Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thank you notes and deportations

Today I got two thank you notes in my e-mail. The first one was from a student that asked me for assistance on researching deported peoples in the USSR. I sent him an 11 page bibliography to start off. Unfortunately, I have not been able to come up with the next step to help this student. On the off chance that one of my few readers might be able to help in this matter I am going to throw out what I need right here. The student will be going to Uzbekistan soon and would like to meet with a representative of the Crimean Tatar community there. At one time I thought I had the contact details for Ali Hanzim in Yangiyul, but I can not find anything in my files. So if anybody has a contact among the Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan that would be willing to talk to this student, please let me know. The student speaks Russian.

The other thank you note I got was from Vladimir German and his family. I wrote a report on the history of persecution of Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan that helped win them political asylum after DHS initially denied their claim. They denied the claim after the family had been in the US for 13 years with a pending application. During that time they learned English, held jobs, never violated US law and purchased a house. Had they been sent back they would have faced official discrimination for being descended from German immigrants to the Russian Empire and hence not ethnic Kazakhs. The two children for instance would have certainly been denied university education had they been deported. My Ph.D. did not give me any more knowledge than I probably would have had already. But, it did give me credibility with the judge and helped save four people from being sent back to a place that had done nothing to make itself inclusive of its German minority and much to make them second class citizens. So even if I never get an academic job I can always say that my degree helped save four very nice people from deportation to Kazakhstan and the misery it would have entailed. That puts me four people above all the hypocritical "anti-racist" academics who have never saved anybody from racial discrimination in their life.

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