Feeling Better But Busy

The flu is gone and my allergies are under control, but I have been really busy with my brother’s wedding, which included a trip to Karachi as well. Tomorrow, we are going to Wah Cantt. to be with my in-laws. My brother-in-law is also getting married in a couple of days. Weddings here are a big affair spread over several days. I’ll blog about it when I am back in the US as it seems I won’t have any time to post here. We are returning to the US on Jan 2, so regular posting will resume around Jan 3 or 4.

Down with Flu

I have got flu and am drowsy under the influence of Nyquil. Blogging will resume when I am feeling better.

In Pakistan

We reached Islamabad at 1am local time (GMT+5). I am still recovering from jetlag.

Special Registration: Again

Iranians are protesting according to LA Times:

In peaceful Irvine, where Iranians who fled the Ayatollah Khomeini established a tight-knit community of professionals and young families, the last thing anyone expected was to be tossed in jail.

On Tuesday — the day after dozens of immigrants from Middle Eastern countries and Sudan were taken into custody during a government registration process — residents like Ahmad Mesbah were filled with sadness and anger.

“We suffered a lot, and that is why we are here. We love the United States, so this has been frustrating,” said Mesbah, who helps lead monthly networking meetings for Iranian professionals. “There’s also something ironic about it. This affects the cream of the crop who came here. We are scientists, doctors, engineers.”[…]

Reza Tabib was indignant that his friend Efran Haj Rasoli — a 19-year-old Irvine Valley College student — was taken into custody Monday because he lacked a residency card. Tabib said the INS wrote Rasoli a letter indicating it had been approved in 2000 but that because of INS backlogs, it had not arrived.

Ok, I don’t understand. Permanent residents are not supposed to register. If Rasoli’s application was approved by the INS, he was a Permanent Resident. He did not need to go, unless there is something we do not know. In my experience, media stories about immigration matters are extremely ignorant.

So what do you think? Will all this publicity help the US cause? I know these people who were detained are very likely to have violated immigration laws. But without any actual figures and details from INS and the Justice Department, how can we be sure? Also, there are a lot more immigration violators from Latin America and other countries. Why this selective application of the law? I know, terrorism. But explain that to the Iranian guy who had to run away from Iran because of persecution from the government there.

Atrios has a number of posts on the subject. Start here and go up.

Traveling

I am flying to Pakistan tonight for my brother’s wedding. The flight is 16 hours long. So no blogging for a couple of days as I recover from jetlag. Blogging will be light while I am in Pakistan, though I’ll try to post something daily. Regular blogging will resume when I return on Jan 2.

Democracy and the Middle East

Here is something to chew on:

Found via David Adesnik of Oxblog.

I’ll be reading these in the next few days and will comment later.

Special Registration: PR Failure

Here’s a news item from Reuters:

Hundreds of Iranian and other Middle East citizens were in southern California jails on Wednesday after coming forward to comply with a new rule to register with immigration authorities only to wind up handcuffed and behind bars.

Shocked and frustrated Islamic and immigrant groups estimate that more than 500 people have been arrested in Los Angeles, neighboring Orange County and San Diego in the past three days under a new nationwide anti-terrorism program. Some unconfirmed reports put the figure as high as 1,000.

The arrests sparked a demonstration by hundreds of Iranians outside a Los Angeles immigration office. The protesters carried banners saying “What’s next? Concentration camps?” and “What happened to liberty and justice?.”

A spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service said no numbers of people arrested would be made public. A Justice Department spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The head of the southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union compared the arrests to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War.

Now the rhetoric here is definitely over the top. There’s no way one can compare Japanese internment camps with the current arrests. Also, I have no reason to believe that the people arrested were not violating immigration laws. However, I find it strange that the INS refused to give out the number of people arrested. My guess would be that almost everyone detained would be in violation of immigration laws. So why not be forthright about it? The secretive habits of this administration are going to bite it hard. Also, this will be a big story in the Middle East. In the end, dear reader, do you think it will help the US effort against terrorism or hinder it? That is the question no one is asking.