Saturday, December 21, 2002

America? What's that?

Ever read about something and just want to puke? I was so disgusted when I first heard about INS rounding up Arabs that I felt nauseous.

"It is a shock. You don't expect this to happen. It is really putting fright and apprehension in the community. People who come from these countries -- this is what they expect from their government. Not from America," said Sabiha Khan of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

I come from immigrants, on both sides of my family. This is not the sort of thing the country my father's parents and my mother's grandparents dreamed of would do. I feel as though the current government has betrayed them.

Talk Left (an excellent, site, BTW) agrees with me.

What country is this? We don't recognize it as America. But we can tell you whose country it is: Bush and Ashcroft's.

Atrios as usual, says exactly what I wish I'd have said first.

Look folks - imagine you're dealing with your DMV. Imagine Flunky #1 messes up your driver's license application and tells you to come down to the office. Then, when you do go down to the office as requested Flunky #2 notices you drove there AND you don't have your driver's license (because, well, they screwed up your application). Flunky #2's boss recently decided they now had a no-tolerance policy on such things and he has you arrested and thrown in jail.

Via Atrios I find this LA Times article (registration required, bu hey, it's free) that really, really upset me.

Many objected to the treatment of those who showed up for the registration. INS ads on local Persian radio stations and in other ethnic media led many to expect a routine procedure. Instead, the registration quickly became the subject of fear as word spread that large numbers of men were being arrested.

Lawyers reported crowded cells with some clients forced to rest standing up, some shackled and moved to other locations in the night, frigid conditions in jail cells -- all for men with no known criminal histories...

Some, he said, were hosed down with cold water before finding places to sleep on the concrete floors of cells...

Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, called the detentions doubly disturbing because "a lot of the Iranians are Jews who fled Iran because of persecution, and now they are undergoing similar persecution here.... This is just terrible."

This is very spooky to me, the sort of thing you read about happening in pre-Holocaust Germany. But hey, at least Trent Lott resigned.

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