Posts Tagged ‘usa’
We all know that the United States is a “nation of immigrants.” A melting pot, it’s been called. But it hasn’t been acting like much of a beacon of hope for some immigrants, lately.
Besides abuse of Mexicans at the border, it has been discriminatory in rejecting Haitian refugees in comparison to Cuban migrants, and let’s not start on its current treatment of Middle Eastern immigrants. Indefinite detainment, extraordinary rendition: the terms are now accepted additions to our national vocabulary.
But now America wants to wipe its slate clean — sort of. Facing a failing war on two fronts, the U.S. military is introducing a one-year pilot program to recruit immigrants who are legally in the country on temporary visas. If they join the army, they’ll be on a fast track to gain U.S. citizenship in as fast as six months
Pretty sweet deal, if you don’t mind joining an increasingly desperate and violent battle. Unless, of course, you’re one of 35 million Spanish speakers in the United States. They’re not accepting those at this time.
My friend Daniel Hernandez inspired this post with a recent Facebook profile picture of his. Fela Anikulapo Kuti is technically the original Black President. The Nigerian founder of Afrobeat is my favorite musician of all time and, in my opinion, one of the greatest. He used to say that one day he’d become Nigerian’s president — which was probably not a bad idea — and thus the “Black President.”
Not just a wickedly inventive singer, lyricist, and trumpet/sax player, Kuti was also an activist at a time in Nigeria when activists were usually brutally squashed. After releasing the album “Zombie,” whick attacked the blindly obedient and corrupt Nigerian army, his home in Lagos was raided by the military and his 82-year old mother was thrown out of a window.
Kuti eventually died from HIV/AIDS in 1997.
But whenever I leave the airport and drive into the kinetic madness that is Lagos, surrounded by hustling people, intoxicating music and food, and the thrilling sensation of being unsafe and comfortable all at once, I’m reminded by his home that he’ll always be the First Black President.
A clip of his excellent “Gentleman,” an entertaining comment on Nigerian middle-classers wearing Western clothing in a tropical climate: