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Peace & Life Connections Index

#458 Sri Lanka & Yemen, Immigration & Eugenics

Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Yemen We’re horrified by reports of massacres once again, this time by the Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka. This country had a series of civil wars, 26 years and over 100,000 deaths. The hope that war ended in 2009 is dashed – as is common in the aftermath of wars. The model of using bombs continues to be followed. Even individual criminal homicides tend to go up as a result of wars. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.N Assistance Mission documented 581 civilians killed in the first quarter of 2019 by U.S. & Afghan forces. The Taliban added many more - but not quite as many. Several news outlets reported this. Yet in Yemen, while massacres are happening every day, we don’t hear much about them because they’re not reported. This is what war causes: the bloodshed becomes so common that, unlike individual incidents, it isn’t reported much anymore.

Left: Sri Lanka off coast of India; Middle: Afghanistan;

Right: Yemen on southern tip of Arabian Peninsula

But there’s some good news and a chance for action: The U.S. Congress passed a bill to stop the U.S. from providing fuel (literally) for the war inflicted on Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition. Trump vetoed the bill. The original yes vote was 57 in the U.S. Senate, not enough to override the veto. For our U.S. readers, it’s time to write and call your Senators!

Roots of Anti-Immigrant Hostility

There has been some discussion in the news that the abhorrent family separation policy might again rear its ugly head, and other discussion that this isn’t in the works. The situation was never actually resolved acceptably, as many children are still separated. It’s worth a quick review of history to see how this appalling practice could ever have arisen at all. Throughout the first part of U.S. history, immigrants simply came. Limits started in the 1880s, but the heaviest impact came with The Immigration Restriction Act of 1924. The most persuasive lobbyist? Prominent eugenics advocate Harry Laughlin (pictured). He testified that new immigrants had “all types of social inadequacy” – the “feeblemindedness, “insanity,” and criminality commonly mentioned in eugenic attacks. For more, see a short explanation or a more documented set of links. While both abortion expansion and immigration restriction also had other causes, they do share this as one of their root causes: promotion of eugenics. Eugenics is the judging of people as genetically superior or inferior, and using these judgments to justify taking actions to reduce the “inferior.” We have several good blog posts on eugenics, its history, and its connection to racism, classism, bigotry against those with disabilities, abortion and euthanasia.

Latest CLN Blog Post This week we have Part 2 of "When Linking Abortion with Other Violence Comes Naturally to Pro-lifers." While Part 1 focused on quotations making the case that opposing abortion is important to stopping other kinds of violence, Part 2 focuses on the reverse: why opposing other forms of violence helps strengthen the case against abortion.

Quotation of the Week Jim Kelly, Professor Emeritus, Fordham University The Liberal Origins of the Pro-life Movement Immediately following Roe the first anti-abortion college group, The National Youth Pro-Life Coalition, linked oppositions to the Vietnam War and to abortion: “The coalition is deeply concerned that our contemporary society is not consistent in its respect for human life” and challenged those who were “antiabortion, pro-war and pro-capital punishment to moral consistency because true conservatism should involve a willingness to “conserve” all human life.

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