Amalgam of Thoughts

"Cogito Ergo Sum" - I think therefore I exist
-Rene Descartes

09 January 2006

Immigration in the Land Of Immigrants

To my favourite fodder for my first post here - a land I like to call StrangeLand. A land where over 300 years ago, Europeans, mostly the British and the French, came on their oh-so-familiar conquests of colonialisation. I'm not so familiar with American history (if there is such a thing). So, do correct my errors herein.

The original natives - called Red Indians - lived in most parts of the land in harmony with nature and away from technology and all that. Where are they now? The original natives? Hardly to be seen. Apparently, most of them were wiped out when the nation was getting its 'freedom'. Freedom from who? Themsleves? And who is getting freed? I daren't ask. Cos nowhere in this 'freedom struggle' do the natives figure. They were squished in the process and millions were culled and their lands taken over. All the people in the freedom struggle were immigrants themselves.

Since then, this 'Land of Dreams' has been inviting people to come in and exploit the freedom and build a strong nation, and a strong nation it is definitely today. People from absolutely all parts of the world, of different races, have lived and prospered here. All immigrants, I may add. They have cumulatively pushed the limits of science and technology and built a prosperous economy, in the process attracting more immigrants who keep the nation 'in drive'.

But, its now been a long time since they won their 'freedom' and 300 years of living here has given them a sense of belonging, of possession. All the people who migrated earlier are safe and they are all Americans. Those who intend to migrate now, are foreigners, job-stealers, jehadis? In a nation that has no identity of its own, and no history to recollect, this is definitely uncalled for. No identity cos you can ask almost every person about their roots and listen to them shoot out European, Latin-American or Asian countries. There is no such thing as American, cos the true Americans have been reduced to a meagre minority. No history cos you can goto any historical place and see dates like 1750 and 1910, and be baffled about how recent every historic event is.

How come the land of immigrants, is all of a sudden shying away from other immigrants, giving them a cold shoulder? Does it not see that the immigrants are at the heart of this country and are what make it what it is today? Its like saying, 'Anyone who passed through the door before 2001 is good. All the rest will have to knock on the door, maybe twice, thrice,..'.

I have seen with my own eyes how the average American treats an Indian like me. I'm not even an immigrant, just a visitor. Yet, they see in me a guy who's stealing their employment, or sometimes a jehadi, especially when I haven't shaved in 2 days. All the 'Americans' get a chirpy 'Good Morning' with white teeth in full splendour when they board the 7am flight, while a tiny smirk is reserved just for me. The cop gives me a ticket and makes a remark about how the Indian IT industry is starting to take over the market, definitely not small talk. I could recount more incidents here, some more fiery, where people have stated I don't understand 'American values' and 'its obvious you are new here'. The fact is, they feel threatened now, and want to build their own identity, and the way to do this is to shut out everybody else. Something that is reflected in their stringent visa policies of late.

Will they wake up and smell the black coffee? They don't need to look too far back, only 200 years should suffice, to see where their success stems from. As for countries like my own, there's nothing better than bright minds returning home and driving its economy to levels that are already threatening to take over a fair chunk of the world economy. Who wants to live in StrangeLand anyway?


Blogger Nandan said...

Melting pot is solidifying :). I think, this process is natural (that is not a justification). I had written a post regarding this some time ago, and Sudhamshu and I had some debate over this point. You can read that here.

Couple of months ago, I visited some of the Red Indian reservations in south-west US. Most of the native american guides did rue the fact that their land was taken away from them; but were resigned to their plight. As a gesture of compensation (!), now only native americans can start a casino. My fellow passengers who were of course neo-americans had very strong views against this gross injustice and thought it unfair to give them such a special privilege.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Sudhu said...

There are some other facts about the US which are not well-known, or should i say well covered up. Just see this link to find out about the Eugenic activities which actually began in US. The Nazis, they say, learnt all those ethnic-cleansing 'techniques' from the US. In 1933, they even legalised sterilisation of people considered Genetically unfit.
So, in truth, its not now that those guys are thinking of curbing immigration, maybe its just out in the open.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Martha said...

not relating to the added comments; your article was a very enjoyable read.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm like doing research for the inheritance of loss by kiran desai, some bitter book abt indian immigration. ur post makes more sense than her book. reali helpful n i totally agree with the visa issue...

11:37 AM  

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