President Obama’s speech in Canada

Video information

President Barack Obama spoke to Parliament following the North American Leaders’ Summit. Obama spoke on wide range of topics including the close relationship with Canada, gay rights, equality for women, terrorism, climate change, immigration and the economy.

“When refugees escape barrel bombs and torture, and migrants cross deserts and seas seeking a better life, we cannot simply look the other way. We certainly can’t label as possible terrorists vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorists.

We can insist that the process is orderly. We can insist that our security is preserved. Borders mean something. But in moments like this, we are called upon to see ourselves in others, because we were all once strangers. If you weren’t a stranger, your grandparents were strangers. Your great-grandparents were strangers. They didn’t all have their papers ready. They fumbled with language faced discrimination, had cultural norms that didn’t fit. At some point, somewhere, your family was an outsider. So the mothers, the fathers, the children we see today — they’re us. We can’t forsake them.

So, as Americans and Canadians, we will continue to welcome refugees, and we can ensure that we’re doing so in a way that maintains our security. We can and we will do both.”

President Barack Obama

On the racist nature of the term “expat”

I have read the article “Let’s Kill Off ‘Expat'”, and it is kind of refreshing to read about how a white person has become socially and racially aware to the point that she readily admits and acknowledges her own white privilege and is willing to do something about it by raising awareness and encouraging others to not perpetuate white privilegeness or to not contribute to the institutional racism that is often associated with the word “expat”.

It reminds me of a similar article “Why are White People Expats when the Rest of Us are Immigrants”, in which Mawuna advocates his readers to call white people immigrants like everyone else, instead of expats. Like he said, “the political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue”. Yes, I think either we all use expats to describe highly skilled or highly paid workers regardless of their skin colours or races or nationalities, or we don’t use the term at all in our endeavour to promote the universal truth that we all are equal.

Immigration and border imperialism

I came across this video on Facebook, and decided to comment as follows:

Isn’t it true that the Europeans were responsible for migrating to America and colonising it at the expense of indigenous American Indians resulting in their genocide and at the expense of the black community who bore the ignominy of slavery? How convenient and supremacist of the European descendants to claim ownership of the land and deny other immigrants the chance to migrate to America using their own discriminatory laws as a pretext to protect their privilege. What makes these white Americans think they are superior or have more rights than others?

Someone responded:

#1. Indigenous means that something occurs in a place originally. That it did not migrate or emigrate from somewhere else. Ex. Corn and potatoes are indigenous to the Americas; rice is not because it originated in Asia.

#2. The term Native American is a misnomer. The peoples known today as Native American came here from Northeast Asia over a land bridge that was where the Bering Straight is today. The land bridge became submerged some 12,000 years ago. The genetic link between ancient Asians and ancient people in America has been proven through the DNA testing of the Clovis baby and the oldest human Asian remains.

#3. The Native Americans of the 1400s and 1500s had no knowledge of the existence of counties or the concept of landownership and borders

There were no states or countries in the Americas at that time. There were cities in Central and South America but not in what became the USA and Canada. Hence, there were no immigration laws. In effect, America belonged to nobody. People inhabited the land but did not own it until Europeans brought that concept with them. In effect, the land was up for grabs.

Until their hunting grounds and way of life was threatened, the Indians felt there was plenty of land for everyone. The Europeans got greedy with their need to own and control everything around them. That’s when the trouble started. The United States did not have immigration laws as we know them until the 19th century.

As our population grew, the US citizens saw the need to regulate the new immigrants. We decided to be like all other countries so adopted immigration laws to control who could come in and for how long. We didn’t want criminals or immoral people. Nor did we want the ill, infirm or indigent. Most countries in the world have changed hands over and over throughout history. Many countries have disputed borders to this day. Still they have immigration laws that are respected by other countries. Why should America not expect the same respect for our immigration laws?

It seems to be a reasonable comment with a sincere question at the end, so I decided to respond in kind, after doing a bit of research and support my opinions with facts.

All immigration laws need to be reformed, if not abolished altogether. Border imperialism only serves to perpetuate greed and tribalism, and cause displacement and oppression for those subject to imperialism. Humanity is ever evolving, and it is time we evolve past tribalism and imaginary borders.

If we were to apply the same standards of immigration laws in America today in the days of Christopher Columbus, he would be the first criminal and “illegal immigrant” to be deported back to Europe, instead of being celebrated as America’s “founder”.

“Columbus’ acts of cruelty were so unspeakable and so legendary – even in his own day – that Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his two brothers, slapped them into chains, and shipped them off to Spain to answer for their crimes against the Arawaks. But the King and Queen of Spain, their treasury filling up with gold, pardoned Columbus and let him go free.”
http://www.manataka.org/page2777.html

There were no immigration laws before Christopher Columbus stumbled upon America because the native Americans were so kind as to share land and resources with fellow human beings. In fact, Columbus “noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kindhearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.”

The native American Indians were far more evolved than most other peoples, in their very humanity. We would do well to emulate them and learn to share land and resources with one another and treat one another as brothers and sisters, regardless of differences in artificial group identities such as race, nationality and so on.

Another person responded:

Good grief Jimmy Tan- you are talking ancient history. Step into the current crap that’s happening…far worse than ever before. If you don’t like it here or if we are being so unfair to you, you have the option to go to your favorite country! Isn’t that amazing!

To this comment, I replied:

Oh yes, it’s amazing how violence and oppression are increasing due to border imperialism. Privilege blinds us to the pain and sufferings that the displaced and discriminated, predominantly made up of brown and black people, are dealing with. Watch the video above and learn how 492 Tamil refugees, including young children, landed on the shores of Canada in 2010 and were incarcerated for the “crime” of migrating to seek a better life and were labelled as “terrorists”. It is ironic how white privileged people tell others to not come to America “illegally” while they have no qualms invading other nations in Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, and steal their land and resources and subjugate the indigenous people.