Lam, Andrew

Andrew Lam writes for New America Media and is the author of East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.

When Did Immigrants Become the Enemy?

By Andrew Lam
New America Media

Recently, in front a packed crowd at Duke University, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice regretted the failure of passing the comprehensive immigration reform act and the shift in Americans’ attitude toward immigrants.

Accepting and welcoming immigrants “has been at the core of our strength,” she said. “I don’t know when immigrants became the enemy.”

These days it is refreshing, if rare, to hear someone of Rice’s stature to speak on behalf of immigrants. Over the last few years the public discourse has been shrill and, if anything, media coverage seems to stoke anxiety to an unprecedented level.

Instead of a larger narrative on immigration—from culture to economics, from identity to history— what we have now is a public mindset of us versus them, and an overall anti immigrant climate that is both troubling and morally reprehensible.

America’s Difficult Love Story

Iraq’s Unfinished Story—Millions of Refugees Abandoned by U.S.

By Andrew Lam
New America Media

Each time Uncle Sam ventures abroad he leaves an unfinished story, and nowhere is it most unfinished than the story of Iraq, where despite flowery speeches regarding freedom and sovereignty by the Obama administration, despite assurances that tyranny has been "cast aside," the tragedy caused by the United States invasion, occupation and inevitable abandonment is on an epic proportion.

Never mind that sectarian violence continues unabated and much of the populace remains mired in poverty, and that there's a distinct possibility that the country is on its way to becoming a failed state if the Sunnis and Shiites cannot find a way to collectively govern.

Forgetting the Iraq War

By Andrew Lam
New America Media

American wars used to end decisively. When Americans came back from defeating the Germans after World War II, there were ticker-tape parades. When the last U.S. helicopter lifted off from Saigon, Vietnam on April 30, 1975, the image seared deep into the American psyche; it spelled an ignominious end.

For the first time in its history, America had been defeated. Its ally, South Vietnam, fell to communist hands. Several generations grappled with their nation’s foreign policies and the meaning of such “hell in a small place,” reexamining their role in the war, whether as participants and supporters, or dissenters and protesters. Vietnam changed the nation’s outlook on the world and its place in it. Since then we have been trying to kick the Vietnam syndrome. We have been searching for victory.

Fast forward to Dec 15, 2011.

Does America’s Fortune Ride on Two Numbers? - 9/11 and 99:1

By Andrew Lam
New America Media

Numerologists and The History Channel, known for its occult versions of world events, will have their heyday with two digits that, when arranged in certain sequence, foretold the fortunes of America. They are 9/11, of course, and now, 99:1.

The former entered American psyche like a bullet a decade ago, sinking so deeply into our collective wound that the evocation of its memories – exploding planes and falling glass towers, a fabled city shrouded in soot and dust, crushed bodies and a hole in the ground -- spurred two costly wars overseas. Indeed, some historians propose that 9/11 drove the American empire onto the path of self-destruction; the most powerful country on earth a decade later found itself teetering at the edge of an economic abyss as a direct result.

Nine. One. One. 9/11. Emergency. Crisis. Sorrow. War. Mistakes. Recession. The Lost Decade.

Abandon All Rights Ye Who Enter Airports

By Andrew Lam

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” so goes the phrase inscribed on the gate of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Replace “hope” with “rights” and that phrase seems oddly apropos for the entrance to all American airports these days.

Indeed, since 9/11 the dust from those destroyed Twin Towers in New York City continue to form a cloud of suspicion, blanketing the country. Nearly a decade has passed and Americans have grown used to being on the permanent lookout for terror. We have learned to report folks who wear garbs in certain ways, who behave a little differently on the plane. Even famous journalist Juan Williams admits on Fox television to being “nervous” and “worried” with those who “are in Muslim garb.”