It's hard to know where to begin with this, but let's start with Mr. Thomas and veracity, which is what set me off in the first place. Thomas claimed that in-migration of Muslims was out of control and that people were fleeing out of fear. If you poke around at the link
to the British government's bureau of statistics that I provided you will see that he cited the figures to early 2006 but failed to note that the numbers have sharply dropped since. Where I come from that's called lying by omission. Further he claimed Brits were fleeing out of fear. The government site clearly stated, according to its census, the majority of out-migration was due to marriage and work. So I would call Thomas's statement an outright lie, no matter what his ideological leanings.
To be clear, I don't deny that the influx of immigrants into Britian and America are changing the face of the countries and I understand why long term residents get upset by that. Most people don't like change. It discomfits them. I get
that. I suffered from it myself. I lived in lovely downtown Noho for 12 years. When I got there is was an amazing little city full of cutting edge artists. It was a thriving, vibrant, affordable community. It was very white but diverse nonetheless because of the 5 college population that supported it.
By the time I left the town had been taken over and most of the original residents were forced out by in-migrants. The only difference is Noho was taken over by upscale refugees from NYC and Cambridge. They didn't rob our homes, but they robbed us of our former charming lifestyle.
They drove up the property values by overbidding on asking prices for property and once they established their residences they complained about the street life that gave the town its charm in the first place. Suddenly we had noise ordinances and new rules about street vendors and the street scene died. More slowly the local businesses were forced out for the corporate chains the newcomers preferred. They killed downtown as surely as they had dropped a bomb. The last time I visited, there were so many empty storefronts, where once were independent entrepeneurs -- I wasn't sorry I left anymore.
The point being, this is a population problem, not solely an immigration one. The population grows, the planet doesn't. Just as the upscale invaded Noho due to the population pressure on New York and Boston, so the immigrants arrive on our shores for the same reason. Economic pressure and opportunity. The urbanites came to Noho because they could buy for $300,000 what would cost over a million in their cities and the lifestyle was better. The immigrants come for the same reason, if not on the same economic scale.
I've spent time in Third World countries, living among those who live in poverty. I've slept in their huts, danced at their parties and shared their meager food. If you can look into the eyes of a five year old who follows the food to your mouth like a puppy and not understand why someone would take any chance simply to lift their family out of those circumstances, well, I can. And it's useful to remember that when our ancestors came to this country, there weren't any immigration laws. Who's to say how many would have broken the law, if there was one, for the opportunity to do the same?
Curiously, in the early 90s, there was a large crew of illegal Irish in Noho, who over-stayed their visas and couldn't get green cards. I called them friends, not illegals, and indeed unless they confided in you, you wouldn't know. They didn't wear a sign and to my knowledge none of their workplaces were ever raided to check their green card status. Which brings me to the question, how do you know
you've seen an illegal immigrant? On what basis do you judge whether they hold a green card? And that's an honest question, because I just can't tell. What's the defining feature so I can take a head count? There's a lot of foreign nationals, even in this little town.
Which finally brings us to defining the enemy and racial profiling. If we're to toss out the ad hominem argument, how do you define blaming 1.61 billion Muslims
for the actions of 20? How is profiling now any different from what happened to the Japanese after Pearl Harbor?
It's easy to say you wouldn't mind when there's no chance you'll be held by the authorities for hours after you rode a ferry and talked to your friends on the ride because some hysterical bystander found it suspicious that you were traveling while fitting the profile. Me, I'm pretty sure I'd be pissed off.
I think it's exactly that sort of profiling that contributes to the radicalization of young Muslims. Call it knee jerk liberalism if you will. I call it a dispassionate, pragmatic analysis tempered with compassion.
Labels: immigration, Terrorism