Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration and Cherry Trees!

Ps:(i start with one!) I decided I wouldn't blog, but reading a couple of articles got my fingers itching to b1tch?! Just kidding.. wanting to write again!

So today is May Day.. a holiday in India. My friends back home are on a holiday in a beach resort. I am at office. So are tonnes of other American residents. Today is a 'day without immigrants'. So many of the immigrant lot, especially undocumented ones are not at work atleast in LA. Including at radio stations, which've ended up playing mindless sad music.

American society has multiple opinions on immigration. Neo conservatives and nationalists opine that immigration itself should be disallowed, that there is no reason to hear a language other than English, no reason to dole out the American Dream to anyone. They wish to hermetically seal the country's borders and to deport the 'illegal aliens' back to their country of origin. And then there are the liberals, talking about sharing the American Dream with the world, and opening up borders to the world and remembering that America itself is a land of immigrants . And then there are the liberals who seek to have a bill to get the 'Undocumented immigrants' to pay taxes and to get started on the path to American citizenship.

Where do I stand on all of these?
* Immigration is unavoidable with the world becoming smaller (remember the phrase 'Global Village'?!) So people leave a place and move to another, sometimes another country.
* Once in Rome do as Romans do. So in the US, the immigrants need to understand the lingua franca of English, swear by the American law(and abide by it)and sing the anthem in English(can't imagine the Indian national anthem in Chinese.. ever!)
* Borders...yes, there needs to be better border patrolling.
* Also a better Bill(capital 'B' intended!) to deal with the current 12+ million immigrants. Better cultural acceptance and equal benefits.

US of A has currently not even scratched the surface of the pie. First of all, it classifies all, and I mean all the Spanish speaking immigrants as Latin Americans! (including Mexicans and South Americans and Hispanics!) And the immigrants themselves have a lot of dissimilarities.. an Ecuadorean is so so different from a Mexican from a Peru national! Even the language is actually different.. so a Spanish word intended as a compliment to one could end up being an insult to another! Secondly, not everyone has come to the US just now. There are people who just stepped on US soil yesterday and there are third generation immigrants who are as American as the descendants of the Mayflower immigrants. Everyone is being bundled together in one word 'Immigrants' and treated in the same manner. And then there is the issue of entire families having relocated to the US vs. breadwinners in US with families back home. And finally, treating documented and undocumented immigrants with the same contempt!

I think culturally we have a lot to learn. And a lot of prejudice to let go of.

A famous "latin american" saying goes (loosely translated) "to hurt a man don't hit his back, grab his b@lls instead!"

Finally a word on the other half of the 'subject'.. the cherry trees. The 'sakura matsuri' cherry trees are in full bloom everywhere.. i have never seen such beautiful blooms elsewhere. Washington, New York City and Philadelphia are especially blessed with exceptionally beautiful and bountiful cherry trees. The cherry trees so touted by the US as 'the harbinger of the US spring' and as a 'US beauty' etc. is also an immigrant!

1 comment:

  1. "Light pink cherry blossoms..they are all perfect" - The Last Samurai.

    Its nice to read about the US on your blog coz I'm looking at and observing the same things now, which you did a year back.. and yes, the cherry trees are amazing! :)