Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arizona: This Is What Apartheid Looks Like

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by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez

Those who think there's an immigration crisis in Arizona are correct. However, this is but part of the story. The truth is, a civilizational clash is being played out in the same state in which the state legislature questions the birthplace and legitimacy of President Barack Obama and where Sen. John McCain competes with Senate hopeful J.D. Hayworth to see who is the most anti-immigrant.

It is also the same state that several years ago denied a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., and that today permits virtually anyone - on the basis of trumped-up fear - to carry concealed weapons anywhere.

Welcome to Apartheid Arizona - the land of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, "States Rights" and a desert that has claimed thousands of migrant lives. By way of the same extremist legislature, the battle here is even much larger and more profound. This civilizational clash is being waged daily here via more bills involving who belongs, what language can be spoken and who and what can be taught in the state's schools. This is beyond the notion of who is "legal."

Whoever said this crisis is proof that the illegal Mexican-American War never ended is partially correct because this conflict is even older than that war in which Mexico lost half its territory to the United States. The irony regarding the recently signed SB 1070 - which permits law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on "reasonable suspicion" - is that those principally targeted will be those who look the "most Hispanic."

"Looking Hispanic" has always been a misnomer; what it really means is those who are dark and short and who look the "most Indigenous." Truthfully, here in Arpaio Country, the profiling that everyone fears is already with us. And to dispel further illusions, this civilizational clash alluded to is national in scope; witness the many hundreds of anti-immigrant bills nationwide since 2006. Only its epicenter is here.

http://www.truthout.org/roberto-cintli-rodriguez-arizona-this-is-what-apartheid-looks-like58955

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