Global Citizen: October 2007 Archives

"Los Angeles is Burning" - Bad Religion

When the hills of Los Angeles are burning

Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze

Even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is burning

(Picture from NASA)
(Rest of the Lyrics)

It's strange.  Of all the recent happenings in Southern California and around the U.S., wildfire probably make the most sense.

While seven fires continue to tear through thousands of homes on the West Coast, Boston Red Sox fans are doing the "Papelbon Jig" on the helmets of riot police on the East Coast.  That's O.K. though, because a columnist in this morning's Boston Metro writes "let it burn" of the California wildfires.  Meanwhile, Governor Spitzer is back-pedaling on his heroic drivers' license stance and Tom Tancredo is retiring (tip JTD).  Compared to all of this, wildfire is sanity.

(Picture taken by Lisa Hornack / Boston Herald)

There's three things I want to convey about the California wildfires: Fire knows no borders and neither do Mexican firefighters, forgotten migrants are the real victims of the wildfires, and anti-migrant hate has reared its head, yet again, in the form of a hurtful fake news article.  I will, of course, finish the post with the best way to help out.

I've had a picture burned into my mind for almost a month, now, .  I think about it every time I hear about the ongoing crisis in Burma.  The news I read in this morning's Boston Globe was a small piece of good news, fortunately, but it doesn't remove the cloud that looms over Burma or the image that has been etched into the back of my eyes.

I will not link to, or display the picture on the front page.  It is too graphic.  But I will attempt to describe the circumstances that led to it.  If people want to click through, I will display it. 

On September 29, hundreds of people were massacred in Rangoon, Burma, in an attempt to stifle campaigns for democracy in the country.  Customarily, riot police use rubber-coated rods to stifle unrest.  Outside of the Number 3 High School in the Township of Tarmwe, soldiers beat protesters with heavy metal rods.  One young student was killed on the spot after his skull was bashed in.   His body was soon carried away, but in a nearby gutter, a piece of his brain remained.

That's the picture that has been burned into my mind.  A brain in the gutter next to a high school.  There are pictures that capture a moment.  Then there are pictures that stand for something greater.  Seeing part of a young student's brain, a brain that might have been used for great things, languishing in the gutter next to a place of learning says more than my words ever could. 
I'm in the middle of writing a long post on the failure of the DREAM Act, but while I was writing it I spent a lot of time and effort transcribing the words of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) who was the chief proponent of the bill.  Instead of bogging down what is already going to be a long post I thought I would post his words separately.

I was invited onto a conference call with him yesterday and have transcribed that, and I've also transcribed the entire speech he made on the floor of the Senate today in support of the DREAM Act and embedded the youtube videos of it, from the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigraiton Reform.

His words are definitely worth reading.  Below is what he said during the conference call.
When anti-migrant advocates speak up, they get called racists.  When pro-migrant advocates speak up, they get deported.  Is there even a contest?

Tam Tran bravely testified before Rep. Zoe Lofgren's panel (D-CA) and was covered on the front page of USA Today.  Three days later, her family was detained by Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE).  Duke has already written a better post about Tam Tran then I will ever be able to write, so I'm going to write about this from the unique perspective that I bring.

First, ICE is the most frightening enforcement agency within the U.S.'s borders.  ICE is accountable to no one and it has far too much power.  Second, Tam Tran is a stateless individual like so many others on the earth, today.  She can't go back to her country because she doesn't have a country to go back to.  What is her place in the world? Is she worth nothing like so many others that weren't born within the borders of a prosperous country?  Third, Congress need to pass the DREAM act.  There are problems with it, sure, but I can't look in the faces of the many young migrants that have their hopes tied up in the DREAM act and tell them I don't support it.  Migrants need a victory, and we'll fix the problems with the DREAM Act later.

It is with that in mind that I've taken a series of the best nine videos on the DREAM Act and dedicated them to nine senators that hold the fate of the legislation in their hands.  Below is the video that I got from the Illinois Coalition on Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), which I've dedicated to Senator Mel Martinez. 
Nezua will probably be helping me with a few more things, but Citizen Orange is up and operational and I'm going to be extremely happy to move operations here on Monday.  I've been doing so much administrative work lately that it will be nice to get back to blogging on the weekdays.

Immigration Orange will still be up and I will put up a post every now and then over there, but I'll link to them here and everyone should migrate over to this platform if they want to keep up with my writing.  Nezua has helped me set up links to all of the blogging features that I could have ever dreamed of, an RSS Feed, a Podcast, a Technorati Favorite Button, a Contact Form, and a Donate Page, each with beautiful custom-made designs.  I also have complete control over my blogroll, and it's been difficult for me to remember everybody, so if I missed you don't hesitate to let me know.

The real reason I wanted to write this post, was to thank The Unapologetic Mexican.  If you want one of the best looking blogs on the web, please contact him, and click to read more about why this blog kicks so much ass.