We don’t all want the same thing

The Gingrich brouhaha and immigration-related thoughts


We don’t all want the same thing
by Saideh Pakravan

What did Gingrich say? That people who have been here a long time, worked, paid taxes, and caused no trouble should perhaps be set on the path to legalization instead of being deported when caught. A fair assessment, surprisingly brave coming from a Republican presidential hopeful who not only alienates his own base but comes out in favor of people who aren’t even allowed to vote.

This may be as good a time as any to open a new debate about immigration from developing countries to developed ones. We tend to dump immigrants together. Either we’re bleeding-heart liberals for wanting to take in everyone or we’re prejudiced fascists who want to throw everyone out and close borders once and for all. Both positions and a mix of both are understandable. There’s the pervasive political correctness at the heart of all discourse, the fear of being amalgamated with extreme far-right movements, the vague guilt stoked by commentators of every color about looking down on the future-less, nation-less, helpless citizens of the world washing up on our shores for crumbs of the feast they imagine we’re all enjoying, and the natural dislike of most democratically minded people for racist and nationalistic movements.

Yet we hardly address the problem or even allow ourself to have an opinion, except those on the right who embark on rants. The more moderate among us live daily with the consequences of our inability to control unpleasant situations. How about recognizing that there are good immigrants and not-so-good ones? Good immigrants are those who come to a country in the West because for political or economic reasons, they see no future in their own, because they want to make a better life for themselves and theirs, and because there is some degree of admiration for the country to which they immigrate. They want to work, they want to acquire a new language, culture, and the world vision of the country that takes them in without losing those of their origins. They lift themselves up while becoming part of a rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Who are the good immigrants? In the United States, mainly the Hispanics. The construction industry, the hospitality one, agriculture and farming, maintenance, would fall apart without these diligent minimum-pay workers, often exploited, often illegal, whose dream is to become citizens or at least legal residents. There are the Asians who often form the cadres of technology, medicine, and science. The more educated and affluent among Middle Easterners generally fall into this category of good immigrants who do the new country proud.

Not-so-good immigrants, though also moving to a different country because the same factors prevent them from staying in their own, come to foreign shores specifically to take advantage. While playing the system to enjoy social benefits, they have no intention of contributing in any positive way. Not only do they have no admiration for their new home nor the intention of integrating to any degree but they hold everything in contempt. They despise the people—the women are sluts, the men are capitalist pigs, the society has no values, the people have no heart, the country’s history (fill in France, the United States, England, Germany, etc) is one of oppression and colonization, etc. etc. Who are they? Broadly Muslims from Africa in countries like France, from Senegal in Italy, from Southeast Asia in England, from Turkey in Germany. They have numerous chips on their shoulder—despising the country that’s taken them in for its colonialist past and a confrontational stance of entitlement.

Then there are the “roms” (short for the derogatory term “romanichels” to describe gypsies) who invent new scams every day. Their regular m.o. is to panhandle (the bosses picking their teams in the morning, distributing drugged golden retriever puppies or actual babies destined to melt the hearts of passersby) and steal and pick pockets and attack people at ATMs (every single person I know in Paris has either witnessed an incident or been a victim). Sarkozy’s government uses harsh and generally inefficient methods to get rid of them, people look at them with jaundiced eyes, and in the meantime, Paris now has the dubious honor of being the panhandling and petty crime capital of the world. Other French cities follow suit and I imagine other European countries have the problem.

Am I generalizing? Absolutely. Are there good Muslim African immigrants, good and honest “roms,” dangerous Hispanic gangs in the States? Of course. But I find it hard to talk about large segments of the tens of millions of immigrants traipsing across the globe in search of a home and divide them into tens of millions of separate identities, personalities, fates. We’re all different, true, but despite the bromides, we don’t all want the same thing. There are those who take and those who give, mostly unwillingly and through taxes levied by our governments. Compassion is good, helping out the next person and sharing in the wealth—where wealth is there for sharing—is good. But at some point we all become victims and start caring only about ourselves and ours. That’s when the world becomes an even sadder place.

Saïdeh Pakravan is Iranian-born, French-educated, and lives in the United States. Her novel Azadi, Protest in the Streets of Tehran, about the crackdown after the rigged Iranian elections of June 2009, has just been published. Visit her blog at thecounterargument.wordpress.com


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Immigration is a baiting "False Issue"

by bahmani on

Designed to stir up controversy and pitch opinion, illegal immigration is a non-issue. It's a distraction during a political campaign to draw attention without any real cost.

It takes about 1 year to deport 200,000 illegal immigrants, or to deport ALL the illegal immigrants (20mil?) it would take 100 years. The cost? Astronomical.

So NO ONE is about to deport anyone. Except maybe the hard criminals or extreme cases.

Additionally, while there are 20 million or so illegal immigrants, and as Mr. Gingrich stated, they work and pay taxes. So no one is about to stop that either. Especially the tax-paying part.

So other than getting a redneck to scream, "Hell Yeah!" at an anti-immigrant laced Republican rally, and maybe get him to promise to remember to put down his Bud, stop watching NASCAR or the hunting channel for five minutes and vote Republican next November, there isn't really any big risk to the illegal immigrant community.

Except in Alabama, which has traditionally and continually bet on the wrong side of justice, and like the crops in their fields, always smells of rotting cabbage.

To read more bahmani posts visit: //brucebahmani.blogspot.com/


Dear AmirParviz: Not as hard as you think.....

by Bavafa on

Although, for me, it has become ever more so difficult to differentiate between Democrats and Republican, I can imagine how much worse this country will be with con artist such as Gingrich in the office. 

But then again maybe we deserve such.  After all, we accepted a moran with a criminal maniac as his VP in the office for 8 looooong years.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



Hard to tell what will happen if this guy becomes President.

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

Will he work with Irans Opposition Groups against the IRI in a way that Obama has not?  I don't know.  While I think the USA is not going to change its policy for Iran, he's the only candidate smart enough to do it (not that he will) unlike the other people that have become Presidents and have only done the bidding of the Gangsters that run the US and fill the positions of each Presidents cabinets in exchange for helping them win.  What do America's Gangsters want?