Tuesday, November 08, 2005

While driving into work a few days ago, I was listening to NPR and heard a segment on the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual conference in Nashville. While the story wasn't spectacular, in the background I heard a guy recording an advertising spot for a bluegrass radio show. The cool thing was that it was for 'Southern Style' hosted by Jan Dale -- in Melbourne, Australia! And, because of my deep international connections, I know her. Or, at least, I know her brother, John Hull, the prof for whom I worked in the UK. She makes annual treks to the US to study and collect bluegrass/country music information. She is THE bluegrass/country music guru for the land down under. One her show's site you can hear a similar advertising spot to the one I mentioned done by bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley. Never expected to hear anyone mentioned on NPR whom I know except for possibly (il)legal reasons.

As the semester begins to wind down, I'm starting to get a touch of breathing room. We'll be in Moulton from Sunday to Wednesday for me to preach a revival. Then it won't be until the holidays that we'll have to travel.

I've heard lots lately about immigration. And while I know that a continual flow of illegals is untenable, it is obvious that our immigration problem is much different than Europe's. The predominantly Mexican illegals who come here work hard for lower wages at backbreaking and/or discgusting jobs simply to give better lives to their families. They work hard, love their families, and their children tend to assimilate well. Compare that to the current situation in France, where children of North-African Muslim legal immigrants (thus native Frenchmen) are rioting. To ignore the religious motives of the rioters is silly, but it is equally mistaken to ignore the fact that French society has not welcomed their assimilation and and the fact that the tight grip of the unions (in a country with over 9% unemployment) ensures that these folks can't find work. No doubt their parents came to France for the same reasons Mexicans cross the US border.

Whatever troubles illegal immigration creates for the US, the threat of terrorism is way down the list. For Europe, their unassimilated Muslim ghettos could turn into a tinder box for future terrorists (here is an article written this summer which predicted France's trouble). Thus, the London bombers were homegrown, UK citizens who didn't feel 'British,' or at least that they were accepted as such. They found identity in radical Islam.

"Perhaps some of the journalists, political scientists, intellectuals and public officials who've been peddling this merchandise meant it to remain an abstract ideological diversion. France is a long way from Iraq, after all. But now that the militancy is being turned on the French state itself, they are suddenly shocked at what they've sown".

Our immigrants are Catholic and much more likely to blend in, adding cultural flavor with much less cultural tension.

I state this not because I pretend to know a solution, but because I fear things will get worse before they get better. Niall Ferguson says all this better than I.

In a similar vein, its worth watching this fascinating video courtesy of WOAI in Texas. They were able to talk to a 'coyote', one who smuggles people into America, and to convince one of the illegal crossers to carry a camera which shows how they were caught by border patrol. The interesting thing is that these people were NOT MEXICAN... they were Brazilian. It's funny to me that while the liberals in Brazil protest America, thousands more (the ones who the liberals claim to care about ) vote with their feet every year to travel across Colombia and Mexico just to come to this place. It is also interesting to note that the coyote and the border patrolmen were yelling all their commands in Spanish while the Brazilians spoke Portuguese and probably had difficulty knowing what they were being told.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Brazilian (although moved here legally) and I agree with your statement. Anyway, Brazilians usually have an easier time understanding Spanish than vice versa, but it's nice to know that someone out there KNOWS that they don't speak Spanish in Brazil!

12:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home