Ralph McPeek y Amanda Villatoro en San Francisco en 1947Credit...Marcos Villatoro

Cuando era niño, guardaba fotografías de mis padres en una caja de zapatos vieja y rota. A menudo contemplaba las imágenes donde posaban con la Harley Davidson Knucklehead 1947 de mi papá e intentaba imaginar cómo eran sus vidas antes de que yo naciera. Me preguntaba cómo había sido para un hombre blanco de los Apalaches y una mujer salvadoreña andar en motocicleta por todo Estados Unidos en los años de la posguerra. ¿Cómo había perdurado su amor en una época en la que muchos estadounidenses eran hostiles al matrimonio interracial?

Mi padre, Ralph, se unió a la Marina en 1942.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por qué la pluralidad de visiones

Durante gran parte de 2019, los medios noticiosos y las redes sociales se han llenado de imágenes de bosques en llamas y paisajes calcinados y estériles, casas destruidas y gente desplazada. Las imágenes de las selvas quemándose en Brasil y otros lugares han dado pie a potentes emociones y provocado reacciones en todo el mundo, dando un atisbo de las muchas maneras en que la humanidad ve y valora la naturaleza. Solo podremos lograr un futuro sostenible para nuestro planeta si las autoridades entienden y toman en cuenta esta pluralidad de visiones.

Como señala la Plataforma intergubernamental científico-normativa sobre diversidad biológica y servicios de los ecosistemas (IPBES) en su reciente Informe de evaluación global, “la naturaleza es esencial para la existencia y una buena calidad de vida de los seres humanos”.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an ideal Indonesia, a Papuan man would live in Jakarta and become a civil servant. He would marry a Padang woman from western Indonesia. They would open a small restaurant and hire a young Sundanese woman. Their customers would be a mix of Javanese, Betawi and other ethnic groups.

This was the scenario of a TV sitcom, “Minus Family,” that aired a few years ago, for which I was a head writer. The show tried to tap Indonesia’s obsession with diversity and harmony, which is encapsulated in the state motto, “We are all different but we are one.” An obsession with diversity and harmony that, in reality, often ends in violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘For all the talk of a pan-European debate, elections to the EU parliament tend to be a collection of national electoral competitions fought on mostly national issues.’ European parliament, Brussels. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/EPA

If we were a country, we would be more populous than the Netherlands or Belgium and only slightly smaller than Romania. As such, we would be entitled to elect up to 26 members of the European parliament next month. In reality, though, we aren’t a country and have no real political representatives.

Who are we? We’re the 17 million EU citizens who live in another member state of the union (including the 3.7 million living in the UK). In the last decade we have doubled in number and today represent 4% of the EU working-age population. This may seem small in comparison with the US, where 41% of its citizens live in a state other than the one of their birth – but it is still an unprecedented figure in the history of the continent.…  Seguir leyendo »

En un mundo de hombres, la pitufina es la única mujer. Ellos son la norma, ella es el retoque. Ellos definen a la comunidad, su historia y su código de valores. Ella sólo existe en el marco que ellos decidan, tiene un papel simbólico, el de realzar los estereotipos establecidos por ellos. Así es en los dibujos animados, así es muchas veces en el cine, y así también es en la vida real, cuando se trata de definir los rasgos de la comunidad. Lo hemos visto en Nueva Zelanda.

Sí. En un gesto de solidaridad con las víctimas del sangriento ataque contra los creyentes de la mezquita de Christchurch, las mujeres libres de Nueva Zelanda decidieron acicalarse y cubrir su melena con un velo.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Friday, terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left 49 dead and scores more wounded. The attack, reportedly by an Australian shooter, has cast a spotlight on the global scope of white supremacist rhetoric and violence. The shooter left behind a manifesto riddled with the language of modern white nationalism, and wrote that he chose to commit this horror in New Zealand to show that “nowhere in the world is safe.”

As news continues to emerge about the attacker, many have focused on how the shooter may have been inspired by white nationalist rhetoric from other countries, including the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ethiopian army soldiers controlled protestors from the capital and those displaced by ethnic-based violence over the weekend in Burayu, as they demonstrated demanding justice from the government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last September.CreditMulugeta Ayene/Associated Press

Abiy Ahmed, the 42-year-old prime minister of Ethiopia, has dazzled Africa with a volley of political reforms since his appointment in April. Mr. Abiy ended the 20-year border war with Eritrea, released political prisoners, removed bans on dissident groups and allowed their members to return from exile, declared press freedom and granted diverse political groups the freedom to mobilize and organize.

Mr. Abiy has been celebrated as a reformer, but his transformative politics has come up against ethnic federalism enshrined in Ethiopia’s Constitution. The resulting clash threatens to exacerbate competitive ethnic politics further and push the country toward an interethnic conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this photo taken on 7 October 2018 Cameroon's incumbent President Paul Biya looks on as he votes at the polling station in Bastos neighbourhood in the capital Yaounde during Cameroon's presidential election. ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP

On 22 October Cameroonian authorities declared incumbent Paul Biya winner of the presidential election with a score of 71 per cent. What happened?

The presidential election was held amid the worst insecurity since 1992. In the Far North, Boko Haram continues small scale attacks, and the fallout from nearly five years of conflict continues with 240,000 currently displaced. Violence by armed groups from the Central African Republic is affecting the East. In the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions, a growing insurgency has seen almost daily fighting with security forces.

On the day of the vote, no major security incident was reported in Francophone areas, where about 55 per cent of registered voters cast ballots.…  Seguir leyendo »

Campaign posters in Stockholm this week. Sweden will hold elections on Sunday.CreditCreditJonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

To understand why Sweden, a bastion of social democracy, might end up with a far-right party in government after national elections on Sunday, you need to take a walk with Ahmed Abdirahman.

An American-educated Somali immigrant who works as a policy analyst at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Abdirahman grew up and now lives in the suburb of Rinkeby-Tensta, where some 90 percent of residents have a foreign background, roughly 80 percent live on welfare or earn low incomes and 42 percent are under age 25. It is a violent place: Sixteen people were killed there in 2016, mostly in drug-related conflicts, an unheard-of number in this typically peaceful country.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators placed a Palestinian flag on top of a house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during clashes with Israeli security forces in January.CreditCreditAbbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the seven decades of its independence, Israel has developed a unique model of statehood. This model can be understood in various ways, and these have evolved over the years, but any description of it always comes back to two terms: Jewish and democratic.

There is no consensus on what it means for a state to be a “Jewish state,” partly because only one state has ever made such a claim. At the same time, there is no practical consensus on what it means for a state to be “democratic”: Many have put the word — knowing it false — in their official names.…  Seguir leyendo »

Would My Family Pass an ‘Australian Values Test’

When I was growing up, there were times when my corner of Sydney did not feel all that Australian.

As newly arrived immigrants, my family got our start sharing the house of a Korean minister in Campsie, a working-class suburb with a large immigrant population. My parents set up their businesses in Eastwood and Chatswood, and served a predominantly Asian client base. On weekends, we shared the table with Korean friends and sang Korean hymns at church.

This was a fact that I, with a teenager’s allergy to outsiderness, resented. I measured our successful integration as migrants by our proximity and resemblance to the majority of Australians — and by this measure, we were failing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tatiana Fernández The border gate on the bridge between Ouanaminthe, Haiti, and Dajabón, Dominican Republic

Women and men press against the barbed-wire gate, waiting for the guards to let them in. Twice a week, the border crossing opens so that Haitians can get access without a visa to a market located on Dominican land in the northern city of Dajabón, just a short walk from the crossing point.

Behind the crowd at the gate, a loud procession is making its way along the Massacre River (so named for the 1728 killing of a group of French buccaneers by Spanish settlers) that separates Haiti and the Dominican Republic before crossing a short bridge that connects the two countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

The “beautiful game” has been revealing many ugly truths about racism and identity in Europe.

In the aftermath of the World Cup, the French and German national soccer teams have found themselves at the center of a renewed debate about race, assimilation and national identity that has highlighted the precarious position that many nonwhite immigrants and first-generation people find themselves in while living in the West.

On Sunday, the player Mesut Ozil announced in a series of powerful and pained social media posts that he was quitting the German national team due to racism and mistreatment from the German media, sponsors and the German Football Association (DFB).…  Seguir leyendo »

Es realmente redondo este balón

Lo confieso, no siento por el fútbol ninguna pasión especial; apenas conozco las reglas y hasta evitaba practicarlo en el patio de mi escuela elemental. Al hilo de este Mundial, que la selección de Francia ha ganado en Moscú, me vuelve a la memoria el recuerdo del único partido al que he asistido en mi vida. Fue en el Mundial de Seúl en 2002, al que me invitó el presidente coreano, Kim Dae Jung, que quería agradecerme que le hubiera visitado en su celda cuando era un preso político. Aquel día me encontraba sentado a su lado, en la tribuna de honor, para asistir al partido inaugural, que enfrentaba a Francia y Senegal.…  Seguir leyendo »

An image of the French forward Kylian Mbappé was projected on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris at a celebration of France’s victory in the Russia 2018 World Cup on Sunday.CreditGerard Julien/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“I think allowing millions and millions of people to come to Europe is very, very sad,” President Trump said during his current good-will tour of the Continent. “I think you are losing your culture.”

Mr. Trump, meet Kylian Mbappé, the 19-year-old breakout star of France’s newly crowned World Cup soccer champions. The son of an Algerian mother and Cameroonian father, Mbappé is emblematic of a team of immigrants — 16 of its 23 players are from families recently arrived in France. They’ve just made an entire nation very, very glad of its diversity — at least for one day.

Brazilians, Argentines, Italians and Germans may object, but France can now lay claim to being master of the beautiful game.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters demanding that China respect human rights in its Xinjiang region and release members of the Uighur minority detained in so-called re-education centers there, in Brussels in April.CreditEmmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What does it take to intern half a million members of one ethnic group in just a year? Enormous resources and elaborate organization, but the Chinese authorities aren’t stingy. Vast swathes of the Uighur population in China’s western region of Xinjiang — as well as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic minorities — are being detained to undergo what the state calls “transformation through education.” Many tens of thousands of them have been locked up in new thought-control camps with barbed wire, bombproof surfaces, reinforced doors and guard rooms.

The Chinese authorities are cagey and evasive, if not downright dismissive, about reports concerning such camps.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrators with a picture of Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, killed by the Karachi police in January. Credit Rizwan Tabassum/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On Jan. 13, the police in Karachi, Pakistan, claimed to have killed four militants suspected of having links to the Islamic State. Rao Anwar, the officer leading the operation, said that the men had opened fire on the police and were killed in the gunfight.

Pictures of the dead circulated on social media and were broadcast on Pakistani television networks. Family members watching television news recognized one of the dead: Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, from Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the border with Afghanistan. He had been arrested by the police 10 days earlier.

Mr. Mehsud, who is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters, had worked various jobs in the city and recently decided to set up a clothing store with help from his brother.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras los pasos del Brexit y la elección de Donald Trump, con el autoritarismo legitimado por los votantes de Recep Tayyip Erdogan y Narendra Modi, así como con el rechazo de los gobiernos de Polonia y Hungría a los valores liberales y de los migrantes, el consenso es que hay una nueva ola nacionalista e intolerante arrasando el planeta.

Como siempre, debemos resistirnos a los instintos autoritarios que restringen nuestras libertades, demonizan a cualquiera que parezca diferente y —como está ocurriendo en Turquía— ilegalizan la libertad de expresión, la independencia judicial y el pluralismo. Debemos mantenernos firmes en la defensa de nuestros más queridos valores: los derechos de las mujeres y la libertad intelectual y de pensamiento.…  Seguir leyendo »

Australia thinks of itself as “the most successful multicultural society in the world” — to quote the oft-repeated phrase by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But now that claim is being challenged in so many ways, all at once, it seems.

For a start, there’s the current political crisis, based on a half-forgotten section of the constitution forbidding those who have dual citizenship from sitting in Parliament. So far, eight parliamentarians — including the deputy prime minister — have been thrown out of office for no greater crime than having a father who was born in New Zealander, a mother who was Italian, or some other similarly unlikely “allegiance to a foreign power.”…  Seguir leyendo »

En agosto pasado (ABC, 28-08-17) el político alemán Alexander Gauland, de AfD., denunciaba las declaraciones de una ministra de su país, Aydan Özoguz, de origen turco, que se había descolgado asegurando, tan tranquila, que «más allá de la lengua no hay una cultura alemana discernible». En Alemania se produjo gran escándalo… por atreverse alguien de un partido tildado de ultraderechista a protestar contra la patochada y el despego de tan encumbrada desagradecida y por las dimensiones del dislate, máxime viniendo de alguien con un alto cargo en el estado alemán. La rendición entreguista ante el multiculturalismo que no falte. No vaya alguien a pensar que se trata de una comunidad humana con dos mil años de historia y aportaciones monumentales en ciencias, literatura, filosofía, música, artes varias y etc.,…  Seguir leyendo »