An Impromptu Uprising: Ethnographic Reflections on the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey: Masculinized Power, Queered Resistance

The uprisings in Turkey seem to be for a good cause. This feminist movement is empowering women, shutting down sexism from the government and letting people come out of their shell and express themselves. The Prime Minister has said many insulting things about females, and his expectations of them are outdated. I do not agree that people were making comments about his sexuality and other stuff, because people are trying to gain respect and rights, but they are bashing him by using the words that he said. Overall, I agree with the people’s or women’s argument, but I do not necessarily agree with how they are going about it.

Advertisements

Berbers in Algeria

It is interesting to see the kinds of stigmatizing going on in France and too see how similar it is to the kind of thinking that is going on in America. It seems that in certain groups simply being Arab is enough to be considered a threat even though an Arab person might not have done anything threatening. We also see this in some of the reports mentioned in the article where it says Berber are uncivilized warriors. It is this kind of labeling that leads to racism in the public, declaring another culture below your own.

What leads to this kind of talk from people? Is it because they are simply threatened by them or something more?

 

Refugees, Pity, and Moral Superiority: The German Case

In this article, Damani Partridge describes her experience in directing a film school in Berlin in 2015. One of her film students is a recent immigrant to Berlin and decides to create a film critiquing “German pity”. The author then delves into her own analysis of pity in regards to refugees.

In the article, the author and the film student whom she studies state that Pity creates a hierarchal system in which there is a poor group that is looked down upon by a higher group. Pity is not a helpful emotion and instead retains class structures.

However, In another part of the article she sites an interview that occurred between Angela Merkel and a Palestinian woman living in Germany. In this interview, Merkel explains that she can not take in every refugee that exists in justification for why this woman was nearly deported. The woman begins to cry and Angela Merkel lamely attempts to comfort the woman. It was then later reported that the woman was soon after granted temporary citizenship. the author questions whether pity can be all bad because this woman was able to use it to her advantage. She also hypothesizes that Germany leads the world in refugee acceptance because of the atrocities that the country committed in the Holocaust. In a sense, Germany is trying to repent.

Whatever the motives behind it are, I am glad that Germany is taking refugees. I believe that it really doesn’t matter your intentions or thoughts as long as a good action is being done in the world. Pity is a complex topic however. I agree with the filmmaker in that pity is not productive for helping people. It is just reinforcing a hierarchy of class. I also don’t think that one should have to see images of dead children in order to finally decide that refugees should be welcomed in their country. I would prefer if people immediately took in refugees before their children began dying. I also wonder, if Aylan(the shipwrecked boy) had been darker complected, would the image have created such an impact? After all, his picture was not the first one that I had seen of dead, or hopeless refugee children from Syria.

How, we ask, ought we interpret the media focus on Syrianrefugees, and how might this focus reinscribe a (racialized) distinction between “deserving” or “real” refugees and so-called economic migrants?

 

 

The media plays a large role on how we interpret the Syrian refugees. In the article “What’s Wrong with Innocence”, Miriam Ticktin describes the image of a 3-year old boy’s (Aylan) body washed up on the shores of Turkey. This image went worldwide and caused a stir in people’s emotions. However, their emotions were of sadness and not of fear of what’s really happening. The media’s focus on the tragic loss of Aylan, made people around the world feel that the boy was a deserving refugee that was lost in his voyage. The media has made it seem that the darker your skin is, the more dangerous you are. So, now when crossing seas. the lighter-toned people are on the top because they look more appealing. The media has made thousands of people across Europe and America prejudice to those of middle East origin. Especially after attacks like the one in Paris in 2015.

Refugee Crisis – Forum

This forum focusses on the readings in “Refugees and the Crisis of Europe” (link: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/911-refugees-and-the-crisis-of-europe) Below are some questions from the introduction that I want us to address in this forum discussion. You do not have to respond to all the questions but address at least one of them (depending also on which readings you choose from the list). Please post your response as a reply to this thread.

“How, we ask, ought we interpret the media focus on Syrianrefugees, and how might this focus reinscribe a (racialized) distinction between “deserving” or “real” refugees and so-called economic migrants? How do we locate the migration crisis between a Liberal Europe committed to moral humanism and a Fortress Europe committed to expelling undesirables? How do the strategies of, on the one hand, custody and control (of foreign bodies and borders) and, on the other, rescue and care (of victims of human trafficking, asylum seekers, and refugees) reflect and refract the nature of power and sovereignty in Europe today?”

The Caribbean Roots of European Maritime Interdiction

One thing that I really liked about this reading was the way in which Jeffrey Kahn connected the stories of refugees that fled to the US, as well as those that fled to Europe. When we were discussing migration in class today, we learned that there are thousands of refugees who are pretty much in limbo…they fled their country only to find themselves in yet another terrible situation. An example of this is when Kahn discussed the bodies of Haitians that washed ashore on the Florida coast. It’s almost as if they’re in a lose-lose situation. You risk your life to flee your country, only to pass away on that journey to “freedom.”

One question that I had while reading this story was about interdiction and how exactly that works. In this reading, it was stated that only six of nearly 22,000 Haitians who were attempting to flee their country were permitted entry into the United States to pursue asylum over an eight-year period. In class, Smoki explained that a refugee can be defined as anyone who fears of being persecuted for race, religion, nationality, political opinion, etc, and is unable to “avail himself of the protection of that country” With that being said, my question is what is the exact criteria that The United States was using to allow some refugees in while turning others away? How exactly does a refugee prove that they are in dire need of asylum? And how in the world did only 6 out of 22,000 people get chosen? That’s .027%

Kahn ended this piece by talking about terrorist attacks (Paris and Brussels) and how that fear can fuel interdiction. I think that’s definitely a valid argument, but how much longer are we going to allow fear to keep us from helping people? He stated that hospitality (housing refugees) can leave a country vulnerable, of course. But, I personally believe that conducting a terrorist attack is probably NOT in the top 100 things refugees are thinking about when they are seeking asylum in the United States and Europe.

Immigrants at the Margins 3&5

In Chapter 3, “Useful Invaders,” Calavita details the composition of immigrants in Italy and Spain, and the economies of the two countries which use and abuse immigrant workers. She explains how there can be both low local unemployment and high immigrant employment, because there are “too few good jobs, and too many bad ones.” She reiterates that immigrants fill the jobs that local people do not want, willing to be paid scant amounts in the underground economy under unjust working conditions. The low birthrates and declining population of locals mean that not only are immigrants needed by these countries for their labor, but also for their ability to make these countries younger. Further, female immigrant workers are found in large numbers in elderly care, and are taking care of the aging population in a way local Europeans are unable to. Calavita tells how immigrants usefulness to employers is due to their difference and lack of integration, which makes them flexible and willing to do work nobody else will to survive. She ends by telling how the immigrant’s marginality is reproduced from within Spain and Italy from their economic location as much as their legal status, arguing that both legal and economic marginality are intertwined.

In Chapter 5, “Everyday Dynamics of Exclusion,” Calavita details the struggle of immigrant integration in the rights of healthcare and housing. She shows how the government and bureaucratic systems, as well as racialization and immigrants economic location all work together to preclude immigrants from accessing rights, even those they are entitled to. An example of this is the way immigrants who are eligible for healthcare are not aware of it, are turned away from healthcare centers, are made to jump through difficult hoops to secure access, and avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination and deportation. She also details the most serious problem immigrants face, that of finding housing. Landlords and rental agencies sometimes refuse to rent to immigrants, or make them pay high prices for low quality quarters with no running water or bathrooms. When they do get housing, it is sometimes in the city, but separated from the residential districts, reproducing immigrants’ location on the margins of society. She also notes that it is not just illegal immigrants who have trouble finding housing, and face overcrowding and health risks, but even well-off legal immigrants have trouble finding housing. She ends the chapter with a look at immigrants’ resistance strategies, which include protest in the form of sit-ins, marches, squatting, strikes, and organizing. Sometimes these strategies work, and sometimes they do not, but she argues: immigrants are succeeding in bringing attention to social problems which have always existed, and negatively affect everyone marginalized by the legal system and economy.

In one of the resistance examples Calavita tells how the immigrant workers being swindled by their employers in Italy went on strike but their local Italian coworkers did not. I think this is related to the above argument that immigrants are bringing attention to problems in labor which have persisted and effect local Europeans too, but for some reason have not been protested or noticed before. Do you think there is a reason the Italians did not join their immigrant coworkers on strike? Why? And do you think local Europeans, specifically Italians with their powerful labor unions, have brought attention to these conditions and just not been noticed? Or is it just that they are selective with their claims and demonstrations in relation to their immigrant counterparts?