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America the Paranoid

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الموضوع: America the Paranoid

  1. #1
    أستاذ بارز الصورة الرمزية د. محمد اسحق الريفي
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05/06/2007
    المشاركات
    5,279
    معدل تقييم المستوى
    20

    افتراضي America the Paranoid

    Volume 1, Issue 12 - May 12th - 25th, 2004

    America the Paranoid
    by Mohamed I. Riffi
    Fulbright Scholar

    The following is a personal letter to the Eau Claire community and to America from Mohamed I. Riffi, a Fulbright Scholar and professor of statistics at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. This submission is a first-hand account of how impersonal and unjust some American authorities have become.

    On behalf of The Flip Side and the Eau Claire community, our gratitude and good wishes go out in appreciation of his pursuit of knowledge and his quest for higher understanding in international relations.

    Come back soon. America has lost face and merit because of the poor actions of a few.

    Sincerely,
    The Staff of The Flip Side

    My name is Mohamed I. Riffi, an associate professor of mathematics at the Islamic University of Gaza. I got my MS degree in 1985 in mathematical statistics from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. I also got my PhD degree in probability theory in 1993 from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. My academic life is full of creative and productive academic achievement in mathematics and statistics. I also was the director of many projects related to e-learning, computer based learning, web based learning, etc. My great goal was always to improve the academic environment and the teaching/learning process in our universities. I was successful in obtaining fund from many local and international institutions and organizations. Quakers (the American Friends) was one of these organizations, where I got funding for three projects.

    I was very eager to visit one of the US universities to investigate the use of technology as teaching and searching tool. I applied to the very competitive Fulbright Fellowship in order to accomplish my goals. It took me one year to prepare for such a fellowship. I spend four months and huge efforts to obtain a visa to the USA. I first tried to get one from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Due to the extremely tight security measures, there was no chance to make the personal interview there. Then I had to apply for a visa to Egypt. I then was able to apply for the visa and make the personal interview in the American Embassy in Cairo. After a couple of weeks, the embassy asked me to send them my passport to stamp the J-1 visa. It took me another month to get my passport back due to a strike in Israel at that time.

    I was lucky to spend my sabbatical year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with my academic associate Professor Mohamed Elgindi who was very helpful to me in many aspects. I arrived to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for this mission on November 19, 2003. The Chairman of the Math Department, Professor Andrew Balas, gave me a great chance to teach a statistics course to the UWEC students as a way of using and investigating the available technology at UWEC. At the same time, I worked with Professor Simei Tong on some probability and functional analysis topics.

    I also spent most of my time designing online statistics lecture notes on the virtual learning environment and course management system Desire2Learn. According to my students, the notes were very helpful to them and the students from other sections.

    My wife and kids missed me very much. I shared the feeling. My plan was to make a short visit to Gaza in March 2004, but I did not have a chance to do so as I was teaching. My family insisted that I visit them as soon as possible, so I decided to make a visit in early April.

    The trip was very hard, as I arrived in Gaza after about forty-three hours of restless traveling. After two weeks, I decided to go back to Eau Claire to finish my research project on time. I was not feeling well about leaving my family so early, but according to the Fulbright scholarship contract, I was required to stay for two more months at UWEC or any other US university to complete my research project and write my final report. Unfortunately, the INS* refused to let me re-enter the USA. There was no reason (at least to me) for the INS to refuse.

    However, I started my return trip to US from Gaza on April 19. I arrived to Cairo, 500 km away from Gaza, after 18 hours. The reason is the Israeli and Egyptian checkpoints. You cannot imagine how much terrible it is to pass these checkpoints, especially the Israeli ones.

    Then I spent 10 hours waiting in the Cairo airport, where the Egyptians usually hold the Palestinians under the age of 50 years in the airport without allowing them to go to a hotel or anywhere else in Cairo. There was no chance to eat or sleep in the airport. The room was so dirty and crowded with Palestinians. The bugs and cockroaches are moving everywhere in that room. Most of the few seats in that room are broken and worn out. The walls of the room are full of graffiti in Arabic and English. The police officers keep their eye on everyone so that none of the passengers leave the room. They sell tea and some sandwiches to the detainees. The only thing that I could buy was a cup of hot tea. You cannot guarantee that the other food is not contaminated.

    In the morning of April 20, the Egyptians allowed me to go to the departure gate on time. A police officer accompanied me to the gate. There was a one-hour delay for some reasons that airplane captain was not aware of. He told the passengers that the Egyptian security men did not give him permission to take off or leave the gate. I arrived to Paris after four and a half hours. There was no time to take any rest in the airport in Paris. I had to run in order to catch the second flight to Atlanta, Georgia. I hardly could arrive to the gate after 30 minutes of boarding

    I arrived to Atlanta after exactly nine hours and sixteen minutes. I was extremely tired, but I was happy to arrive to Atlanta since there was supposed to be just a few hours of traveling to Minneapolis where a friend of mine who is a UWEC senior student was waiting for me to pick me to Eau Claire. I was hoping to call my wife to tell her that I arrived safely. Unfortunately, the INS shocked me by telling me, I have to go my way back to Cairo. I asked them give me a chance to talk to the officer, but they refused. They told me that I did not inform them of leaving to Gaza on my first trip. However, that was not true at all. I met the INS staff in the Cincinnati airport. They checked my passport and took my I-94 form. They interviewed me and asked me many questions. Then they said, leave the country.

    I told INS police officers at Atlanta that I am a Fulbright Visiting Scholar doing research and teaching at UWEC. They were making jokes about me, as they could not believe that I am a professor. They threatened me of keeping me in the airport for about a month if I went to complain or refused to leave on my own. Then, as being so scared, I told them to use my ticket and let me go to Gaza as soon as possible without complaining or objecting. They forced me to sign on a sheet which states that I have chosen to leave by myself and without being forced to do so by the INS staff at the Atlanta airport.

    They detained me for about 3 hours in a cell that you will never imagine how dirty and terrible it is. The cell has a bathroom cabinet without any walls to hide the cabinet from the other people who are on the room. The police officer forced me to take of my belt and shoes before entering that cell. There were people from Portugal, Guatemala, and Mexico in that cell. The police officers did not allow me to drink water or go to a regular rest room. It was so horrible to be in that situation. I could not believe what was happening. I thought that they were going to kill me or take me to their jail in Cuba. I also thought that it was not the USA, but a third world country. One of the detainees told me that he was in that cell for eight hours. Another said he was there for ten hours. That thing frightened me a lot. Thanks to God, they took me to the flight gate after about 3 hours of terrorizing me.

    I had to take my way back to Paris. Then I had to struggle with the French authorities to allow me change my ticket and leave to Cairo. The French police officers asked me for the reason of the deportation from the USA. Then, they tried their best to book me the soonest flight to Egypt. They took me after about an hour in their police car to the other terminal (2E). The two officers asked me to run to catch the flight on time. I was almost dead at that time, but there was no option for me. I had to run with the two police officers. They accompanied me to the last seat in the plane.

    I have faced many difficulties in Cairo, as well. Then I had to go through the Israeli checkpoint in Raffah. Thanks so much to God, I finally arrived to my home after eighty hours of continuous restless traveling without any sleeping. I found my wife crying because she was expecting me to give her a call from Atlanta or Minneapolis. My son, Omar, wrote me an e-mail message to remind me to call them soon. However, they were very happy to see me at the door. I also forget all the bitterness the moment I saw my 9 months old baby.

    Now, I am suffering from many health and psychological problems and complications. I have pain in my neck, shoulders, and back. Now, I am spending all of my time sleeping or sitting in my home. I do not like to meet people or talk to them. I feel that humans can be very terrible. They can be just like machines without any values or feelings. We are living in a very bad world. There is no freedom or justice in our world at all.

    The main purpose of the Fulbright scholarship is to fortify mutual understanding between the American people and the others. Now, I do not know what kind of mutual understanding to achieve this way. I have been in Athens, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois for more than 7 years. I never did any wrong thing during that time. I also did my best to be very nice with everyone in Eau Claire. I was very successful in research and teaching at UWEC. I published two papers. I also gave a talk at UWEC. I have received a poster from my students in the statistics class indicating how successful I was. I could inspire many of my students to like statistics and respect people from other cultures.

    Now, I do not care about not being allowed to re-enter the USA. I do not care about my clothes and belongings that were left in Eau Claire. I do not care about the money I lost during this trip, but I hate the way the INS staff was dealing with me. I hate their atrocity and brutality. I am sure, though, that most of the Americans have great human values. I was always talking about how nice and friendly they are.

    The Fulbright people were very sorry to hear about that. They wanted me to try again, but I told them that this would never happen unless they guarantee that the INS staff admits me to the USA. I am enjoying living in Gaza. I will stay in Gaza for the rest of my life serving our students and people. I can be of great help to my own people.

    I hope that the American people who like peace can be more effective and change the world to a better one, where all people of the Earth live in peace and harmony. The environment, peace, human values, justice, freedom, democracy, etc. are more important than economy. I hope that they care about their government's foreign policies. I hope that they dare to speak up and criticize their government if they feel that there is some thing wrong. I will dedicate the rest of my life to the international mutual understanding, the world peace, and to the Palestinian cause.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any question regarding this matter.

    Thanks for your time.

    Best Regards,
    Mohamed I. Riffi

    *(The department formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Services, renamed US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 1st. –ed)


    نقره لتكبير أو تصغير الصورة ونقرتين لعرض الصورة في صفحة مستقلة بحجمها الطبيعي

    .
    .

    إنما الأعمال بالنيات

  2. #2
    عـضــو الصورة الرمزية حاتم قويدر
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05/12/2007
    المشاركات
    202
    معدل تقييم المستوى
    15

    افتراضي رد: America the Paranoid

    يفضل بقاء رسالة الاستاذ مفتوحة لتسهيل الوصول اليها..وعدم المزاحمة

    التعديل الأخير تم بواسطة حاتم قويدر ; 06/10/2009 الساعة 10:13 AM سبب آخر: وجهة نظر
    عندما يصطدم الواقع بالامل، تنفجر العاطفه فتهب رياح الثورة لاطفاء نار الواقع وتدميره بحثا عن طريق الامل من تحت انقاض الواقع..
    حـاتـم قـويـدر

  3. #3
    أستاذ بارز الصورة الرمزية د. محمد اسحق الريفي
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05/06/2007
    المشاركات
    5,279
    معدل تقييم المستوى
    20

    افتراضي رد: America the Paranoid

    أخي الفاضل الأستاذ حاتم قويدر،

    أشكرك جزيلا على مرورك الكريم ومداخلتك الكريمة هذه والتي سبقتها باللغة الإنغليزية.

    تحياتي وتقديري


    نقره لتكبير أو تصغير الصورة ونقرتين لعرض الصورة في صفحة مستقلة بحجمها الطبيعي

    .
    .

    إنما الأعمال بالنيات

  4. #4
    أستاذ بارز الصورة الرمزية د. محمد اسحق الريفي
    تاريخ التسجيل
    05/06/2007
    المشاركات
    5,279
    معدل تقييم المستوى
    20

    افتراضي رد: America the Paranoid

    أخي الفاضل الأستاذ حاتم قويدر،

    أشكرك جزيلا على مرورك الكريم ومداخلتك الكريمة هذه والتي سبقتها باللغة الإنغليزية.

    تحياتي وتقديري


    نقره لتكبير أو تصغير الصورة ونقرتين لعرض الصورة في صفحة مستقلة بحجمها الطبيعي

    .
    .

    إنما الأعمال بالنيات

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