Monday, August 2, 2010

The Thin (Complicated) Line Between Racial and Cultural Purity

A few items to consider.

Israel is deporting the Israeli-born children of migrant workers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the new policy was intended to stem a flood of illegal immigrants, whose children receive state-funded education and healthcare benefits, and to defend Israel's Jewish identity.
"On the one hand, this problem is a humanitarian problem," Netanyahu said during a meeting Sunday of the Cabinet, which had debated the move for nearly a year. "We all feel and understand the hearts of children. But on the other hand, there are Zionist considerations and ensuring the Jewish character of the state of Israel.
And the migrants aren't just from neighboring Arabic countries.
Sunday's Cabinet decision underscored Israel's ongoing struggle to cope with the estimated 250,000 to 400,000 foreign workers on its soil. About half arrived illegally or have lapsed permits.
Chinese construction workers, Philippine elder-care aides, Thai farmers and others began arriving in the 1990s. They replaced Palestinians as Israel's main source of cheap labor after the West Bank uprisings, which made it more difficult for Palestinians to work in Israel.

On a similar note, Maltese-born, American cartoonist Joe Sacco on African immigration to Malta as a stepping stone to mainland Europe, a comic that captures both the angry, fearful Maltese and the desperate, hopeful migrants from all across Africa who don't even want to stay in Malta to begin with.

Compare this to the recent study released by the Population Reference Bureau.
The 2010 World Population Data Sheet shows the contrasts between developing and developed countries. Comparing Ethiopia and Germany illustrates how stark the contrasts can be (see table). Even though Ethiopia and Germany have almost the same population size today, Ethiopia is projected to more than double its population from 85 million today to 174 million in 2050. Germany's population will likely decline from 82 million to 72 million over that same time. The cause of these enormous differences is lifetime births per woman. Ethiopia's total fertility rate of 5.4 is four times greater than Germany's rate of 1.3.

Finally, a quote from a book summary that perfectly articulates a good point better than I could:
Without a doubt, the sophisticated Egyptian, Phoenician, Minoan, and Persian societies deeply influenced the classical culture of ancient Greece, which some still imagine as the West’s pure and unique source. That story is still to come, for the obsession with purity—racial and cultural—arose many centuries after the demise of the ancients. Suffice it to say that our search for the history of white people must begin in the misty mixture of myth and reality that comprises ancient Greek literature.

Rather than try to tie all these links together into a cohesive essay and point, I'll leave it up to you to read, ponder, and draw your own conclusions.

Perhaps the essay(s) will come another day.

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