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We Don't Know our Neighbor

On the latest Global Pulse episode, host Erin Coker reviews world coverage of how the cross-border drug war is affecting the United States and Mexico. Watch the episode below and share your thoughts!


Growing up I never lived more than an hour and a half’s driving distance away from Mexico. I’ve never been there. Although the geographical distance was short, Mexico felt a million miles away. I suspect I’m not the only American who feels this way.


That’s not to say I don’t know anything about Mexican culture. I grew up in Moreno Valley, a far-flung suburb of Los Angeles where nearly half of the population is of Hispanic heritage. Yet my brushes with Mexican culture turned out to be…well, more American than anything else. I vividly remember the tragic death of Tejana singer Selena being a huge news event where I lived. Selena sang in Spanish phonetically, because she didn’t speak it until she learned it much later in her career. Her primary fame was here in the US: immortalized in an English language film starring the Puerto Rican-American Jennifer Lopez.


Mexico in the American imagination is either a play land or warzone, not a place where people live and work. Americans who visit Mexico on cruise ships and spring break also get an incomplete picture. Outside of the resorts and beaches, many real Mexicans live in conditions unseen by casual tourists. If we don’t try to understand Mexico beyond Taco Bell and Cancun, and the only exposure we have to Mexicans and Mexico is through our stereotypes, we’ll continue to treat our southern neighbor as an offensive caricature.


With drug related violence crossing the border, and the never ending debate about immigration, we really need to know what were talking about when we deal with Mexico. It’s not just that America owes it to Mexico to better understand it (we do), it’s also that we owe it to ourselves.

 

 
 

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Bloody Xinjiang and Chinese Censorship

We called this week’s upcoming Global Pulse episode Uighur vs Han: China’s West Side Story, because it documents the “rumble” between Uighurs, the Turkic Ethnic minority of western China, and Han Chinese who have flooded into the region in recent years.

With our blogger Patrick Hazelton off this week, we point you to China Digital Times, an excellent source of news about China, to keep up with the situation. See especially this “Government Order to Filter Search Results”, which includes these black listed phrases:

 

“Bloody Xinjiang” “Xinjiang Blood”, “Xinjiang race massacre”

“Xinjiang Han Chinese, miserable” “Xinjiang Han Chinese, miserable position”

“Han and Uighur cannot live under the same sky” “Han and Uighur dogs cannot live under the same sky” “Han and Xinjiang people cannot live under the same sky”

 

And much more.

Evelyn Messinger
Series Producer

 

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Will international law save or scuttle the peace in Sudan?

This week, Global Pulse is covering the controversy surrounding last week's International Criminal Court decision to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Human rights activists hope the court's action, the first against a sitting head of state, will end the bloodshed that has flared in Darfur since 2003. But many Sudan watchers worry that the warrant could set off further tensions, including a resurgence of a decades-long, north-south civil war.

 

The Christian Science Monitor examines how Sudan's move this week to expel 13 international aid groups cuts Darfur's humanitarian effort in half, placing over 1 million people at risk for starvation. Likewise, BBC News predicts that rising desperation in Darfur could trigger renewed conflict in south Sudan, where rebel groups have long sought political recognition from the Sudanese government.

 

Meanwhile, guest columnists at the Huffington Post and the Washington Post call on the Obama administration to use the ICC warrant as justification for a stepped-up military campaign in Sudan. Today's kidnapping of 3 Doctors Without Borders workers in Darfur may further stoke the fire of the military interventionists.

 

Should the international community enforce ICC wishes and arrest Bashir, even if by military means? Or will enforcement of the court's wishes only lead to further humanitarian catastrophe?

 
 

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