The Alien and Sedition Acts: Congress passed the Patriot Act shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Did this law go too far in the name of national security?
A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Well, it is true we have had to seek refuge; but we committed no acts and most of us never dreamt of having any radical opinion. Before this war broke out we were even more sensitive about being called refugees.
We did our best to prove to other people that we were just ordinary immigrants. We wanted to rebuild our lives, that was all. So we are very optimistic. Our optimism, indeed, is admirable, even if we say so ourselves.
The story of our struggle has finally become known. We lost our home, which means the familiarity of daily life. We lost our occupation, which means the confidence that we are of some use in this world.
We lost our language, which means the naturalness of reactions, the simplicity of gestures, the unaffected expression of feelings.
We left our relatives in the Polish ghettos and our best friends have been killed in concentration camps, and that means the rupture of our private lives. Nevertheless, as soon as we were saved—and most of us had to be saved several times—we started our new lives and tried to follow as closely as possible all the good advice our saviors passed on to us.
We were told to forget; and we forgot quicker than anybody ever could imagine. In a friendly way we were reminded that the new country would become a new home; and after four weeks in France or six weeks in America, we pretended to be Frenchmen or Americans.
The most optimistic among us would even add that their whole former life had been passed in a kind of unconscious exile and only their new country now taught them what a home really looks like. It is true we sometimes raise objections when we are told to forget about our former work; and our former ideals are usually hard to throw over if our social standard is at stake.
With the language, however, we find no difficulties: In order to forget more efficiently we rather avoid any allusion to concentration or internment camps we experienced in nearly all European countries—it might be interpreted as pessimism or lack of confidence in the new homeland.
Besides, how often have we been told that nobody likes to listen to all that; hell is no longer a religious belief or a fantasy, but something as real as houses and stones and trees. Apparently nobody wants to know that contemporary history has created a new kind of human beings—the kind that are put in concentration camps by their foes and in internment camps by their friends.
Instead, we have found our own way of mastering an uncertain future. Since everybody plans and wishes and hopes, so do we. Apart from the general human attitudes, however, we try to clear up the future more scientifically.CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION Bill of Rights in Action Fall () National Security and Freedom.
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There is something powerfully raw and vivid about Hannah Arendt’s essay that came out in the midst of Europe’s darkness in the Second World War, before the worst horrors inflicted upon the Jews were fully unveiled. Originally published in January as “We Refugees” in a small Jewish journal called Menorah (shut down in ), .
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Most children in North America learn at an early age that the "Thirteen Colonies" revolted in and after eight long hard years won their independence with the Treaty of Paris in One evening over dinner, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called “Men Explain Things to Me.” Every writer has a stable of ideas that never make it to the racetrack, and I’d been trotting this pony out recreationally every once in a while.
Oct 05, · The Not So Patriotic Patriot Act On September 11, the United States was attacked by a terrorist group on our own soil. On October 26, the US Government signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA Patriot Act).