Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Integrating Immigrants

The reccent swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland has once again prodded the issue of the integration of cultural immigrants into the limelight. Its interesting how those calling the loudest for immigrants to culturally integrate often have a very bourgeois view of their own culture and its 'enlightened' values. But what is the reality of the culture that most immigrants are confronted with? Immigrants with the educational background to get good middle class jobs and wealth tend to integrate relatively more easily. But most immigrants are poor and end up living in the poorest areas of society. This excellent post by Londonistani on the Abu Muqawama Blog illustrates some of the difficulties with the concept of integration in the fringes of societies which are already experiencing social breakdown. Its a must read for anyone interested in the integration debate.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blackwater CEO, Erik Prince, Quits

Blackwater (Xe) is coming in for so much flak from various quarters that the founder/CEO Erik Prince has announced that he is stepping down and is going to take up high school teaching instead! See this article in Think Progress, which has has plenty of interesting links. Here's an interesting quote from an article in Vanity Fair by the Prince of Darkness claiming he is being made a scapegoat:

I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions. … But when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus. … I’m an easy target.”

Also interesting tidbits in the article - Eric Prince was supposed to be staying in the Marriott when it was blown up by a Taliban attack last year - except that he had cancelled the trip because his son had an accident. And perhaps more controversially, AQ Khan was on a CIA list of targets to be found, tracked and possibly killed, though the US govt decided not to kill him.

Given all the hoopla over Blackwater etc. here in Pakistan, I wonder how/if this is going to be worked into the various conspiracy theories doing the rounds?