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I had assumed that my participation in conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s ‘Restoring Honor’ rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.—held today on the anniversary and at the very location of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech—would be limited to supplying faulty directions to said memorial to a group of tourists clad in “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirts this morning. Out of curiosity I later ended up at the rally myself, where I was informed that the “keynote speaker”, another euphemism for Sarah Palin, had already spoken.
The void left by the termination of Palin’s military rhetoric was now being filled by a bespectacled man near the entrance to the monument grounds wielding a “Who would Jesus bomb?” sign, in response to which conscientious passersby offered such suggestions as Iran. The man with the sign reasoned that, as he had been welcomed neither at the Restoring Honor rally nor at the “leftist gathering” across the street—by which he apparently meant the image of King that had been erected between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol building along with speakers emitting the “I Have a Dream” speech—that he must be nearing the truth, one aspect of which was that wars were for socialists.
Potential additional support for King’s musings on America as a schizophrenic personality then surfaced in the form of a middle-aged father hauling three small children, three posters, and a camera, who hastily distributed one poster to each of the offspring and barked instructions for them to arrange themselves with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. The posters bore slogans such as “President—Hands off of my money”; when the male child proved less than cooperative, he was threateningly reminded that this was a family effort and to “get in there”.
A few days ago my mother received an email from a Bulgarian acquaintance in Texas—Emil—with whom she has for years been attempting to become unacquainted and whose world view appears to rest on the principle that Bulgarian immigrants to Texas should be afforded more rights than other kinds of immigrants to Texas.
Correspondence with Emil diminished following my parents’ relocation from the U.S. to Argentina, and he now only emails in times of natural disaster to ensure that they are all right; his latest concerned dispatch consisted of the following CNN report of 17 January:
“A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Argentina on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
There were no immediate reports of damages and injuries.
The 6.2 mile-deep quake hit 220 miles off the coast of Ushuaia, Argentina, at 7 a.m. ET, the geological survey said.”
On May 7, 2009, 227 migrants en route from Libya to Italy were intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea and escorted back to Tripoli by three vessels belonging to the Italian state, two from the Guardia Costiera and one from the Guardia di Finanza. In the online version of the Italian journal La Repubblica, Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni applauded the feat as “un risultato storico” in the struggle against clandestini, and a resolution to arguments between Italy and Malta over which nation should have to deal with potential asylum seekers. Maroni reasoned that, since the migrants were intercepted prior to reaching Italian shores, international law did not apply and it was not the “compito del governo italiano”—the duty of the Italian government—to evaluate requests for asylum; not addressed was why it was the compito del governo italiano to redeposit the travelers at their point of embarkation.
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi was quoted in La Repubblica as supporting the re-depositing based on the fact that, unlike the political left in Italy which wanted to open the doors to everyone, his government was not founded on the idea of a società multietnica but rather on the idea of receiving only those migrants who met the requirements for political asylum. No logistical details were offered on how to determine whether migrants met such requirements if they were forcibly repatriated prior to questioning; defense minister Ignazio La Russa meanwhile deflected potential accusations of xenophobia by explaining in the online version of Il Giornale that opposition to a multiethnic society did not mean that people of different ethnicities could not become Italian. According to La Russa, it was critical not to lose track of the history that made Italians “unici nel mondo”—a history of uniqueness that had included convictions during colonial periods that Libya was not opposed to a multiethnic society.