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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Here is a recent podcast interview I did in anticipation of the screening of “Astronaut Goes From Migrant Fields To Outer Space” at the WILDsound TORONTO Film Festival this Saturday, May 1st.

I’m happy for the publicity, both for the film and hopefully the compassionate, coherent side of the immigration issue, given the current experiment with codified racism and a Geheime Staatspolize version of the American Dream in Arizona.

Sadly, hatred and ignorance remain omnipresent and galvanizing forces despite the sublime milestone of a black president and our unique history as a nation of immigrants.

From the Associated Press: “Key provisions of Arizona’s immigration legislation, signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday:

Makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally by specifically requiring immigrants to have proof of their immigration status. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Repeat offenses would be a felony.

Requires police officers to “make a reasonable attempt” to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that he or she is an illegal immigrant. Race, color or national origin may not be the only things considered in implementation. Exceptions can be made if the attempt would hinder an investigation.

Allow lawsuits against local or state government agencies that have policies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws. Would impose daily civil fines of $1,000-$5,000. There is pending follow-up legislation to halve the minimum to $500.

Targets hiring of illegal immigrants as day laborers by prohibiting people from stopping a vehicle on a road to offer employment and by prohibiting a person from getting into a stopped vehicle on a street to be hired for work if it impedes traffic.

The law will take effect by late July or early August.”

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

–Emma Lazarus, 1883 (Inscribed on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty)

War, Mental Disorder and Suicide

(Loncar et al. Coll. Antropol. 28 (2004) 1: 377–384, Zagreb)

“War as a human disaster of major significance has led to an increase in the number of suicides committed by people suffering from mental disorders. Considering the results of similar research, we were particularly interested in the effect that war has on the incidence of suicide among of people with mental disorders. The research included 16,362 patients with mental disorders, treated at the Clinic for Psychiatry at the Clinical Hospital Split during the nine-year timeframe which were divided into pre-war (April 6th 1988 – April 7th 1991), wartime (April 6th 1991 – April 7th 1994) and post-war (April 6th 1997 –  2000) periods… In our research, we found a statistically significant difference in suicide incidence between three observed periods …with the incidence being the highest during the wartime period …With this research we intended to offer a better understanding of the complexity of the suicide problem…”

During WWII the cherry blossom was a symbol of the beauty and transience of life used to motivate kamikaze pilots.   Fliers painted them on the sides of their planes or carried branches with them in their cockpits.

Here in Philadelphia for the past week, we have enjoyed tranquil, temperate weather and the blossoms have emerged in force.

These were taken at Morris Arboretum.

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