bm233 DNA and Immigration in France

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

The French government, under the guidance of its new president, passed a bill to require the use of DNA testing in certain immigration cases. Is this the will of the French people and what are the implications if more of these types of policies are put into effect?

My guests:
John Mason, Prof. of Political Science at William Paterson University (NJ)
Jessica Reed, blogger;

We discuss:
– The state of the state
– Who supports Sarkozy?
– His policies and his background
– Where the French public falls in all this
– Eastern Europe
– Africa and former colonies
– Labor and birth rates
– How do fight back against xenophobia



by bicyclemark 2 Comments

If you should browse the website, which belongs to the people behind currenttv (American cable channel founded by Al Gore), you’ll find a growing amount of content from yours truely. And as I posted a link to an article about the new French requirement that immigrants who wish their family members to join them in France must take a DNA test to prove they are really family, I received some interesting comments, and I say that not because several people agreed with me.

In discussing this topic on that website and amongst friends here in Amsterdam, one common concern that people bring up to defend the policy sounds something like this: “Using DNA will ensure that immigrants aren’t lying about who is family.”

I realize many people agree with this, on the surface it is a simple request, that people not lie. But when I hear this comment, my mind travels to the past.. to who I am and how I got to be where I am.. or better yet.. how I got to be at all. Or beyond me, what about all the people all over the world, who are the children of immigrants or the grandchildren of immigrants… what if they had had DNA testing?
The idea that people would not have been able to lie in any aspect of the immigration process would have basically changed the entire face of the western world, destination for many immigrants over the past 300 years. The midwest of the United States, with its huge Scandinavian population… imagine they had not been able to lie about who is who’s cousin or daughter.

I realize, there are immigration laws, there is a process, and it isn’t going away. I also realize that no matter the rules, if humans want to go somewhere, they will find a way, they will break or bend the rules, because it is a question of survival.

When it comes right down to it, history teaches us that there is a long and glorious tradition of lying for the sake of moving your family.. your hopes.. your dreams. It is a tradition that deserves our respect… it should be honored.. not disrespected with DNA tests that few migrants could ever afford anyway.

There are of course, numerous other criticisms of this policy that governments should take note of. But for right now, in this particular post, I just wanted to show my respect by defending the rights of immigrants.. of humans.. to not be DNA tested because they want to try and make a new life.. a better life.

bm213 Canadians in Amsterdam; The Struggle

by bicyclemark

After studying, working, and living in the Netherlands for 5, 10 or even 20 years, people are being deported on technicalities and bureaucratic errors. Faced with the choice of fighting or leaving the life they’ve built, many people are finding that there is no fair fight to be had. In this podcast the focus is on the Canadian example, the story of current and former residents. Asking the question, what kind of immigration policies are these?


Thomas here in Amsterdam
Sarah in Toronto
Dutch Immigration Lawyer (anonymous)


Fear of Losing Estonian-ness

by bicyclemark

As part of being in Berlin this week I attended a lovely hacker conference-party by the name of PH-Neutral. Perhaps the best part of this get together was that I met two very fun new friends, K and F. (maybe they dont want their names used, who knows)

K recognized me from the talk I gave at the congress back in December, she gave me a big smile and told me how much she enjoyed my talk. Turns out K is Estonian but has moved her life to Berlin. She and her boyfriend took me out on the town last night, exposing me to some of the nightspots where other revolutionaries gather. And throughout the evening we discussed education, culture, the internets, and much more.

One very interesting thing I learned from K about what is going on in Estonia, was about how fearful Estonians are that their culture will disappear. With only around 1 million citizens, she explained that the very common political and social discussion is about how things like culture, language, and especially music, must be preserved and passed on. This is, of course, while Estonia also has a very significant Russian minority that has lived in the country for several decades. The conflict she pointed out was that Russia being so huge and right next door, is seen as a force that could erode Estonian culture… and as an extension of that.. there becomes a struggle between the Estonians and the Russians in Estonia regarding language, culture, and from what Ive read – rights.

So then comes the very typical discussion that you here in various countries… the classic question of how minority groups should interact with the so-called national majority.

a wall

K and I agreed that neither of us supports the forcing of anyone to be anything. But I understood that the average citizen in Estonia doesn’t share our opinion. Instead it sounds like typical rhetoric about how minority groups must do this and that in order to be good citizens and get “intigrated”. Still it is hard to compare what happens in Estonia to say.. the US or even Germany. Small place. Few people. Unique situation.