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May 2001, Week 1


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Reagan Ross <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 7 May 2001 12:25:07 -0400
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Okay perhaps I was a bit hasty in my reaction to Daryl's email; if as Shari
has conveyed Mr. Panahi needed a visa despite what others sources told him
(sources I would think would be knowledgeable in this matter), and that
because he didn't have one, procedure dictated fingerprinting and
photographying, then perhaps Mr. Panahi's position is less clear than I
thought. Moreover it may be that he was trying to use his position to get
special treatment, though I think his refusal could be attributed to
cultural factors (is this how they process internationals in Iran?),
including the very sensitive situation that still very much exists between
Iran and the US, i.e. Americans distrust of Iranians (and Middle Easterners
in general, another misconception, i.e. lumping all Middle Eastern
countries together) and Iranians distrust of Americans. That alone it seems
to me would suggest a more sensitive handling of such a situation.

And, in any case, whether this is the norm or not, whether others have
experienced this type of abuse in other countries or not, whether the INS
are overworked and underpaid, none of this it seems to me excuses the
excessive actions taken, and indeed, if this is INS policy, I think it
should be changed (not necessarily the fingerprinting and photographying
but the treatment they apparentlyl espouse). I find it a bit appalling that
we just take this kind of treatment for granted. Perhaps that is why the
country in general seems so apathetic to the extreme use of force or other
coercive tactics by law enforcement agencies in other areas, and here I am
thinking of minorities in our country, particularly African Americans, the
past and current treatment of illegal immigrants, and the recent incidences
of abuse to protesters (Seattle, Philadelphia, Costa Rica, etc.; and I am
not referring to the rabid radical types).

And I would add here that I think at the very least Shari and Daryl are
being a bit shortsighted to at least not consider that race was a factor
here (would someone from Britain or France have been treated this
shabbily?), especially in light of the indiscretions I mentioned above
(racial profiling, beating immigrants that cross over, etc.). Further it
seems in general that the INS would be a little more sensitive to
international guests considering how our own reputation abroad is less than
stellar, registering from distrust and distaste to outright disdain.


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