often say, “literary criticism is for literature, not for people who have been backed to the wall,” meaning our society’s poets. One of the most tragic days I experienced in faraway Seattle was when I learned that M. Christian Robinson, who I tried to look up after a hard bout with homesickness, a fellow street poet who sometimes performed an abrasive hip hop at CCAC as a visiting artist in the Scratch Poets, had taken his own life, the man who founded the Pittsburgh Poetry SLAM. Christian was, on occasions, a little bit like Dr. Proctor, in his willingness to abide that the street is for everyone, and get hope tangled up in anger in such a way that it was exciting to hear from him.
It is necessary to explain that Mercy Deaf Services and CCAC Night School, professor Bob Macik, introduced me to Jeannie Tamburro, a deaf girl who befriended me to teach me sign language. Dr. Kimberley Mathos graciously waved away concerns that I would be disruptive and signed permission for me to attend school. Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Dr. Bob Anthony helped me to learn academic sign. Owen Riley of Sound Mental Health courageously provided technical knowhow in helping me upload the film clips that remain my primary achievement in Seattle, forming the basis for Part One of my Independent Study on Axis Cinema. Further Debra Williamson welcome me to Penn Avenue Place Clubhouse and situated me among peers who have also suffered from and live in recovery with mental illness. I have worked very hard there to maintain my work ordered day contributions; with the help of CCAC’s library upgrade, where I was formerly employed, we bult a library on works I secured either by purschase or by hauling some of the school discards downtown.
The most important thing this experience brought with it for me was a mentor, Professor Christine Secilia, a person of intellectual integrity who cannot be fooled or easily intimidated. Not only had she stood up in the past for my rights to research honestly dark corners forbidden from above, but she very pointedly checked my premises, especially when she suspected me of a passionately held opinion. Such a check on the emotional ambition that can sometimes arrive with being heard was well considered, and brought me to my wits, focusing my attention, keeping me honest. I feel that safeguards against my controversial views are thoroughly represented in the Future of Walls which has its share of caveat emptors working from both sides of the aisle. It is not my purpose to shout anyone down. It is my hope that material I bring to the attention of the reader might dissuade them from believing too eagerly the emotional views that pass for informed opinion. It is not only me who must be asked to do better.
As a deaf man with poor hearing aids, it can be hard for me to speak, and I also suffer from neurological injuries as well as some diminished eyesight due to violent ordeals. Walker Percy, a famous novelist, out of the blue wrote me once many, many years ago when I was campaigning in the marketplace of popular literature with my opinions. He said only one thing to me from his home in Covington, La. He wrote to me, “Beware the delectations of despair.” It is important to note that the succor provided by indulging pain and disability can instill emotional blindness. In my pity for the immigrants and refugees, I had to be cautioned to look very clearly at the reasons for the hesitancy of others before putting down to inhumanity unwillingness to agree that assistance is an acceptable risk. John Cale once said, “Fear is man’s best friend.”
Cultural Literacy can be a little strange. When Lincoln asked his future wife Mary Todd “to dance in the worst possible way,” which legend reports him to have done exactly, it speaks for what I think is my cultural literacy about the Muslim world. I like them. I do think however that such dancing is the peak of ackward for one so counter-culture in bearing and leaning.
Independent thinking was a weakness in this research. I had to work hard to avoid confirmatory bias. I always blame war machines for the death and disfigurement of children. I cannot accept it. The specific, survey intensive discipline involved greatly challenged me time wise with trips to the library, in fact I pulled a muscle in my back from all the typin. I greatly enjoyed research sessions with Dennis Hennessey, my former work supervisor and friend at CCAC. He seldom agrees with me, but he is always sharp and fast to help me find what I am looking for, deeply interested in understanding what I have found and what I am saying. He delights, as all academically inclined people should, in hearing a well-researched view which is not in accordance with his own. My motivation was not lost on him, and at times, he can be won over.
I have a world of suggestions. J.R.R. Tolkien penned the remark, “Beware of asking a wizard advice for he will tell you both yes and no.” While I can’t portray myself a wizard, I do understand the temptation to advise too readily suggests taking responsibility for another’s decisions. I would, yes, recommend Professor Secilia as a mentor. I would continue to suggest developing this theme under the field of Criminology, particularly the treatment in foreign lands by American law enforcement of non-citizens as directed by the Supreme Court. The Constitution which defines the conduct of Law Enforcement toward citizens can be put aside in actions against foreign citizens when our agents operate in their countries. While we do not recognize foreign authority in law enforcement action taken overseas, Chief Justice Rehnquist has also said that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to the search and seizure of a non-resident alien’s property outside of the United States, meaning we can do as we please. This is certainly an area for exploratory research for people who enjoy directly the society of so-called “aliens” and entertain the truth that all persons are created equal.
Another area that must be addressed is the cultural voyage of other refugees, boat people and others from Vietnam, for whom special pleading is often considered due exclusively for those who were war allies; the concerns and conditions of elderly WW2 Filipino Veterans, a group who served under MacArthur, were patriated but forbidden to bring their wives; and on the impact of homelessness, our refugees within, on the struggle concerning illegal immigration. Filipinos are a quiet, successful, humane group of people in the United States of America, who all the same are heard less than they try.
I think however, the area that demands the most attention is found in an online article in MacLean’s, October 5, 2015 and attributed to Adnan R. Khan. The title of the article speaks for all of my concerns and outpowering of energy: “The ones left behind: only the poorest refugees remain in Turkey, full of misplaced hope that help is coming.” I cannot read that line even now, when familiar with it, without a chill going up my spine.
How I will incorporate this project into my future academic study is probably the hardest part to answer. How do academics incorporate into life? ~ poetry, editorializing, “conversing” ~ or what that may mean to a deaf man? What do “listening skills” mean to the deaf. One thing is clear, it means having a receptive mind and an open heart. I am considering whether to return to Little Saigon of Seattle and press on with work for the Vietnamese Community.
I still believe in Non-Violence after reviewing the Syrian war. It is clear to me that we have disassociated from Martin Luther King in our foreign policy and public image, with tragic result. I also realize that in the name of protecting ourselves we are greatly increasing the danger to our volunteers in the Red Cross, the Peace Corps, U.N. and charities working to save lives and build cultural comity with our stupid talk of walls.
Lastly I must mention: Would You At Least Tell Me?
Would You At Least Tell Me ~ is a theoretical compartmentalization of the conclusions I have reached on my own with film research and into which this Honors Contract begs to be integrated as a necessary foundation for understanding our recent past, and current times. I don’t know if any professors will consider mentoring the remaining Independent Study, Part Two and Part Three of the Film Project, but I would at least tell you, if I am asked, all about it.