- Posted by Maryam Namazie
- On November 25, 2002
- 0 Comments
Published in Hambastegi English
November 25, 2002
Effective November 15, 2002, the USA has issued yet another draconian measure in its so-called ‘war against terrorism’. As of that date, all non-immigrant males 16 and older from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan or Libya are required to register with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) within a month or face deportation and exclusion from the USA. This ‘National Security Entry-Exit Registration System’ applies to all those who were last admitted to the United States on or before September 10, 2002, and who will remain in the United States until at least December 16, 2002. Like criminals, these boys and men will be questioned, finger-printed and photographed and will have to return annually to re-register until further notice. (Asylum seekers and permanent residents are not required to register since the required information is already in their files.)
Clearly, this law is nothing but state racism. It deems criminal and condemns an entire group without any accusation or evidence. It is no different from, for example, the Israeli government’s detention and interrogation of all Palestinian boys and men during the reoccupation and is in line with the same USA policy towards 120 thousand Japanese, 60 percent of whom were US citizens, during World War II. The USA detained these Japanese-Americans in camps and was only impelled to concede that it should not have detained an entire group without any accusation, evidence and trial and to give the survivors compensation in 1983. The 15 November 2002 law of the USA government is fundamentally the same. It is clear-cut racism under cover of legality.
In addition to being racist, this new law undermines people’s rights and recognised norms. Aren’t people innocent until proven guilty? This is what Hollywood films propagandize on a daily basis. Mustn’t there be an accusation before people can be fingerprinted and photographed? Doesn’t the accused have the right to a trial, lawyer, and access to the discriminating evidence? Yes, for a while now, these rights and standards haven’t been applicable to us ‘easterners’. We all know their theory of cultural relativism well. When it comes to Iran, everything is safe and dandy for the people there and it is nothing more than ‘their own culture’. When we come to Europe and the US from that living hell, the same rights and laws that have been gained by the working class and people of these countries and belong to all humanity are still not applicable to us. We also know this all too well. Just one summary look at the treatment of these governments of asylum seekers and migrants will clearly reveal the varying standards.
Of course terrorism is a real concern for you and I and the vast majority of the world’s people. After all, it is we who have been and are the victims of USA/NATO and or Islamic terrorism. But what does this law have to do with ‘combating terrorism’? Of course all the states mentioned are despotic. There’s also no doubt that they are terrorist. After all, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a fundamental pillar of political Islam and Islamic terrorism. But what has this got to do with the tourist or student or person who has a work visa? The USA has more of a relationship with the governments of Iran, Iraq and so on than the people of those countries. The West supported Saddam; the Islamic Republic of Iran was the West’s alternative vis-à-vis the rise of the Left in Iran…
We know very well that when it comes to the political-economic interests of these states, they label some governments as terrorist at certain times to suit their needs. In the past, Iraq, for example, was one of the USA’s friends, including when it used chemical weapons against the people of Halabje. Right now, too, an ex-Iraq general Nizar al-Khazraji who is seen by the USA as a possible successor to Saddam Hussein has just been placed under house arrest in Denmark for leading the Anfal Operation against the Kurds in the 80s after a Kurdish refugee recognised him in the street and filed a grievance against him.
But what’s even more interesting is that the USA government calls the Islamic regime in Iran terrorist yet just this week allowed Iran’s UN envoy Mohammad Javad Zarif, a representative of state terrorism, entry to the USA. This is while every day and every week, we hear news of the return of ordinary people and the deportation of asylum seekers. Khatami, the regime’s president, has gone to NYC several times and NYC’s entire police force and law has defended him, while deterring the Islamic regime’s victims and opponents. We know full well that their aim is not ending terrorism but ending our rights and protests. We are their real targets.
In any case, no one really believes that the USA government is going to defend our rights and or eradicate terrorism. The USA is itself a source of terrorism and rightlessness. Only we can stop the restrictions on civil rights and eradicate terrorism. If we agree that every advance in people’s rights is the result of struggle, then we must agree that it is those same progressive people in the USA and world that can end this insecurity, rightlessness and the war of terrorists.