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Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Fourth of July





Today I decorated my flower vases with two tiny American flags which had been placed in our front lawns by some town patriots some weeks before, on Memorial Day (the Day we honor the American people who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces).  I live in this country and even though I love my native country, I also have a lot to thank the USA, for the good years of opportunities I have had to educate ourselves and our children and to forge a future for our family.
Today is the anniversary of the United States from the colonial oppression of the kingdom of Great Britain.
In 1776, John Adams, future second president of the USA, wrote to his wife Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”.

Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, founding fathers and presidents of the United States, died on a Fourth of July.
And here we are, immigrants and native people, together in this great country, integrated like a salad with different ingredients; with our own individuality and cultures, but working all together to make this country greater.  We have been able to integrate ourselves to this society that has nestled us, and has recognized our great potentiality and has taken advantage of it.  We have understood that even though our worlds are different, they can complement each other. And so, from thence, in one way or another, we have been celebrating through the years the occasion of an independence from oppression.

Just today I was hearing John Lennon’s “Imagine” and started to ponder on one of its lyrics:
“I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...”

I was thinking about the turns that the ideals of equality and justice have taken.  Perhaps, the overpopulation of the world, the hunger for power and riches of the mighty, the comfortability of the oppressed, are converting the original ideas of the great thinkers of the world, and in particular of this country.  Under the disguise of a “concern for the security and wellness”, some influential politicians try to guide the people to ideas which do not promote a brotherhood of men who want to share this world…those whose greed is so great, that they don’t contemplate the humanity of people.

With the upcoming elections, we are hearing a lot of speeches about the different political proposals for a new government.  Much has been achieved during the presidency of this governor, Mr. Obama, who has brought important changes which start with the election of the first president of color in the USA. Times have changed and the efforts of the great civil rights fighters have been finally understood and accepted…at least partially. It is not easy to govern and his effort is appreciated by most.
Just the other day we heard the infamous speech of a candidate for the presidency of the USA who called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers and job thieves. I was waiting for this opportunity to answer to this offense, by telling him that he has insulted the great Latin community which today constitutes 17% of the entire population of the USA.  Latinos of the world, are an important segment of hardworking people who have contributed to the greatness of this country as are the rest of Immigrants who live here. 
The United States is a nation of immigrants.  The only natives are the American Indians, who now live in Reservations. We must remember that the first colonies were formed by Europeans who escaped their countries because of religious intolerance or political problems. Between 1882 and 1914 approximately twenty million immigrants came to the United States. Mass immigration from eastern and southern Europe dramatically altered the population’s ethnic and religious composition. Unlike earlier immigrants, who had come primarily from northern Europe—Britain, Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia—the “new immigrants” came increasingly from Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Russia. The newcomers were often Catholic or Jewish, and two-thirds of them settled in cities.
By 1900, New York City had as many Irish residents as Dublin. It had more Italians than any city outside Rome and more Poles than any city except Warsaw. It had more Jews than any other city in the world, as well as sizeable numbers of Slavs, Lithuanians, Chinese, and Scandinavians
Those who came, like us, came seeking for better opportunities in “the land of immigrants”, to give the best of what we were and of what we further learned, to make this country the greatest in the earth. We brought our kids to serve in their armies; we brought our knowledge learned in our universities, to share them within.  Many of us left for political or economic reasons and came to the land of opportunities. That land which is described in the poem written by Jewish Sefardi  Emma Lazarus, which has been inscribed in  the Statue of Liberty  which gloriously stands at the entrance of the New York Harbor:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-toast to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1936 speech in honor of the Statue's 50th Anniversary helped solidify the transformation of the Statue into an icon of immigration. In the speech he presented immigration as a central part of the nation's past and emphasized the newcomers' capacity for Americanization.

Paul Auster wrote that "Bartholdi's gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism.  but 'The New Colossus' reinvented the statue's purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world."
It is incredible, how in these years, we still find “politicians to be” who still hold the once conservative thinking that foreigners constitute a threat to American liberties and values. Connections drawn between the Statue of Liberty and immigration were not always positive.
They portrayed the monument as a symbol of a nation besieged by pollution, housing shortages, disease, and the onslaught of anarchists, communists, and other alleged subversives. Such images appeared mainly in middle-class popular magazines. They appeared in response to proposed increases in New York's immigrant processing capacity or in connection to specific political campaigns. When a new immigrant processing station was proposed on Bedloe's Island in 1890, a cartoon in Judge depicted the Statue as "the future emigrant lodging house." Expressing fears about the Statue's literal desecration by newcomers, as well as fears about immigrants' threat to the liberty it represented, the cartoon showed the monument encumbered by a tenement-style fire escape and clothesline. That same year, Judge published a scathing image of a sneering Statue raising her robe to protect it from the newcomers "European Garbage ships" dumped at her feet.


The United States of America celebrates today its Independence from colonial oppression, but the people who live and lead this country also have to work to liberate it from the internal colonialism which dominates it, through racism and its effects on each group in areas of politics, criminal justice, violence, work, education, family, and mass media. The United States has yet to solve for a just decision which could solve the problem of immigrants of this country…which under no means are a burden to its economy, but contribute to its progress.
Happy Fourth of July!