I finally got my internet back. I can see that the comments section has become a verbal bloodbath in my abscence. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Can’t promise I will join bacchanalia. But I promise posts about more pressing subjects will resume beginning tonight.
You Might also like
By Sean — 11 years ago
The Moscow Times and Kommersant are reporting that Manana Dzhabelia, 50, a Georgian woman who was being held in a Moscow detention center for living illegally in Russia, died from a heart attack, and according to friends, was refused medical care. Dzhabelia is now the second victim of Moscow’s anti-Georgian and immigrant campaign.
As Kommersant reports,
Manana Dzhabelia was a refugee from Abkhazia, and lived in Moscow since 1990. She was seized in the process of a police raid on the Domodedovskii market on October 4—in the heat of the anti-Georgian campaign. The Nagatinskii court of Moscow made a decision about her deportation to Georgia because for expired registration. However, the state was not successful in deporting Mrs. Dzhabelia from the country—she challenged the decision in Moscow City Court, claiming that she could not get registration because her passport was at the Georgian Consulate in Moscow.
Two days before Mrs. Dzhabelia died, the Moscow court ruled in her favor, but word did not reach the detention center in time.
The horrors of immigrant detention are not just found in Russia. Last week, a riot broke out in Harmondsworth Immigration Reception Centre in Britain. According to reports, the reason for the outbreak was detainees’ fear of abuse by detention staff. These views are corroborated by a report on the conditions of the Hamondsworth Centre which stated that “44% of detainees said they had been victimized by staff; 60% said they felt unsafe,” including a frequent use of solitary confinement. Solitary confinement was used 129 times during the first half of 2006 alone. “This is undoubtedly the poorest report we have issued on an immigration removal centre,” the report stated. Riot police had to be deployed to regain control of the center.
In Australia, three reports were released that criticized the condition of 20 detained immigrants. The criticism focused on 10 detentions that involved children and nine involving the mentally ill. The reports come on the heels of Government suggestions to tighten immigration and stiffen citizenship tests on language and “Australian values.” The problem with this is exactly as Peter van Vliet states, “The problem with trying to define “Australian values” beyond democracy and the rule of law is that they are not necessarily agreed values. Pluralism, or the right to hold different values beyond the acceptance of democracy and the rule of law, is arguably one of the most important values in a multicultural society and effectively rejects a detailed list of agreed values.” Interestingly, Australia’s discussion about what constitutes “Australian” parallels the discussion about “Russian” in Russia.
The United States government is getting the reputation of detaining and deporting children. According to a report on NPR’s All Things Considered, there are 8,000 “illegal” immigrant children in US detention centers, up from 4500 in 2000. Their treatment was so harsh in these centers that a 2002 court ruling placed them under the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, as the NPR report states, “the system is a study in contradiction: Immigration officials still work to deport these children, even as HHS operates a growing network of shelters to care for and educate them.”
The problem of immigration is not relegated to any particular region or country. Immigration is a global problem where Russia is one of the many offenders of immigrant rights.
Mrs. Dzhabelia’s death in Russia, the riots in Britain, the detention of mentally ill in Australia, and the immigrant children in the United States are the horrific results of the category “illegal”. Because a person doesn’t have the proper papers attesting to their status, they are detained, and the only way they can prove their “legality” is providing the proper documents. It is incidents like this that remind us that the supposed inalienable rights proclaimed by Enlightenment thought are paper thin. The laws of nation state, itself a product of Enlightenment, is the final arbiter of who is a “legal” and “illegal” human, making our human rights simply provisional.Post Views: 282
By Sean — 11 years ago
By Sean — 12 years ago
Twenty years ago the nuclear plant Chernobyl exploded. The Guardian did an excellent article on the event and its lingering effects. There is no official count on how many died as a result. The number is probably in the tens of thousands, and its effects will continue to be felt in the region for several decades more. In a UN report released last September that was supported by Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine estimates 4,000 deaths. The World Health Organization altered the estimate to 9,000. Greenpeace estimates up to 100,000 deaths as a direct or indirect result of the nuclear meltdown.
Chernobyl’s historical significance goes beyond environmental catastrophe. As Pyotr Romanov argues in a comment on RIV Novosti that Chernobyl was a major blow to the Soviet Union and should be included as one of the factors in its collapse. It completely undercut the moral and political authority of the Perestroika reformers.
There is one more consequence of the Chernobyl disaster, which is rarely mentioned. I think it was Chernobyl that exploded the U.S.S.R. Needless to say, the reasons for the disintegration of such a colossus were bound to be multiple. Some people say with good reason that the founders of Marxism programmed the elements of self-destruction into the Soviet Union’s policy and economy. Others justifiably quote the arms race or Afghanistan, which also undermined the Soviet might. Still others blame the then leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus for signing a document in secret from President Gorbachev in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. They believe, not without a reason, that this document finished the U.S.S.R off.
However, I still think that Chernobyl was one of the major factors behind the Soviet collapse. The tragedy was not just about radioactive contamination. It produced a huge pack of lies, which shocked the Soviet people. The authorities concealed from them the truth for several days. In blissful ignorance, children and adults were walking under the genial spring rain in Kiev and Minsk, eating fruit, fishing, going to Ukrainian and Byelorussian resorts. If they had known the truth, they would have been running away. When rumors finally got through, people panicked. They rushed to railroad stations and drug stores. Only the first semi-truthful official reports outlined the enormous scale of the catastrophe.
Importantly, the liars were the Party reformers whom many people had trusted when they said that the Soviet system could be reformed. After this lie there was nobody to believe. So, when a report on the Soviet Union’s demise came from Belovezhskaya Pushcha, nobody tried to resuscitate it. The lie proved to be as deadly as radiation.
In addition, what is more disconcerting is that the lesson of Chernobyl and the dangers of nuclear power have fallen on deaf ears. Nuclear power is considered acceptable again, not only in Russia, but the US, and of course in Iran. Unfortunately, nuclear power, whether it be fore energy or in its weaponized form is still with us.
For more news on Chernobyl, I point readers to Wally Shedd’s entry at his blog Accidental Russophile. He has provided a number of useful links to news stories debating, commemorating, and shedding historical light on the event.Post Views: 214