March 26, 2011
Jordanians here hope their country adopts democracy
"With the recent conflicts in the Middle East, one small country half the size of the state of Tennessee has been campaigning for change in a hope to see reform on the political and economic level, as well as redefine the identity of the nation.
Activists in Jordan are angry at the government and at the same time proclaiming their loyalty to King Abdullah II, who has agreed with the protesters and promised reforms.
When I first heard about the reform movement for democracy in Jordan, as a Jordanian myself, I was glad to hear that changes are under way. Although they are not getting as much international attention as those countries that are seeing more turmoil, Jordan deserves to be recognized, for they are a small voice with a big message to be heard.
When I tell people where I am from, most do not know where that is, even though there is a good-sized community of Jordanian immigrants in Tennessee, specifically in Nashville. I believe I can make a difference by using my voice to promote democracy in Jordan by educating people in Nashville and the rest of America about my country and its need for reform.
Spreading awareness to Americans is essential, for they are full of knowledge when it comes to democracy, and if Jordan's government implements these changes, America can help to ensure it's organized in the best way possible.
Freedom taken for granted
Jordanians deserve the rights of freedom and should be able to choose their own government. Historically, Jordan's elections have been decided by the number of family members that can be gathered on Election Day rather than on a political platform. Those who pledge loyalty to the regime are rewarded with better jobs and benefits; those who offer alternative political visions are left out. Low wages, soaring prices and high taxes are seen as issues that the government should be accountable for, because they are enlarging the gap between rich and poor.
Democracy protects the minority from the majority and makes freedom not only a privilege but a right for all people. My American friends have aspirations and dreams that they are not afraid to chase. They do not realize how lucky they are to be in America, not knowing what it's like to be without their rights. In Jordan, there are rules, regulations and restrictions. People are not free to do what they want, nor do they have freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or due process. In countries like Jordan, these rights are mere dreams left unspoken for fear of punishment.
Jordan, like many other Middle Eastern countries, has a deep history and a national identity that is worth preserving, along with the incorporation of new innovations. Preservation of culture, combined with democracy and support from King Abdullah II and the U.S., can lead to a society in Jordan that has rights for the people and strengthen the nation. If the people keep asking the king for change, it will come.
The world is now constantly connected, and we are all a part of each other's lives. Democracy is an even bigger part of the world now, and I know that being in America I can help just as much as those who are petitioning on the streets overseas. As I said, Jordan is small. But I believe one voice can make a big difference, and that is what I am trying to achieve by being that voice for Jordan here in America.
Wael Al-Sadi has worked in the service industry for the past 10 years as a cashier in Nashville. He is in the process of applying to school to finish an economics degree. You can follow him on Twitter @reform4jordan or go to his Facebook page, Democracy for Jordan".
March 17, 2011
St Patricks Day
Can you tell the difference?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! They say today everyone is a little bit Irish.
It wasn’t always like that, though. When the Irish first came to America they were met with persecution, ignorance and fear. They were denied jobs, accused of lawlessness and of destroying the United States. Immigration became a rallying point for the Know-Nothings, a political party dedicated to punishing immigrants.
Flash forward to today. Hispanic immigrants are facing the same accusations and the same injustices. History is repeating itself, right in front of us. In fact, it’s getting impossible to tell the difference between rhetoric from the historical Know-Nothings and today’s Republican Party.
Take the quiz: Can you tell the difference?
See if you can tell the difference between the historical Know-Nothings and today’s modern ones. Then, take action and tell some of the House’s most extreme right wing restrictionist voices not to keep repeating history. We need constructive solutions, not repackaged racism and xenophobia.
by Marissa Graciosa
Reform Immigration FOR America
March 03, 2011
Correction to article A Life More Ordinary, The City Paper
I am writing to correct an error in the print edition of The City Paper page 14 wherein I was listed a previously having served on the Metro Human Relations Commission.
To the contrary my nomination was rejected by then Mayor Bredesen who was quoted in the Tennessean in section B, 9/15/1996 as saying;
"The notion was never to include every conceivable subgroup in the community," Bredesen said. My notion is to get together a group of serious people with the ability to make things happen who broadly represent the community. The idea that you have to have a Hispanic, a disable person, a this or that was never part of the notion of the commission with me", the mayor said.
Various persons have congratulated me for having previously served and I do not wish to give the impression that I did in fact serve on the commission.