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Vol. 31, No.


Fieldwork Under Difficult Circumstances

2 Regime Change at Practicing Anthropology
Ronald Loewe and Jayne Howell

4 Living and Working in a War Zone: An Applied Anthropologist in Afghanistan

Patricia A. Omidian

12 Are You With the F.B.I.?: Fieldwork Challenges In A Post 9/11 Muslim-American Community
Tony Gaskew

18 Who Burned Down Our House This Time?: Ethnography & Conflict in Timor Leste
Patricia L. Delaney

24 Unstable Relocations: Meeting the Other in Kurdolato

Bruno Anili

29 Turbulence Within the Cuban Diaspora in South Florida

Indira Rampersad

35 We Find Ourselves in the Middle: Navajo Relocation and Relocatee-Host Conflicts

Orit Tamir
2 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Regime Change at
Practicing Anthropology
By Ron Loewe the Journal of American Folklore, the be evaluated individually. Finally, we
American Anthropologist, and Culture, strongly encourage submissions from
and Jayne Howell Medicine and Psychiatry. His mother, practicing anthropologists as well as
recently deceased, says all the articles are professors and students.
F or obvious reasons, I did not
want our first issue of Practicing
Anthropology to go to press on the
really good, but that he should learn the
difference between a colon and a semi-
We are also contemplating some
changes, but dont look for these in
colon. Hopefully, now that he is an editor, the first issue. One of the things we are
Ides of March, but the people who set he will. He is completing a book on na- considering is introducing a broader
production schedules are, undoubtedly, tionalism and identity in Yucatan entitled variety of submission categories: brief
less superstitious than cultural anthro- Making Mayas into Mestizos: National- comments on articles that were pub-
pologists, at least this one. Anyway, it ism, Modernity and its Discontents. lished in earlier issues; book, museum
is with a sense of optimism and a touch We should also mention that Krystal exhibit and film reviews; anthropologi-
of trepidation that Jayne Howell and Kittle, a graduate student of ours who cal humor, editorials/op-eds, or possibly
I release our first issue of Practicing is studying aging in the gay community a forum in which contemporary issues
Anthropology. We hope it is considered will be working with us. Krystal is a can be debated. These, hopefully, will
a good one, but please let us know what talented artist and musician as well as stimulate an ongoing dialogue between
you think by writing to our new address a good anthropologist, and will help us readers of Practicing Anthropology.
at copyedit the journal. In any case, we do not plan to shy
As our first order of business, we away from controversy. In light of
would like to thank the previous editors the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and
of Practicing Anthropology, Jeanne
Plans for Practicing Anthropology
the Human Terrain System, there is a
Simonelli and Bill Roberts for their renewed interest in ethics in anthropol-
Some things about Practicing An-
stewardship of the journal, for giving ogy. As we begin our turn as editors,
thropology will stay the same for the
us a quick tutorial in editing, and for Terry Turner, professor emeritus at the
foreseeable future. Practicing Anthro-
lending Kristen Gentke from Wake University of Chicago, has proposed
pology will remain an editor-reviewed,
Forest University to us for the time be- reinstating the language in the 1971
as opposed to a peer-reviewed, journal
ing. Jeanne and Bill, in our estimation, AAA statement of ethics that prohibited
and will continue to publish relatively
produced many interesting issues of PA, anthropologists from engaging in covert
short articles (3,500 words) on topics
and we hope we can adequately fill their research or withholding research find-
of general concern to anthropologists
shoes. In any event, it seems as though ings from the population from they were
inside and outside the academy. We
editors are generally appreciated about obtained. The Network of Concerned
are interested in receiving case studies
as much as IRS agents or bill collectors, Anthropologists (NCA) supports the
in medical anthropology, education,
so we need to stick together. resolution. Most members of the Na-
international development, tourism,
As our second order of business, we tional Association of Practicing Anthro-
business, etc., which address important
would like to provide brief introductions, pologists (NAPA) oppose it. Wouldnt
substantive, ethical or policy concerns
so our readers know who we are. Jayne this be an interesting issue to debate in
in the practice of anthropology. We
Howell joined the faculty at California the pages of Practicing Anthropology?
also invite submissions relating to
State University (Long Beach) in 1994.
anthropologically-oriented program
She is currently on sabbatical in Oaxaca,
Mexico, completing her book Rural
evaluation, social impact assessment, Fieldwork in Difficult Settings
and cultural resource management as
Girls, Urban Women on urban migration,
well as innovations in the teaching of While fieldwork has been fraught
schooling, and employment in this south-
anthropology. While articles do not with difficulty since the beginning of
eastern state. In addition to her research
require extensive citations, manuscripts modern anthropology, the present issue
on education, she has written about indig-
should discuss the methodology or highlights new difficulties which have
enous identity, US migration, domestic
methodologies employed and should emerged in the wake of the wars in Iraq
service and prostitution in Oaxaca, and
be well-grounded. We will continue the and Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and
domestic violence in the United States.
practice of publishing issues focusing the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab
Ron Loewe joined the CSULB faculty
on a particular theme (when we receive prejudice in the United States. In the
in 2006. He has published a number
good proposals), but, as is the case first article, for example, Patricia Omid-
of articles in small, effete journals like
with other journals, each article will ian, a medical anthropologist who has
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 3

lived and worked in Afghanistan for not insurmountable if one is open and hosts and newcomers. In this case,
seven years, discusses the need as well honest about his background. Kurdish immigrants not only found an
as the difficulty of maintaining a clear The article by Patricia Delaney, a economic niche in a community where
boundary between her work and that former Peace Corp worker who devel- native Italians were leaving in large
of the military. Omidians article also oped health education programs in East numbers, but are seen as an important
reminds us of the old adage that truth Timor, provides another example of social asset that can help the local com-
is the first casualty of war, especially the personal side of fieldwork during a munity maintain its vigor and evolve.
when the truth about negative maternal time of war. While most Americans are In a discussion of ethnic tension closer
health outcomes implicates the U.S. familiar with the atrocities carried out to home, Indira Rampersad discusses con-
military. Anyone who has followed the by Pol Pot in Cambodia, few Americans tinuity and change in the attitudes of Cu-
debate within anthropology about the are aware of the violence and famine ban-Americans toward the U.S. embargo
Human Terrain System (e.g., the use of that claimed the lives of an estimated as well as the Island nation itself. Through
anthropologists in military brigades) or 200,000 East Timorese, nor the role of an analysis of interviews with Cubans
the emerging discussion of the Minerva Indonesia and its US ally in this matter. living in the United States and Cuba, she
Research Initiative, a DOD grant pro- Delaneys poignant recollection of the notes the emotional toll that travel restric-
gram to promote social science research fear she felt for her former co-workers tions have had on many families as well
in strategic hotspots like the Mideast, and fictive kin after she returned to the as the growing political diversity within
will find this paper of interest. US, serves as a reminder that our ethical the Cuban-American community.
The paper by Tony Gaskew, a crimi- ties to the people we work with do not Finally, we close this issue on a
nologist working in a Muslim commu- end once we leave the field. happier note by including Orit Tamirs
nity in south Florida, shows that you do Bruno Anilis study of the peaceful paper of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute,
not have to leave the U.S. to run into coexistence between Italian hosts and a dispute which finally appears to have
some of the same problems: suspicion, Kurdish migrants who settled in the run its course after more than one hun-
mistrust and expulsion. However, as coastal community of Baldolato demon- dred years.
Gaskews piece demonstrates, even strates that immigration can sometimes
difficult obstacles to field research are have very positive outcomes for both Ron Loewe and Jayne Howell n

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4 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Living and Working in a War Zone:

An Applied Anthropologist in Afghanistan
By Patricia A. Omidian anthropology hold ourselves give us ac-
cess to and credibility in local commu-

U nited States military initiated a nities through specific examples from

program to hire social scientists, my work there, as a way to address the
and particularly anthropologists, for problems of militarized anthropology.
their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Action anthropology, as delineated
This paper is a discussion of action by Tax (1964) was an important con-
anthropology as it has unfolded for tribution to the development of anthro-
me in Afghanistan from 1998 to 2008 pology as a discipline. He advocated
and highlights examples from the field an approach that combined theory
between December 2001 and December with practicethat ones work should
2008. Through examples of my work as be practical as it advances theory and
an applied anthropologist in Afghani- that it helps solve local problems (Hill
stan I will show how the role of the an- 2000). Public anthropology holds a
thropologist must be kept separate from similar perspective of doing anthropol-
any armed actors in the field in order to ogy for the public good, and not just for
maintain ethical integrity, standards for the sake of an academic career (Purcell
proper research and the safety of those 2000). These approaches highlight the
who are studied and of those who carry need for applied anthropologists to
work collaboratively with local popula-
Patricia A. Omidian
out the studies.
tions to help them solve problems they
identify as important. The Afghans with
Introduction or emergency aid worker, unlike the
whom I worked identified responses to
violence as one of the critical problems soldier or other military personnel, must
This paper is a discussion of action depend on the largess and the protection
they wanted changed.
anthropology as it has unfolded for me of the local community. Militarized an-
As an anthropologist it was important
in a region of the world that went from thropology subverts our work and puts
for me to stay neutral in order to work;
obscurity to the center of the worlds us on an ethical slippery slope. It also
therefore, I never carried a weapon,
attention in 2001 when the World increases the danger to us as the local
nor did I allow my staff or surveyors
Trade Towers were destroyed in the people with whom we work find it dif-
to be armed. When working in areas of
United States. By that time I was firmly ficult to distinguish between combatants
high conflict, having weapons or armed
entrenched in Peshawar, Pakistan, and non-combatants, the soldiers and
guards can increase the level of risk to
where I worked with both Afghans1 and the civilian aid workersjeopardizing
myself and those with whom I work. It
Pakistanis and lived with an Afghan personal safety and development work,
sets up a power imbalance in the wrong
refugee family. When I started work- while increasing the likelihood of future
direction when doing fieldwork. In Af-
ing in the region in 1997 the US was violence.
ghanistan where tribal and or extended
not at war and Peshawar was a great
family relationships matter, using a
place to practice anthropology because
of issues around war, refugees and the
weapon to protect oneself can lead to a Without Guns: Living and Working
situation of subsequent retaliation. The In a War-Zone (2001-2006)
dominant culture of the tribal Pakh-
only person a gun protects in this kind
tuns. I traveled and conducted research
of situation is the person with the most After working with refugees in the
in Afghanistan from 1998 to 2001,
guns or the person who can garner the United States for 12 years, in 1997
before moving to Kabul, where I was
greater support from others. It also cre- I traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan on
based until January 2007. The data
ates a question among the beneficiaries a Fulbright Award. After completion
and experiences for this paper focus
of trust. of my Fulbright I remained in the
on the years (2001-2006) when I lived
Applied anthropologists struggle to region, sharing home and hearth with
and worked in Afghanistan and include
stay safe, build culturally appropriate an Afghan refugee family. During
insights I have gained on return trips
programs and to speak for those who this period I was employed through
(2007-2008). I will examine how
are without power or resources. The various consulting projects for interna-
the ethical guidelines to which we in
anthropologist, like the development tional non-governmental organizations
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 5

(INGOs) and UN agencies, conducting it was known as the best school that was important, the rebuilding of a
research and designing culturally appro- in the whole city. Now there is nation.
priate programs in both Afghanistan and no glass left in the windows and The biggest problem faced by the
Pakistan. I also traveled in Afghanistan children can fall through the holes residents of Kabul was where to house
under the Taliban, conducting participa- in the walls of the third floor. all the returning Afghans. International
tory trainings and research in a number aid workers can make do as I did, but
of areas, mostly in the rural central We worked hard each day and spent local residents needed permanent
highlands. Working in Afghanistan each evening traveling around the city housing. Kabul was destroyed, with
under the Taliban had many challenges viewing what was left of their collec- many areas flattened by the internecine
though safety was not one of them. For tive memories. The city of Kabul still conflict that followed the departure of
the most part, it did not feel like war had a ghostly feeling about it that first the Russians in 1989 and the collapse
because people seemed too frightened winter. There were few cars and almost of the Najib government in 1992. The
or disheartened to fight. no electricity. Yet, it was no longer the houses that remained were old, drafty
In 2001, I was working for an Af- silent city it had been under the oppres- and incredibly expensiveat over US
ghan NGO that had development proj- sive Taliban. $10,000 a month in an exclusive area
ects inside Afghanistan but was based The painful memories were contrast- of Kabul called Wazir Akbar Khan,
in Peshawar when the World Trade ed with the sheer energy and excitement where INGOs traditionally had their
Towers were blown up on September of post-Taliban life. For example, as we offices. I lived in the NGO office where
11. Within days I was evacuated and traveled to a Kabul market for curtain I worked; my bed was a cotton mat that
sent back to the US to wait. I was in fabric for our office, we were met by would be stored during the day and
touch with my colleagues in Peshawar many women covered head to foot in brought out at night and placed by my
as they waited for the US to begin the blue chadari (burqa) that became desk. Middle class people struggled for
bombing. At that time most Afghans the center of world attention under places to live but returnees and the poor
wanted the US and coalition forces Taliban. As I walked through the narrow had no options. Housing was scarce;
to come to Afghanistan and force the alleyways of the fabric market, women winter bitterly cold, summers hot and
Taliban out of their country. would come to me, pull the cloth of the dusty.
By Christmas, I had returned to the chadari back over their heads so that Before my Afghan family could
Peshawar and flew almost immediately I could see their wonderfully smiling return to their home in Kabul they had
to Kabul to join my colleagues there. I faces. Everyone shook my hand and to move the family that was there out
lived between Kabul and Peshawar for asked me to come home with them for and repair the place. This took most of
the next 4 months, until I moved out of tea. This was a middle class area and spring. I continued to live in my office
Pakistan and based myself in Kabul in the mood of the place was celebratory. until summer, when they arrived from
March 2002. I continued to live with Taliban had just left Kabul and Karzai Peshawarthe whole family, parents
the Afghan family from Peshawar when arrived in their place. Hope was high and six children. I felt like I had a home
they returned to their home near the and everyone was ready for change. In again. Their home was near the airport
airport in Kabul that summer. Over the these areas the chadari was gradually in an apartment complex that survived
course of the next two years I had the abandoned, to become a symbol of class the war. We lived another two years
opportunity to conduct health and liveli- and village connections. together before I moved into my own
hood surveys, as well as trainings in In December 2001 women, Afghan apartment. Adjustment was hard for all
survey methods and gender awareness and foreign, traveled throughout the of us in the early days. The children
in many areas of the country. city without a headscarf, but by the struggled with a school system that
That first winter in Kabul was unfor- spring 2002 it was clear that Kabul had was barely functioning, overcrowded
gettable as a time of great excitement, become a very conservative and ner- and corrupt. Electricity in Kabul came
hope and the sharing of bittersweet vous city. By the summer even the most regularly from March to July and
memories. I shared my colleagues determined women in my office asked then would fade to a 2-4 hour period
pain and joy of returning to Kabul me to wear a headscarf when I was in every third day in winter. Heating
after their years of exile: joy at return- public. Womens head covering became was a problem in winter and I think I
ing and the pain of seeing the nearly a topic of conversation at many expatri- never warmed up between November
complete destruction of most of city: ate gatherings. As the war increased in and March. We did not have adequate
miles of bombed out buildings with the south between the Americans and heating for the first two years. I wore
whole neighborhoods destroyed. One of opposition groups, there were enough several layers of clothing and a winter
my colleagues cried as he pointed at a anti-government actions in Kabul to coat indoors, adding gloves and boots
ruined three-story structure: keep people from relaxing. A bomb that when I went outside. Stories of people
exploded in a nearby market injured freezing were constant reminders of
There! See what is left of my high one of our office guards. Yet, we all felt how difficult life was for the poor who
school. When I was a student, like we were contributing to a process lived without proper housing. Security
6 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

problems, curfews and robberies also with a driver from the NGO, seeing Maiwand was dangerous even in 2002
impacted everyones lives. some places that are no longer accessi- and my NGO did not want us there,
During this period I conducted a ble because of the escalation of the war. but we were assured that the US forces
large survey for UN and the CDCs Our first trip was to a remote area of were in control. The first village we
(Omidian 2002). In this survey I was Badakhshan in the north. The area was entered turned out to be about 5 kilo-
mandated to do a qualitative study breathtakingly remote and gave one the meters from an Al Qaida training camp.
of maternal mortality issues in five impression of being on the roof of the Most of the village was empty, as fami-
districts where verbal autopsies were world. It was August yet each morning lies had relocated to other areas to avoid
carried out by the quantitative team (cf. there was ice on the stream near where the fighting. Women who remained in
Bartlett et al 2005). The areas of study we stayed. We had so much fun that we the village took Fatima and Rana to
included remote villages with subsis- believed the whole survey would be as a nearby hill and pointed out a place
tence agriculture (Badakhshan), rural easy. We were told there were security where a nomad camp had been bombed
with access to urban markets or semi- problems but we did not feel it. Our by US fighter jets, killing most of the
rural areas (Kandahar and Laghman) only problem was finding enough food men, women and children in camp. We
and urban groups (Kabul). I did this to eat in the local village. could not verify the story but it sent
survey as a project within the Afghan Our next stop was in the eastern chills through all of us in spite of the
NGO where I was employed. With the province of Laghman, close to Paki- lovely fall weather. We conducted the
help of the staff, we hired four survey- stan. In the evening of our first night interviews and mapping exercises and
ors, two sister/brother teams (Fatima there, as we settled into a routine, the left for the long drive back to Kandahar.
and Nasir Khan, Rana and Kabir2). men went out to get water for cooking The next day we visited another vil-
Fatima and Rana had survey experience. and washing. Fatima, Rana and I were lage, not far from a dried riverbed and
Nasir Khan and Kabir were to act as sitting talking when we heard shouts across from vineyards that had died be-
escorts for their sisters and to conduct and fighting beyond the wall of the cause of the very severe drought. Upon
surveys with the men in the villages compound where we stayed. I could not arrival we started to interview a group
we would visit. I trained the team in understand the dialect but it was clearly of women in a home when the Nasir
survey techniques, including participa- trouble. Fatima was close to panic as Khan called us out of the house and told
tory methods like resource mapping and they listened to the voices. The noise in- us to quickly get into the cars. We had
time lines, semi-structured interviewing creased then stopped. So did our hearts. to leave immediately. Once in the cars
and observation. We also spent a great Within minutes the men of our group re- and on our way, he angrily told us that
deal of time working on methods for turned, but things had clearly gone from UN logistics had selected a village that
recording the information. Because the bad to worse as our luck ran out. Nasir was pro-Taliban and pro-Al Qaida. He
areas we would be visiting were remote, Khan had been stabbed. Fortunately, overheard some of the village talking
we had to get the information the first he blocked the knife with his arm or about kidnapping the UN woman who
time. We found that it worked best for it would have been a stomach wound. was traveling with us. Being Japanese,
them to work as teams, with one team He and the others had inadvertently she looked like a Hazara woman, an
member acting as interviewer and other stumbled across a robbery in progress ethnic group despised by the Taliban.
as scribe/observer. For example Fatima, by men dressed as police. The driver Our third day was no better for
elder to Rana, was an excellent inter- and Kabir rushed Nasir Khan to the surveying. We were again told the vil-
viewer and Rana was quick with note local hospital where his wound was lage to visit and headed off on the long
taking and observations. We conducted bandaged. Because of the tribal issues bumpy drive over dirt roads and river-
the interviews in the morning and spent in this war torn area, and because we beds. When we arrived the place was
the entire afternoon each day writing were strangers, we did not want to take deserted. The night before US troops
up notes, discussing what was seen and the chance of further violence, but we had come to the village and arrested
done that day. The men would interview had to wait till morning before we could every male over 15, leaving only one
village men and conduct a mapping travel. After a sleepless night, we left old man and the pre-adolescent boys
exercise in each village. I assigned for Kabul as soon as we heard the morn- to guard all the women and children.
Nasir Khan to head the survey team, ing azaan (call to prayer). I cancelled The women wanted to talk to us so we
giving him responsibility for logistics the survey for this province. Nasir Khan conducted our interviews with them but
and our safety. I put more trust in his healed quickly and was ready to travel left as soon as we could. There was the
local knowledge than in UN security again after a short rest. possibility of angry people attacking us
reports. As members of the NGO world, The third province on our program out of frustration. This was truly and
we would be traveling without guards was Kandahar, where we were to travel active war zone and we were intruders.
or weapons; our protection depended on to Maiwand district with a UN staff I was feeling that each days trip in this
local knowledge and sometimes luck. person, a Japanese woman, to conduct area was getting us into more dangerous
For four weeks the five of us traveled more surveys. UN logistics for Kan- predicaments. In spite of all the hazards,
to remote areas of Afghanistan by car dahar chose the villages for us to visit. we had good data from Kandahar and
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 7

returned to Kabul. Security conditions Service Committee (AFSC) in Af- compound (which was actually on one
in the south were already deteriorating ghanistan, a position I held until leav- of the US military bases in Kabul).
by the fall of 2002 and, by 2005, only ing the country in 2007. During that Unfortunately we were at an impasse.
those traveling in armed caravans felt time I conducted numerous surveys No guns or soldiers were allowed in our
safe. In 2008, those would be targeted, and consultancies for other agencies, compound and she was not allowed to
as well. Each year Afghanistan moved but AFSCs work focused on building enter if her guards did not come with
toward more chaos, with fewer areas schools in remote areas of the central her. We held the meeting elsewhere.
where roads were safe. I returned again highlands and in the mountainous In another incident, thieves climbed
to Laghman in 2003 to complete a dif- northern province of Faryab. At this the wall and entered our office com-
ferent survey, yet, shortly after my visit time the psychosocial wellness pro- pound in the night. Our unarmed guards
the office where I stayed was bombed. gram that was developed (c.f. Omidian were alerted and because of the noise
By 2004, Laghman was far too dan- and Papadopoulos 2002; Omidian and they made, the robbers climbed back
gerous and many NGO offices in that Miller 2005; Omidian and Lawrence over the wall without taking anything.
province were forced to close. Nation- 2007, 2008) for refugees in Peshawar No one was hurt on this occasion. Our
ally, security continued to deteriorate, was expanded and tested in schools, guards then asked if we would sup-
so that by 2006 Ghazni, a short drive rural communities and with interns ply them with or allow them to carry
from Kabul, proved too dangerous for from Kabul University. My greatest joy weapons. As a Quaker organization, the
AFSC staff to visit. In 2008, no road out came when I would leave Kabul and answer was no. But we also breathed
of Kabul was safe. War and chaos had travel to remote areas of the country, a sigh of relief that our guards were
engulfed most of rural Afghanistan. staying in villages and working with not armed when we later learned the
As areas became more dangerous for the people. We worked in areas where robbers were part of the local police.
the delivery of reconstruction and hu- there were no PRTs actively working. They thought our compound was empty
manitarian aid, because of the war, the Shortly after starting work with after dark and had planned to make a
US government and NATO increased AFSC, I moved into my own flat in an few dollars quickly. Had our guards
their use of Provincial Reconstruction area of the city where no other expats been armed someone might have been
Teams (PRT), military groups that tried (international workers) lived. My shot or killed, which would have left
to engage in reconstruction activities, language ability and understanding of our agency in trouble with the local
including the building of schools, clin- the culture, thanks to the seven years government for wounding or killing
ics or water systems. Most NGOs (both with my Afghan family, allowed me to police. Our office rule was that if armed
local and international) worked hard to pass as an Afghan who had returned thieves came into the compound to rob
distance themselves from military ac- from the west. This was important, not the place, our guards (local men with
tors, including the PRTs. It was standard to confuse locals, but to allow me the large families to support who make a
procedure for NGOs to have signs on security of anonymity in a city that was low but steady wage) were instructed to
their offices and cars prohibiting weap- always insecure. Those who knew me, not resist. We would joke and say that if
ons. There was an active campaign by including all my neighbors in my apart- armed robbers enter the compound, the
the NGO community to try to discour- ment block, knew I was not Afghan. only thing the guards would do is offer
age NATO from expanding the system, This period had its dangers and the them tea, something Afghans do for any
but it failed. It was important to signal international community was constantly guest.
a clear separation between military bombarded with warnings of threats. In the three years as the country
work (and even USAID) and civilian/ My neighbors protected me numerous representative for AFSC (2004-2007), I
non-governmental work. Although the times by telling people who searched was able to travel throughout Afghani-
idea of using the military to provide aid for foreigners that none lived in our stan, conducting surveys on health,
sounds like a good idea, it is removing area. I was again dependent on the local education and mental health. But the
the symbolic boundary that aid workers community for my safety. greatest joy was in working in remote
(and anthropologists) need to stay safe As head of the AFSC office in Af- provinces, trying to promote education
and which allows us to be seen by local ghanistan, we followed the same rules and some form of change, as identified
communities as neutral. That boundary as most aid agencies and did not allow by local communities. This work was
no longer exists in Afghanistan. The guns on the premises. This occasionally not without struggle. Yet, had we been
military bid for Afghan hearts and led to problems, for example, once a armed, the trust we developed with
minds means that there is no longer a consultant from the US, funded by US local communities would have been al-
distinction between armed and non- State Department, wanted to visit our tered. Most of these areas are governed
armed actors. Afghanistan has since office. I was looking forward to seeing by warlords with militias or traditional
become one of the most dangerous her but the regulations for her safety tribal leaders who have an armed fol-
countries for aid workers. as a US contractor demanded that she lowing. Many NGOs in Afghanistan had
In 2004 I became the Country Rep- be in sight of her armed guards when stickers on their cars showing that there
resentative for the American Friends traveling anywhere outside of her office were no weapons in the vehicle. It was,
8 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

and is, important to distance oneself and when I stopped jumping at the sound of The economy of Afghanistan also
ones agency from armed actors in any a car backfiring, or at firecrackers, Paki- suffers from war, and is based on
conflict zone. A few NGO workers with stan, the place I ran to for security and drug trafficking in opium and heroin.
guns would not alter the situation in a safely, came close to being torn apart Corruption finds itself all the way
positive way. by the same forces that are destroying to the highest levels of the govern-
In the summer of 2006, I realized Afghanistan. ment. In spite of the efforts of a few
that I was burning out from the stress of well-meaning nations, the country has
security issues, a hard existence that in- Afghanistan 2007-2008 almost no accountability or rule of law
cluded summer dust storms and freezing and remains in the control of warlords.
winters, limited electricity and water. Something about Afghanistan and There is an absence of justice or safety.
At a deeper level it was the sense from the resiliency of the Afghan people In September 2008, I spent 5 days in
all my Afghan friends of loss of hope makes for an unbreakable cord, pulling Kabul and stayed with 3 families whom
in the future of Afghanistan that made me back again and again. The country- I have known for many years and talked
to a number of others. At that time
security was uppermost on their minds.
Each family had a family member

Where some countries have cans and bottles littering

(uncle, cousin or son) or knew someone
who had been kidnapped for ransom.
Some were released, others killed. The
kidnappings were primarily for ransom,
their hillsides, Afghanistan has burned out and rusted and if money was paid, the victim was
released to their family unharmed.
tanks flanking roads, sitting under bridges and scattered These cases tended to be men in their
later years who had wealth or attracted
like autumn leaves over a landscape that is barren and attention because of political status. One
family was asked to pay three million
starkly beautiful, silent reminders of 30 years of armed US dollars, another US$40,000. In a

conflict. country where the average salary is less

than $50 a month, these kidnappings
demonstrate a new kind of economic
Even more frightening for families
of the middle class were the kidnap-
leaving easier. At the same time, I could side is devastated by the joint terrors of
ping and murder of young men between
no longer judge safety for myself or my war and drought. Where some coun-
the ages of 15 and 30. The boy or man
office colleagues and friends, who were tries have cans and bottles littering
would be taken while on his way to
willing to put their lives on the line their hillsides, Afghanistan has burned
school, work or shopping for the fam-
for me. There were several incidents out and rusted tanks flanking roads,
ily. Most were killed with the excuse
where my local friends hid me, such as sitting under bridges and scattered like
that they said or did something against
when Kabul erupted in violent riots that autumn leaves over a landscape that
another ethnic or political (read ethnic)
targeted INGOs. My staying could add is barren and starkly beautiful, silent
group. These occurred frequently
to their risk. It was time to leave. reminders of 30 years of armed con-
enough that all families felt at risk.
Since moving out of Kabul in Febru- flict. The country is mountainous, arid
When one man (a distant relative of a
ary 2007, I visited Kabul many times in and remote, and the people have been
family I stayed with) was kidnapped,
2007 and 2008. I now live in Karachi at constant warwars that are local,
his kidnappers told the story that he was
Pakistan, a place that feels modern and national and regional, often at the same
arguing with someone and made a rude
filled with liveliness. I took a faculty time. Afghanistan sits at the crossroads
remark about Ahmad Shah Masouda
position at the Aga Khan University of trade and threat; currently India
war hero from the north. He was killed
(AKU). Yet, while I was visiting Af- and Pakistan fight their battles there
and yet his family did not find the truth
ghanistan for AKU at the end of 2007 and Iran uses it to overstretch the US
until well after his body was buried.
Benazir Bhutto was killed and I had military by supporting the enemies
When the family went to the police to
to extend my stay in there until the of their enemy. The situation has
file on the case, they were told that their
violence in Pakistan calmed down. become steadily worse, yet, I find
son was one of 171 missing youth in
My Pakistani friends told me to stay in I return to visit friends and former
that area of Kabul city. These cases were
Kabul until they let me know it was safe colleagues, trying to come in time
the most worrisome because there was
enough to return, about a week later. to share in the Muslim holidays or
a feeling in Kabul that ethnic divisions
Life had felt normal in Karachi and just Persian New Year.
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 9

motivated many of the issues around become especially contentious along to recognize the horrors of unintended
security. Many felt that ethnicity was this route. People were worried but said consequences that result from our inter-
being used to divide various groups in they could not do more than adapt to ventions, how much more so will this
Afghanistan and that the divisions were these problems and get on with their critique sit on those militarized anthro-
being supported by popular media and lives. pologists. I actively avoided weapons
US/Karzai policy. People were afraid I found the country growing steadily and grounded my work, my safety and
and openly talked about their fears. tenser as armed actors operate from the safety of my staff through a connec-
Afghans, generally, were tired of every sector. The anti-government tion to the people with whom I worked.
the war and have been for decades, groups are fully armed, as are the war- Trust is hard to establish but critical
but there was a major shift since 2006 lords, drug lords and mafia groups. The to any field endeavor. As an applied
toward American policy in Afghanistan. government has its army and police, and anthropologist I work for the people I
Before this, people would complain but has been arming local militias to help study not for those who pay my way.
would add that the US needed to stay combat anti-government groups. Guns To do otherwise hurts more than myself,
because the Karzai government would
not be able to cope with all the prob-
lems. In 2008, they told me that the US

The US government has introduced a system called

was making the same mistakes that the
Russians made years before. As I talked
to people I found no distinction being
made between ISAF forces, NATO
and the US military. All were seen as The Human Terrain System (HTS), in which social
making things worse not better, though
people were afraid that if any of these scientists, including anthropologists, work for them in
groups pulled out of Afghanistan the
results would be catastrophic. They Afghanistan and Iraq. The goal is to help the military
expressed anger at the way the US
continually failed to respect Afghan understand local communities and to reduce the number
culture. The killing of civilians was
unforgivable and played into the hands
of anti-government groups (AOG). On
of deaths.
this trip it was unclear which of the
various groups people feared most: the
Taliban, Al Qaida, drug lords, war-
are seen by locals as having become it also damages the profession and
lords, mafia groups or other powerful
part of the aid sector as well, with more the anthropological position to do no
PRTs building schools or hospitals. Into harm. Peacock et al notes:
Ethnic divisions became more pro-
this mix of military and para-military
nounced and were used as an excuse to
units, weaponry, factions and violence, Anthropologists engagements
kill. Many people told me horror stories
anthropologists (and other social scien- with military and intelligence
of the Kandahar/Kabul road, now too
tist) have stepped in to add to the confu- agencies have the potential to
dangerous for anyone but the poorest
sion. Confusing non-military activities damage relationships of trust with
of people to travel. There were frequent
with military actors is a dangerous the people studied as well as the
roadblocks and check posts with Taliban
slippery slope, one that anthropologists reputation of the discipline (2007:
(sometimes Taliban dressed as police)
must avoid. 17).
where everyone was checked. They
looked for signs that the person works
Militarized Anthropologists Because our work is grounded in par-
for the government or an NGO. One
ticipant observation and a dependence
method was to take the numbers from
The US government has introduced a on those we study for our survival, I
the persons cell phone to find where
system called The Human Terrain Sys- find the whole notion of a militarized
he works. When they found numbers
tem (HTS), in which social scientists, anthropology to be inappropriate for
of foreigners on the phone the owner
including anthropologists, work for many reasons. Leaving aside the whole
of the phone could be beaten or killed.
them in Afghanistan and Iraq. The goal question of the reputation of anthropol-
Also, members of certain ethnic groups
is to help the military understand local ogy as a discipline, the first point one
were also at risk, including Hazaras and
communities and to reduce the number must consider is who is being studied
Panjshiris (those from the area where
of deaths. Yet, if action anthropology and what is the purpose of the study.
Ahmad Shah Masoud lives). Issues be-
is fraught with problems and has been Interwoven in this is the whole issue of
tween Pashtuns and other groups have
criticized for an arrogance in failing trust.
10 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

In Afghanistan, goals and benefi- information into my report. In the end it As the war in Afghanistan illustrates,
ciaries were always clearly stated at was about trust and intellectual honesty. the ally one day may become an enemy
the onset of any project. When do- Had I been working for the US military, the next; roles are constantly shifting
ing the study for the UN in 2002, as I would not have been able to maintain in a very malleable social landscape
described above, I and my team were either. where families are complex social units.
paid through the UN on a CDC initiated The second point in this debate re- In order to survive each family has
study of maternal mortality (Bartlett lates to power configurations. How does members who are communists, Muja-
et al 2005) with myself and my team the militarized anthropologist deal with hedeen, Taliban and anything else. The
doing the qualitative portion that looked the imbalance of power? When I enter a enemy of today may become the hero of
at knowledge, attitudes and practices village, it is by local transport, whatever tomorrow. A militarized anthropologist
(KAP) (Omidian 2002). In Kandahar that might be, possibly by foot, donkey, cannot carry out participant observa-
we found one unexpected cause of horseback, jeep, car or van. But I come tion or even participatory research in
maternal mortality that was not liked with a group of Afghan aid workers, by order to understand the more subtle
by the agency funding the study. It was invitation of the local community or by aspects of these family configurations.
that US military action was a leading a representative. I am not nave and I If she/he did, the information would be
contributor to the death of women of know that there is a clear imbalance of questioned, as the power inherent in the
childbearing age in the areas we visited. power in any relationship I establish but relationship between the community
I was asked by my contact person in the those lines of power actually work both and the researcher overrides any ability
UN in Kabul to remove this information ways. The local community may or may of the community to offer a differing
from my final report, as it would upset not protect me, while I can leave when perspective. That terrain is fraught with
the US donor. I refused. Consequently I want. The community can also ask danger for them and does not end when
my study was not circulated with the me to leave, refuse to speak to me or the anthropologist leaves. And this is
quantitative study, though European invite me to stay a while. Based on what where I think the greatest problem lies
and Canadian colleagues working in the is happening around me, I can usually for the anthropologist who works as a
area of maternal health were given the respond appropriately. member of an HTS team.
document. They were asked not to share The HTS of the military works by
it with Americans. As an anthropologist different rules. Bickford rightly calls Conclusion
I felt an obligation to be honest regard- this a use of anthropology as a weapon
ing my data and to report my findings. in counterinsurgency operations As we work, we have to remember
It was not for me to censor my work for (2008:5). He goes on to state: that our work can be used against the
fear of insulting the donor; rather, it was people we study. That is the nature of
important to give voice to those whom I While one may inadvertently what we do and where we do it (Sider
had met and interviewed. cause harm through fieldwork, 2009). We have to do the best we can
The purpose of the study was to the problem with militarized to protect those whom we study, with
understand maternal and infant deaths anthropology and the HTS is the whom we share lives and to whom
in rural and urban populations of four knowing, intentional use of skills we owe our profession. Militarized
areas of the country. The information and insights for combat, to trade anthropology is about a gross imbalance
was to be used to develop culturally in hurt and injury, wounding and of power, as well as the subversion of
appropriate and critically-needed health death, fragmentation and destruc- a discipline that has an ethical chal-
care that would target the populations tion. Keep in mind that coun- lenge to do no harm as we work among
being served. As with most research, terinsurgency is combat, and those who may lack power in the global
other information comes that is not definitions of a counterinsurgent setting. The American Anthropologi-
expected and may even be unwelcome. is fluid (Bickford 2008:8). cal Association clarified its stance on
What we do with that data is impor- this (though they did not go as far as I
tant. The reason for this study was to If our task understand the day-to-day would have liked):
understand how Afghan women and lives of people and we are to do no
their families tried to prevent deaths harm, how does a militarized anthro- Our framework for evaluating the
from occurring and how they dealt with pology fit our definition of anthropolo- ethics of anthropologists engage-
it when it did. To know that military gy? To enter a community as a member ment with US intelligence and
action was negatively impacting their of the military, a person with power and defense communities is grounded
chances of survival was important. As the weight of the US army behind her/ in four basic principles: to do
the anthropologist it was my task to him brings about a level of power that no harm; to provide disclosure
help give them a voice so they can be the local person cannot act against of ones work and role / not to
heard. The Afghan agency with whom I since any reaction can get them arrested deceive; to uphold the primary
worked needed to know, also, that I (an or killed. The imbalance is so great that responsibility to those involved
American) could be trusted to write that it is easy to overlook. in ones research; and to maintain
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 11

transparency, making research implementation. We live in a commu- Study in Four Areas of Afghani-
accessible to others to enhance nity and become part of them, building stan. Kabul: CDCs and UNICEF
the quality and potential effects a platform of mutual trust. Health Sector.
of it as critique (Peacock et al In the declared war against terror
2007:14). many ethical standards (including hu- Omidian, Patricia and Nina Joy Law-
man rights and freedom from torture) rence
Any work an anthropologist does can have been set aside. Militarized anthro- 2008 Community Wellness Focus-
be used against the community studied pology is just one more in the long list. ing: A Work in Process. The Folio:
by those in power. Though we can- This is a slippery slope that reminds A Journal for Focusing and Experi-
not control how our data is used once me that the damage may not show ential Therapy 21(1):291-303.
published, we can control how we right away. Yet, I have not doubt it will 2007 A Community Based Approach
maintain loyalty to the populations who come back to haunt us. I was speaking To Focusing: The Islam And Focus-
share their lives with us. In this paper I at a seminar in Karachi in December ing Project Of Afghanistan. The
have tried to give concrete examples of 2008 when I was asked to explain Folio: A Journal for Focusing and
action anthropological techniques and why anthropologists helped the British Experiential Therapy 20(1),
applications in an active conflict zone. subjugate the Sub-Continent and then
Applied anthropology is aptly suited worked against the Muslims. This man Omidian, Patricia A and Kenneth Miller
to help address peace-building pro- was referring to the way social anthro- 2006 Addressing the Psychosocial
cesses, program design, implementation pology was introduced and used in the Needs of Women in Afghanistan.
and assessment. As anthropologists we first half of the twentieth century, but Critical Half 4(1):17-21.
can offer a nation coming out of war in- his question was fair. Just as those who
sights into ways international programs were perceived to support colonialism Omidian, Patricia A and Nina Papado-
can be locally adapted. Participant ob- in British India, the militarized anthro- poulos
servation affords us the opportunity to pologists will be seen to act on behalf 2003 Addressing Afghan Childrens
understand people in the way that other of the army they serve and not for the Psychosocial Needs in the Class-
aid workers cannot match. The anthro- good of the local community they study. room: A Case Study of a Training
pologist tries to understand things from For Trainers. IRC Female Educa-
the local point of view and this is our Notes tion Program, Peshawar Pakistan.
biggest contribution. I cannot list all the
times I had to let someone know that the 1
The people of Afghanistan generally Peacock, James (Chair), Robert Albro,
word for a person from Afghanistan is refer to themselves nationally as Af- Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Kerry Fos-
Afghan and the money is Afghani. And ghans; Afghani is the name for Afghani- her, Laura McNamara, Monica Heller,
that Afghans do not necessarily dislike stans currency. George Marcus, David Price, and Alan
their daughters but if you ask them in Goodman (ex officio)
Iranian Farsi how many children they 2
Not their real names. 2007 AAA Commission on the
have, in Dari the same words ask how Engagement of Anthropology with
many sons. Sometimes the information References the US Security and Intelligence
is as simple as how rude it is to slam a Communities Final Report
door. But it all comes together to allow Bartlett, Linda A, Shairose Mawji, Sara
for program development that meets Whitehead, Chadd Crouse, Suraya Sider, Gerald M.
culturally specific criteria. Dalil, Denisa Ionete, Peter Salama 2009 Can Anthropology Ever be
Fieldwork carries risks when it is 2005 Where giving birth is a fore- Innocent? Anthropology Now
conducted in developing countries, but cast of death: maternal mortality 1(1):43-50.
when working in war zones or areas of in four districts of Afghanistan,
continuing conflict, the risk is increased. 19992002. The Lancet, 365 Patricia Omidian holds a PhD (1992)
There is always an imbalanced relation- (9462):864 870. from the University of California San
ship, but we can overcome some of that Francisco and University of California
by how we work and what we want Bickford, Andrew Berkeleys joint program in medical
our work to accomplish. What we as 2008 Report from the Field: Skin- anthropology. She has worked as an
anthropologists have to offer develop- in-Solutions: Militarizing Medi- applied anthropologist in Afghanistan
ment work in these situations is enor- cine and Militarizing Culture in and Pakistan since 1997. Omidian is
mous. It is through the anthropological the United States Military. North currently an Associate Professor and
lenses of observation, comparison and American Dialogue. 11(1): 5-8. the Head of Social Sciences for the Aga
cultural relativism that the applied an- Khan Universitys Faculty of Arts and
thropologist can bring critically needed Omidian, Patricia A. Sciences, Karachi Pakistan. She can be
insights to program development and 2002 Qualitative Maternal Mortality reached at n
12 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Are You With the F.B.I.?: Fieldwork Challenges

In A Post 9/11 Muslim-American Community
By Tony Gaskew It is very difficult for me to describe
my emotions as a law enforcement of-

T his article is based on my experi- ficer witnessing the World Trade Center
ences as an ethnographer and crimi- collapse to the ground like a deck of
nologist conducting sixteen months of cards. In my eighteen-year law enforce-
field research among a Muslim Ameri- ment career I had never experienced a
can community in central Florida study- more helpless feeling in my gut, and Ive
ing the impact of the USA PATRIOT witnessed my share of indiscriminate and
Act, and highlights the unique chal- shameless acts of violence in my life.
lenges and obstacles facing researchers Within minutes, my emotions ran be-
conducting participant observations tween a cloudy fear and a deep uncontrol-
within Muslim communities in the lable anger. Were we going to be attacked
United States in the aftermath of 9/11. again? Who was responsible and more
Establishing and maintaining trust and importantly, what could I do to help? I
credibility with research participants has said to myself, Is this really happening?
always been the foundation upon which Over the next several weeks, various
fieldwork is built. For ethnographers media pundits began offering their
engaged in research within Muslim opinions on the religion of Islam,
American communities today, they must presenting religion as the primary
overcome various hurdles, including a motivator for the 9/11 attacks. As well,
deep sense of mistrust, alienation, fear, my fellow police officers did not have a
single positive thing to say about Islam. Tony Gaskew
and potential issues of national security.
Every law enforcement agent I knew,
regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity,
shared my feelings of anger and fear Islam. I had never gone to a library and
towards Islam. An FBI Joint Terrorism conducted research on Islam, read the
On September 11, 2001, I was a
Task Force was formed and we began Quran, or even visited a mosque, yet I
major crimes detective working at law
to encourage citizens to report any was making opinions based on my fear
enforcement agency in central Florida.
suspicious activity. Hundreds of tips and anger. This lack of knowledge and
It began as any other normal day, that is,
were called into our community hotline understanding towards Islam ate away
a normal day in a police culture. I was
describing anyone who remotely shared at me, creating more of an impact than
reading through a telephone wiretap
Middle-Eastern physical characteristics I ever could have imagined. To fill this
transcript and taking some notes in
as being suspicious. Many of these intellectual void, on January 2002 I
preparation for a criminal complaint on
suspects were in fact innocent career- enrolled at Nova Southeastern Univer-
a drug investigation I was conducting,
oriented professionals: engineers, doc- sity to complete my doctoral studies,
when a fellow detective and co-worker
tors, and professors, whose only crime with the goal of focusing my research
entered the office and yelled, were un-
was to have a Middle-Eastern physical agenda on understanding Islam and the
der attack. Muslims bombed the World
appearance and name. I thought to events of September 11, 2001. I felt
Trade Center and the Pentagonwhat are
myself, Things might be getting a little compelled to examine the complexities
we going to do? I immediately turned on
out of control. Are we really going to of Islam from my own perspective as a
the office television monitor and watched
waste our resources surveilling anyone law enforcement agent.
in amazement as the events of 9/11
who looks Muslim? Are we (police)
unfolded before my eyes. Four airplanes
doing more harm than good in our
had been highjacked, two crashing into
counterterror mindset?
the World Trade Center, one into the
As was true of many of my law
Pentagon, and a fourth had crashed into a According to the Council on Ameri-
enforcement co-workers, what I knew
field in rural Southern Pennsylvania, just can-Islamic Relations 2007, an estimated
of Islam was primarily from word-of-
a couple hours away from the University 6-7 million Muslims reside in the United
mouth, counter terrorism training, and
of Pittsburgh campus where I work today States. However, conducting research
the media. None of these are unbiased
as a professor of criminal justice. within Muslim American communities
or credible sources of information on
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 13

can pose unique challenges for ethnog- and Muslim American communities. career had no direct correlation to my
raphers. Historically, cultural immersion Although statistically speaking, the ma- current research agenda, it did trigger a
has provided ethnographers with the jority of Muslims in the United States series of questions I was forced to con-
ability to engage in participant observa- are indigenous African-American, my front during my study. As a researcher, I
tion and develop what is called an emic research participants were predominate- often wear three distinct hats: as a crim-
perspective, or the ability to see the ly immigrants of South Asian and Arab inologist, as a social scientist, and as an
world through the eyes of the group being descent (Table 1). Although my par- ethnographer (though not always in that
studied. Since the terrorist attacks of Sep- ticipant observation included countless order). Each has its own unique role
tember 11, 2001, Muslim communities in interactions between men and women, in my research agenda. I firmly believe
America, faced with varying degrees of only a handful of my interviews were that in order to understand the hidden
public and governmental scrutiny, have conducted with women; difficulties of nuances of group behavior and social
all but closed the doors for researchers interviewing women were largely due to relationships, one must use experien-
regarding true cultural immersion with the customs and cultural nuances of the tial immersion to examine the subjects
the community. For criminologists like population, which prohibited me from being studied: a sort of criminological
myself who have practical experience in engaging in one-on-one contact with verstehen. For criminologists however,
the profession of criminal justice, using female participants unless a male escort the use of ethnographic methods of
ethnographic methods exposes me to was present. inquiry can be both exhilarating and
unique risks that include legal, emotional, frightening. Unlike traditional research-
and ethical dilemmas. Confronting My Own Role as a ers, criminologists with practical experi-
I discuss here my experiences as a Researcher ence in the field of criminal justice often
criminologist and former law enforce- face ethical conflicts arising from their
ment agent conducting ethnographic Prior to accepting a faculty position loyalties to their professional duties and
research among a Muslim community at the University of Pittsburgh, I spent their responsibility to protect the rights
in Florida in the aftermath of 9/11. the majority of my professional career of research participants.
Establishing and maintaining trust, as a law enforcement agent in Florida. One of the first issues I faced in
respect, and credibility with research My assignment to the Organized Crime my study was the concept of open and
participants has always been the foun- Task Force in central Florida during honest disclosure. What if the research
dation upon which fieldwork is built. September 2001involved managing participants were curious about my
Ethnographers engaged in research with covert criminal investigations, which background and began to inquire about
Muslims living in the United States, included the use of electronic surveil- my life before entering academics?
may find this a daunting task. Today, lance (wiretaps). Although my previous Should I tell them the truth and possibly
researchers must overcome various
challenges, including a deep sense of
mistrust, fear, and potential issues of
national security. Table 1. Participant Demographics
Table 1: Participant Demographics
The Setting
Variable Number (n) Mean (%)
From August 2005 through Janu-
ary 2006, I conducted fieldwork in two Participants 443 (total)
separate Muslim communities within Immigrant 381 86.1%
central Florida, through participant Indigenous 62 13.9%
observation and interviews with both
indigenous and immigrant Muslim Gender
American community members. My Male 434 97.6%
Female 9 2.4%
field research took place in various so-
cial settings throughout the community, Ethnicity
such as mosques, community centers, Caucasian-American 6 1.4%
homes, places of business, picnics, African-American 39 8.8%
restaurants, and shopping centers. Hispanic-American 23 5.2%
The focus of my study was to exam- South Asian 207 46.7%
ine the social conflicts facing Muslim Arab 155 34.9%
Guyanese 6 1.4%
Americans in the aftermath of 9/11,
Iranian 4 .9%
and to provide insight on how the USA Sudanese 2 .5%
PATRIOT Act impacted the relation- Bosnian 1 .2%
ship between law enforcement agencies
14 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

ruin my chances of finishing a very when conducting fieldwork within fieldwork location sites throughout cen-
promising research project, or rather Muslim American communities today. tral Florida. I also contacted the Council
brush off such inquiries with a nod and In fact, as I reflect on my 16-month on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
a smile? More importantly, do I have journey, my relationship with my many a nationally recognized Muslim civil
an ethical obligation as a researcher gatekeepers later formed into friend- rights organization. After first establish-
to fully disclose my previous career if ships, which extended far beyond what ing telephone contact, I personally met
Im aware it could impact the voluntary my fieldnotes could ever reflect. with representatives of CAIR, and after
nature of participation in the study? In My initial contact with the commu- presenting my research agenda, they as-
this post-9/11 climate where the lives of nity was made through a scheduled visit sisted me with making several contacts
Muslims in the United States have come at a mosque in central Florida. After within central Florida, specifically an
under such intense law enforcement with the imam (spiritual/community established Islamic community center.
scrutiny, surely some of my participants leader) and explained the basis of my Islamic centers in America have become
would choose not to involve themselves research, he referred me to a Muslim an extension of mosques, providing a
in this research once they were made American community leader who was a community center setting, sponsoring
aware of my former law enforcement professor at a local university. Several various religious, social, and education-
career. I found myself in a unique situa- days later, I met with the professor for al venues. Activities such as weddings,
tion as a criminologist, an ethnographer, several hours, and the meeting actually lunches and dinners, mentoring and
and a former law enforcement agent, turned out to be an in-depth examina- sports activities for children, and parent-
with little or no guidance from previous tion of my background. This meeting ing and marriage counseling classes are
research conducted under similar condi- was the first of an on-going series of held at Islamic centers. Upon a gate-
tions. In the end, I decided to be truthful tests regarding my honesty and desire to keepers referral, I visited an Islamic
about my law enforcement career if build and maintain a sense of trust with center in Orlando, Florida and began to
asked, even if it resulted in the projects the Muslim community, which I faced establish relationships throughout the
demise. From my perspective, effective throughout the duration of this research community. These gatekeepers provided
long-term fieldwork that examines the project. Without being prompted, I me with ready-made credibility, and it
lives of vulnerable populations must explained in great depth about my past would have been impossible to conduct
be based on trust, respect, and credibili- as a former law enforcement agent. this research without their direct and
ty, all of which would have been jeopar- Although at times this became some- continuous intervention.
dized had I decided to be less than truth- what uncomfortable given the cur- Prior to entering my first fieldwork
ful. Although I lost a few participants as rent social climate and my aggressive setting, dozens of telephone calls
a result of my decision, I reaffirmed the ethnographic research agenda, it was were made by my gatekeepers to local
confidence of my gatekeepers who also refreshingly honest and required a Muslim community leaders requesting
were ultimately responsible for my suc- unique sense of personal vulnerability their support for my research project.
cessful immersion into the community. as a researcher. I was well aware that As one of my gatekeepers explained to
my former law enforcement career me, you have a choiceyou can either
Gaining Entrance into the could negatively impact any chance of conduct your research by showing up
Community completing this project, because I could unannounced and having the entire
easily be perceived as a government community treat you as an outcast, or
One of the first things I discovered spy trying to gather intelligence within you can humbly request the blessing
conducting field research in a Muslim the community. After a series of ques- of a few key people and be granted ac-
community in the United States is the tions about my ethnicity (because the cess to the community. After a couple
importance of having steadfast gate- professor initially thought I might have of weeks in what seemed like a con-
keepers. In contrast to ethnographers been Egyptian), the professor laughed tract negotiation, I was informed they
who conduct research abroad, the and commented, You cant make-up would allow me to conduct fieldwork
difficulties face when trying to gain this kind of stuffa former cop wants at the local mosque and other settings
entrance into US subcultures is less to experience first-hand how its like in the community, providing I did not
frequently discussed in monographs. to be a Muslim after 9/11yesI will use any video or audio equipment to
However, since the attacks of 9/11 and introduce you into the community. record any conversations. Since the
the increased law enforcement directed Within the following weeks, he person- IRB at my university prohibited the
toward Muslim Americans, I have real- ally introduced me to several well- use of any electronic recording devices
ized that Muslim communities have established Muslim Americans who during my study anyhow based on the
become extremely weary of unfamil- resided in the area, who in turn intro- rationale that that Muslim Americans
iar faces that suddenly appear at the duced me to other Muslims throughout in the aftermath of 9/11 were a vulner-
mosque for daily prayers. Establishing central Florida resulting in a snowball able population by IRB standards, this
and maintaining a continuous series of effect for producing new gatekeepers. request posed no foreseeable problems.
gatekeepers become a requirement These contacts enabled me to establish Although the use of fieldnotes as my
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 15

only data collection instrument was a completely different reaction. I learned underlying message of this accusation.
tedious and time consuming process, the participants associated signing the I asked myself Whats the big deal
I was left with few options. Several of informed consent with the interview if theyre not doing anything illegal,
the community members also required process conducted by government offi- whats there to be worried about?
verifiable proof that I was a researcher cials under the National Security Entry- Who cares if the F.B.I. or any other
and doctoral candidate, and requested Exit Registration System (NSEERS), law enforcement agency is conduct-
a copy of my university transcripts and or what is commonly referred to as ing surveillance on the members of the
research proposal outlining the purpose Special Registration. Under NSEERS, community? By then, I had provided
and methodology of my study. I was told all foreign nationals from countries copies of my research proposal, col-
several of the Muslim community leaders whom the State Department and the INS lege transcripts, the personal contact
wanted to ensure my project had no hid- determined to be an elevated national information of everyone involved in
den agenda or that it would not be used security risk were required to undergo the study, and subjected myself to what
to spread misinformation regarding the mandatory fingerprinting, photograph- seemed like a background investigation.
practices of Islam. Since part of my IRB ing and interviews. As such, Special I had answered every question posed to
mandate required that I provide business Registration ultimately led to the ques- me, and agreed to every stipulation re-
cards containing my contact information tioning and deportation of several immi- quired by community leaders; however,
and the contact information of my univer- grant Muslims who resided in the area, I could not overcome this sense of fear
sity IRB to all potential research partici- creating a climate of fear and mistrust and mistrust projected toward outsid-
pants, I strongly encouraged everyone between law enforcement agencies and ers. At this point, there was very little
involved in the study to verify my status the local Muslim American community. I could do to convince them of my offi-
as a doctoral candidate and to closely Within a matter of hours after at- cial status as a researcher and I was pre-
examine the research project agenda. tempting to secure a signed informed pared to abandon the project. One of my
consent form from a research par- gatekeepers insisted that I not give up,
Problems Obtaining ticipant, I was contacted by a Muslim and explained to me the refusal to sign
Informed Consent community leader and informed that I the informed consent was a reflection of
was no longer welcome at the mosque their deep sense of fear and lack of trust
During the onset of my fieldwork, I or any other community sponsored in people since the events of 9/11 and
discovered the majority of my research activity, and that they were formally added, by requiring their signatures,
participants, based primarily on the withdrawing their support and participa- you implied that either you did not trust
credibility of my gatekeepers, were tion from the study. I was immediately them, or they should not trust you. It
somewhat comfortable with my pres- informed by one of my gatekeepers that was at that moment I finally realized
ence and were initially cooperative in several members of the community sus- the how politically charged the climate
allowing me to conduct field observa- pected that I was never a researcher, but had become for Muslims in America.
tions and brief interviews at the mosque in fact an F.B.I. Special Agent attempt- As my research findings suggested, one
and Islamic Center. However, as I began ing to cultivate police informants of the primary social conflicts Muslim
to immerse myself into the community within the Muslim community and Americans face today is to overcome an
and attempted to conduct more struc- conduct surveillance on the mosque. environment of discrimination, alien-
tured and in-depth follow-up interviews Although I was very empathetic at first, ation, fear of law enforcement, and a loss
that required participants to sign an given the Islamophobic environment of respect, honor, and dignity as a result
informed consent form Conflicts
(an IRB man- many Muslim Americans are forced to of the USA PATRIOT Act (Table 2).
Table 2: Social Facing Muslim Americans
deal with in the
after 9/11, Aftermath
however, of 9/11
I quickly The events of September 11, 2001
date from my university), I received a
became somewhat angry because of the created a social climate for many of my

Table 2. Social Conflicts Facing Muslim Americans in the Aftermath of 9/11

To confront and take a self-critical and To resolve long standing To overcome an environment of
introspective look at traditions and ethnocentric attitudes and discrimination, alienation, fear of law
systems of belief in relation to practices between immigrant enforcement, and a loss of respect,
extremism and violence within the and indigenous communities. honor, and dignity as a result of the USA
practice of Islam. PATRIOT Act.
16 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

research participants where their defini- Florida were very tense in my fieldwork were just as vocal in their passionate
tion of trust was being transformed setting, as word spread throughout the criticisms of the U.S. government as
both internally and externally, which community that a Muslim informant were immigrant participants. In fact,
was reflected in their transient identi- had led to the investigation and subse- I heard a similar type of frustration
ties as Muslim Americans. The wounds quent arrests of fellow Muslims. Based and anger directed towards the U.S.
of 9/11 run deep for Muslims in the on my fieldwork experience, nothing can government during a Fulbright-Hays
United States, as they have been forced be more devastating to the assabiya research project I participated in over
to examine their own Islamic practices (social cohesiveness of the community) the summer in Egypt. I spent the major-
and historic sense of ummah (Muslim than to discover one of their own is a ity of my fieldwork in Cairo, Luxor, and
community) in the backdrop of a less party to acts of tribal betrayal, regardless Alexandria conversing with members
than forgiving world. It is important of the circumstances. Many participants of the Muslim Brotherhood (an orga-
for researchers to understand during silently shared their disgust with me nization outlawed in Egypt) who did
periods of crises, Muslim Americans regarding the actions of this police not bite their tongues when describ-
have begun to close ranks in order to informant insisting that as a Muslim, ing their bitter contempt for the U.S.
regain their sense of trust and security. he should have been more pious and government. However, in this case,
Although my participants were gracious committed to dialogue, persuading his these Muslims who shared their angry
hosts and provided me sensitive per- brothers from committing acts of vio- perceptions of the U.S. government
spectives on their unique worldviews, lence against the United States instead of were Egyptian citizens on Egyptian soil.
outsiders would always be perceived assisting the police. As one participant The question becomes, how much anger
as outsiders, and I was an outsider. explained, the most pious thing would can Muslim Americans direct towards
Fortunately, my gatekeepers were have been to understand why these the government of the United States
unwavering in their friendship and their brothers felt violence was their only or the president of the United States
commitment for the successful comple- optionnot to just stop this single act before it crosses the line into matters of
tion of this project. My initial gatekeeper, but to prevent this mindset from spread- national security? What about crimes
the university professor, contacted several ing into multiple acts of violence. Other uncovered during fieldwork settings
of the key Muslim community members participants felt these high profile arrests such as immigration violations? What
and personally vouched for me jeopardiz- were simply a hoax invented by the is my legal obligation to report these
ing his credibility and reputation in the U.S. government to belittle Muslims. situations? In this politically charged
community. He emphasized the benefits These incidents triggered another environment does ones loyalty lie
to the community of not only complet- set of issues regarding national security with the protection and well being of
ing this type of research endeavor, which that highlighted the complexities of research participants or with the safety
brings to the forefront the concerns and ethnographic fieldwork among Mus- and security of the United States? I
voices of Muslim Americans regarding the lim Americans. I began to ask myself, lived with this quagmire throughout a
impact of the USA PATRIOT Act, but the What if during my fieldwork I observe year and a half of very intense field-
hypocritical tone it would set to pick and or overhear what I believe to be suspi- work, and was prepared to make some
choose who would be allowed to exam- cious or unusual behavior? Although difficult choices if confronted with this
ine the nuances of Islam and the lives of ethnographers have been successfully ethical dilemma. However, I learned
Muslim Americans. After a few days of navigating through shark infested you can have the best of both worlds.
meetings between key community mem- fieldwork settings in the United States As my brothers who are currently
bers, I was once again allowed to continue saturated with drug trafficking and police officers in Chicago have always
with my field work and began to immerse violent crime for many years (Anderson reminded me, once a cop, always a
myself into the community. 2000; Bourgois 2002) issues of national cop. Thus legally, my loyalty lies with
security are creating new concerns. the national security of my country. If I
The Liberty City Seven During my fieldwork, members of were to have overheard a terrorist plot
the Muslim community often described (which I did not) my loyalties would
During the course of the study, a the United States government and have fallen on the protection and safe-
small group of Muslims law enforcement President George W. Bush in aggres- keeping of the greater community and
authorities labeled as The Liberty City sive and very unfavorable terms, and innocent American lives. I would have
Seven, was arrested in South Florida, openly described their anger, bitterness, terminated the study, regardless of the
and accused of plotting to destroy the and frustration with American foreign findings or the amount of time invested.
Sears Tower in Chicago and other land- and domestic policy towards Muslims. I As a criminologist, social scientist, and
marks in the United States. During the should clarify that both indigenous and ethnographer, my loyalty must lie with
next several months, additional arrests immigrant Muslim participants shared a the protection and wellbeing of my
of Muslims were made in California and belief in a government inspired siege research participants. Even at the risk of
New York for alleged terrorist plots. The on Islam. That is, African-American being stigmatized as a traitor by some
days immediately following the arrests in and Hispanic-American participants of my law enforcement colleagues, I
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 17

must provide a safe and secure platform had opened in just a matter of seconds for References
for my participants to share their most future researchers seeking to examine a
intimate perceptions of Muslim life. As plethora of uncharted topics within Mus- Anderson, E.
citizens of the United States, regardless lim communities across the United States. 2000 Code of the street: Decency,
of their place of birth, Muslim Ameri- As noted throughout this article, the af- violence, and the moral life of the
cans have the legal right and freedom to termath of 9/11 can pose unique challeng- inner city. New York: W.W. Norton
harshly criticize the government and all es for ethnographers. This essay provided & Company.
of its elected political figures, including a number of insights into the dynamics
the president of the United States. As of fieldwork in post-9/11 Muslim com- Bourgois, P.
criminologists involved in ethnographic munities. For criminologists, finding the 2002 In search of respect: Selling
research, we must recognize our own right balance between professional and crack in el barrio. New York: Cam-
roles in this process, and find a happy academic loyalties is essential. This in- bridge University Press.
medium between our legal, emotional,
and ethical loyalties. I understand that
in a post-9/11 world, the lines between
national security and research ethics
might become cloudy and tough on the
spot choices will have to be made. If
As criminologists involved in ethnographic research,
ever these two worlds collided and one is we must recognize our own roles in this process, and
forced to make a decision, I would hope
a researcher would choose to abandon find a happy medium between our legal, emotional, and
the project. No study, regardless of the
possible outcomes, is worth crossing the
line into matters of national security or
ethical loyalties.
betraying the anonymity and confidenti-
ality of the research participants.
volves knowing your role in the research Institute for Social Policy and Under-
Conclusion: Finding the process, and understanding just how far standing
youre willing to go in order to success- 2004 The USA PATRIOT Act:
Right Balance fully complete the project and protect the Impact on the Arab and Muslim
study participants. I decided that in order American Community. The Insti-
On January 21, 2009, Barack Obama to be an effective ethnographer, I would tute for Social Policy and Under-
was sworn-in as the 44th President of the have to confront my own legal, emotional, standing. 1-32.
United States of America. During his in- and ethical fears. At the same, I under-
augural address President Obama stated, stood my limitations, and was prepared to Ramadan, T.
end the project rather than to jeopardize 2004 Western Muslims and the
As for our common defense, we the safety and security of my country or future of Islam. New York: Oxford
reject as false the choice between my research participants. My goal is to University Press.
our safety and our ideals.we continue to examine the post-9/11 social
are a nation of Christians and complexities facing Muslim Americans, Tony Gaskew is an Assistant Professor
Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and and to encourage other criminologists of Criminal Justice and Coordinator of
nonbelievers. We are shaped by to embrace the unique challenges of us- Criminal Forensic Studies at the Uni-
every language and culture, drawn ing ethnographic fieldwork during their versity of Pittsburgh. He is a Fulbright-
from every end of this research journeys. Hays Fellow, an FDD Terrorism Fellow,
the Muslim world, we seek a new a University of Pittsburgh Faculty
way forward, based on mutual Diversity Fellow, and a member of the
interest and mutual respect. Acknowledgements
Consortium for Educational Resources
My deepest gratitude goes out to on Islamic Studies (CERIS). He is the
My conversations with Muslim American author of the book Policing Muslims
friends, fellow colleagues, and students at the Islamic Society of Central Florida
and the Council on Islamic-American American Communities (2009) and has
the University of Pittsburgh echoed a con- conducted research in Egypt and Israel
sistent sentiment of praise and the admira- Relations (CAIR) for their support dur-
ing the course of my research. Most of examining the Muslim Brotherhood, so-
tion for President Obamas speech, seeing cial justice, and structural violence. He
it as a new chapter in how Muslims all, I would like to thank the countless
Muslim Americans in central Florida received his Ph.D. from the Graduate
will be perceived not only in the United School of Humanities and Social Sci-
States but globally. I can only wonder how who have given me their unwavering
trust and participated in this project. ences at Nova Southeastern University.
many closed doors President Obama He can be reached at n
18 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Who Burned Down Our House This Time?:

Ethnography & Conflict in Timor Leste
By Patricia L. Delaney although politically the country is free,
its people remain chained by poverty.
Similar sentiments were expressed by a
rural village chief in 2003 who told me,

Labele han demokrasia. (You cant
he Timorese Ministry of Labor
eat democracy.)
estimated that over 175,000 people
Security is maintained by a small
(out of a total population of roughly
force of Australian peacekeepers and
1 million) resided in camps for Inter-
a slightly larger contingent of UN police
nally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in May
officers. The level of violence fluctuates
2007. These camps, which sprung up
but most foreigners have been warned
in the immediate aftermath of politi-
to defer non-essential travel to East
cal violence in May of 2006, provide
Timor (which is just government speak
shelter, food, and security to children,
for dont go unless you have to.)
women, and men in every district of this
The Timorese themselves, of course,
small country. Hundreds of Timorese,
continue to suffer tremendously from Patricia L. Delaney
and a handful of foreigners, have been
forced and self-selected displacement,
killed. Thousands of homes have been
the daily terror of gang violence, and
burned to the ground. Victims of rocks,
persistent fear that they will never be World War II. Some elites, including
Molotov cocktails, spears, and tradition-
able to create a secure environment in Portuguese, mestios (people of mixed
al poisoned arrows appear regularly in
which economic and political develop- Portuguese and indigenous Timorese
the National Hospital in the capital city,
ment can happen. Needless to say, it is ancestry), and members of the Chinese-
Dili. Families, friends, and neighbors
difficult to do ethnographic fieldwork in Timorese minority, escaped to Portugal
have been torn apart in a cycle of vio-
these conditions, and things are infi- or Australia just before the Japanese
lence, house burning, score settling, and
nitely worse for the Timorese people took over in Timor.
revenge. Whole sections of the country,
themselves. After World War II ended, Timor
as well as specific neighborhoods in
Dili, are no-go zones for people from returned to Portuguese control, and
specific regions. Methodology and Reflection:The became independent in November
Even before the current crisis, life Anthropologists Lived Experience 1975. Just one month later, the Indone-
in East Timor was difficult. Accord- with Conflict and Displacement sian army invaded East Timor, killing
ing to the UN Development Program thousands and sparking a cultural and
(UNDP), the country has the lowest This discussion stems from a variety political movement which came to be
human-development in all of Asia. Even of both academic and applied known as the resistance. The invasion
compared to developing countries such research experiences in Timor Leste, took place at the height of the Cold War
as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, starting during the period immediately and the Indonesians used the rationale
Timor is disadvantaged. It is by far the after Timorese independence in 2002.1 of stopping the spread of commu-
poorest country in the region, with a per Prior to independence, Timor Leste nism in their backyard. It now appears
capita income of just $370 per year. The had been colonized by the Portuguese clear that the United States, which had
average Timorese person can expect to (from 1515 to 1974); occupied by Japan provided Indonesia with most of its
live only to the age of 55.5 years. Over during World War II; and then brutally weapons, provided at least tacit approv-
50% of the population lacks access to occupied by Indonesia (1975-1999). al for the invasion. Many US, Austra-
clean drinking water. Fully one-third of The Japanese occupation of East Timor, lian, and Timorese scholars describe
women between the ages of 15-49 are from January 1942 to August 1945 was the Indonesian period as attempted
malnourished. 64% of people experi- relatively brief in duration but particu- genocide.(Jardine: 2002)
ence food insecurity in an average year. larly brutal in execution. The Japanese In April 1976, the United Nations
Over 50% of both men and women killed over 60,000 Timorese civilians, urged Indonesia to withdraw and
over aged 15 are illiterate. The cumula- or almost 13% of the total population, declared its intention to continue to
tive result of these numbing statistics as punishment for their collaboration consider East Timor as part of Portugal.
is a situation in which as UNDP put it: with Australian commandos during The massive resistance movement grew
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 19

and guerilla troops successfully fought much from the immediate post-refer- three different transportation advisors
off more than 40,000 Indonesian troops. endum period. Most were unemployed recommended three totally different
Within Timor, the resistance movement and many felt left out of the economic traffic patterns for the capital, Dili. One
continued unabated for the duration of and political development of the coun- day the street in front of our office was
the Indonesian occupation. Although try. The decision to utilize Portuguese a typical two-way affair. The next week
the Indonesian government claimed as a national language, which fewer it was one-way going one direction. A
that only a small minority of Timorese than 10% of the population speaks, few weeks later, it was one-way going
people supported the resistance, the particularly rankled. The combined the other direction! Almost everything
later referendum showed just the op- legacy of so many decades of violence, was like that.
posite to be true. repression, and resistance and the post- The security situation in the country
After decades of struggle, the independence challenges combined to was precarious. Foreign peacekeepers,
Timorese finally had an opportunity set the stage for the current violence. UN Police Officers, and a variety of
to express their own opinion about the other military officials patrolled regu-
future of their country. On August 30, First Fieldwork in Timor Leste: larly. Many of our Timorese colleagues
1999, the UN held a popular con- Applied Anthropology from still seemed shell-shocked. The trauma
sultation about future of East Timor. was recent; one Timorese friend vividly
Despite fear of repression, reprisals, and 2002-2004 described the psychological damage
violence from the menacing presence as scabs, not scars. Everyone had
of the anti-independence militias, the I first went to East Timor in late horrific stories of displacement, gang
Timorese turned out in overwhelm- 2002 as the Associate Peace Corps rape, torture, and other atrocities at the
ing numbers to vote for independence. Director. My job was to develop health hands of the bapa (Indonesians) but
After the vote, the Indonesian-backed education projects in rural areas. My most didnt talk about it openly. It was
militias engaged in a campaign of terror. husband served as a UN Volunteer in only after you got to know someone that
Hundreds were killed and over 250,000 the Ministry of Environment. We lived you learned things like how many times
Timorese were forced across the border and worked in the country for eighteen their house had been burned down.
into West Timor. Approximately 50% of months. It was an exciting time, full And yet, most malaes (foreigners)
the infrastructure in the country, includ- of the promise of a newly independent felt safe. We snorkeled and ate at Thai
ing electrical wires, telephone services, country that had long suffered at the restaurants (although we did avoid
bridges, and schools are destroyed in hands of occupying powers. Like many the unexploded ordinance beach).
the militia violence. other expatriates in the country at the I walked to work or sometimes took
After the triumphant return of time, we felt privileged to be participat- a local taxi. We saw evidence of past
resistance leaders, and with Interna- ing in the birth of a new nation and we destruction everywhere, but like most
tional Peacekeepers guaranteeing that quickly developed a real affinity for the other malaes (and many Timorese
Indonesian rule would not return, the people and cultures of Timor Leste. elites), we got caught up in the opti-
successive UN administrations sought At the same time, it was often mism, hope, and excitement of inde-
to help the Timorese begin to create a challenging both for us and for our pendent Timor. We presumed that all of
new nation. The political elites, many of Timorese colleagues. The Indonesian the violence was in the past, attributed
whom had been in exile abroad, came militias had destroyed most of the virtually all of the blame to the Indone-
back to Timor and assumed important countrys infrastructure when they sian militias who ransacked the country
positions in both the government and departed in a rampage in 1999. The new in 1999, and saw the Timorese people
the UN administration. nation lacked roads, bridges, telephone as passive victims who needed our help
Despite the fact that they joined wires, irrigation systems, schools, and to rebuild the country.
together to fight the Indonesian occupa- even electrical lines in many places. I was working as an applied anthro-
tion, the many indigenous groups in Jobs were scarce and many people pologist and I found that ethnographic
Timor have maintained their autonomy suffered from tropical diseases. The methods were a great help in my work
and independence.2 Connections to ones Timorese were excited about the idea in the forro (the hinterland). I spent
ethnic/linguistic group, clan, and lineage of being independent, but had little much of my time in the countryside
remain important even today in Timor experience with actually governing. interviewing traditional leaders, and
Leste. Although some inter-marriage has The UN assistance mission, which was trying to identify communities that
happened, especially in Dili, most people supposed to help the Timorese transition would be ready to work with future
maintain a strong ethnic/cultural identity to independence, was a bureaucratic Peace Corps Volunteers on public health
based on their region of origin. behemoth, full of people from dozens of projects.
Average Timorese, former resistance different countries with at least as many Back in Dili, my husband and I
fighters, and those who remained in ideas about how to set up government moved from our first expatriate house
Timor during the occupation (instead structures. The end result was often to one that was more integrated into
of going into exile), did not benefit as confusing, sometimes frustrating, and an actual Timorese neighborhood. We
never boring! In a one-month period,
20 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

increasingly spent our free time not summits, and internal UN documents displaced during the Indonesian occupa-
with malaes but with our Timorese heralded the huge investment of the in- tion, could not only use the Internet, but
neighbors. We became especially close ternational community and declared that could also focus on lotion, seemed like
to our landlords and eventually devel- the Transitional UN administration and a huge accomplishment.
oped what anthropologists refer to as the subsequent capacity-building with After the grueling trip from the East
a fictive kin relationship with them. the Timorese civil service had succeed- Coast of the US, I finally arrived in Dili.
After the death of one child and the ed in preparing the Timorese people to Ms. Kristy Sword Gusmao, the Austra-
birth of another, we were asked to be- manage their own government, civil lian-born First Lady of Timor Leste was
come godparents to their youngest son. society, and economy. on the small plane with me. She saw me
We maintain a close friendship with tear up as we landed, and when I turned
his family and a have a deep sense of Return to East Timor: to her and said welcome home, she
responsibility for his welfare. Preparations for Return and quickly replied you too. It did feel
like I was coming home!
Expectations of Normalcy I went to live with our Timorese
Post-Independence Euphoria
family. This time, instead of living in
In early 2006, I was awarded a the big rental house, I moved into a
Although we work with Peace Corps Fulbright grant to teach at the National
took us away from Timor in early 2004, room in the grandmothers house. The
University and conduct ethnographic symbolic move from malae (foreigner)
my husband and I continued follow- fieldwork. The country had continued to
ing the countrys progress and spent to honorary oan (child) was satisfying
develop. The international peacekeepers and important. The fact that my husband
much of the next year trying to figure had mostly departed and the security
out a way to get back. Just a little less had not accompanied me was beneficial
situation had remained calm. The Peace to my research. I was quickly drawn
than a year before the most recent Corps and other development agencies
crisis, an article in the New York Times into daily life, meals, and household
were expanding their presence. Our work. I participated as an honorary fam-
Tourism section quoted an aid worker friends sounded optimistic, hopeful,
saying: I feel like it is becoming safe ily member in ceremonies, memorial
and less stressed than they had been services, and the funeral of the family
here and tourism is about to take off between 2002 and 2004. I was thrilled
in the next 10 years. We can say we patriarch. And, as it turns out, I ended
to be returning and anxious to examine up having a front-row seat at the begin-
were here at the beginning (New York the positive changes happening in the
Times June 5, 2005). The very fact that ning of the most recent political crisis in
country. I e-mailed Timorese colleagues Timor Leste.
the country was featured as a tour- at the Peace Corps asking for shopping
ist destination confirmed what most In the first few weeks, I was largely
lists. The young women in the office optimistic about the progress in the
foreigners thought: the United Nations asked for lotion from Victorias Secret!
experiment in East Timor was seen country. My key informants, both in the
It was a great example of the globaliz- family and in the forro largely con-
as a success. In virtually everything ing power of the Internet. It also seemed
written from 2001 to 2006, East Timor curred. Table 1 reflects these thoughts
to be an encouraging sign about the be- as I summarized them in my April 19th
was cited as the model UN success ginning of normalcy in Timor. The fact
story. Dozens of papers, books, policy fieldnotes.
that these women, all of whom had been

Table 1. Perspectives on Change

Table 1: Perspectives on change
Pros (in 2006) Cons (in 2006)
Better Communication Systems Corruption (Prime Ministers nephew)
Better Electricity Roads in Dili (Prime Ministers nephew had
Some new bridges, road repair contract to repair)
People dont seem afraid anymore (not that No jobs, no economy to speak of
previous high level of anxiety), although still Military unrest (among Timorese military
easily spooked force)
Less uncertainty about everything (roads, Fear of refugees returning from West Timor/
phones, etc.) people have not forgotten
Fewer malae advisors; more empowered One party state
Timorese Confusion nafatin (continues) about local
Oil Money government roles and responsibilities
No UN police/people still feel secure/less talk
about security
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 21

The Timorese seemed lighter, less chaos of IDP camps, marauding gangs,
burdened. There was a nascent middle and the renewed presence of interna-
class. In contrast to earlier days, res- tional peacekeepers on the ground.
taurant patrons included Timorese too. On Sunday, April 30th, 2006, on what
People were hopeful and the country turned out to be the night before the
seemed to have turned a corner. And flashpoint event, I explained the situ-
then, almost literally overnight, a politi- ation in the following way on my web
cal, military, and security crisis erupted blog:
and shattered the hopes and dreams of
the Timorese people (and the interna- The Troubles: Those of you that
tional community who supported them) have been following BBC will
once again. know that there have been a few
tense days in Dili. Approximately
Ethnography in the Midst of 1/3 of the Timorese defense force
Conflict (April 2006- July 2006) was dismissed over one month Need Caption Here
ago. They were protesting what
Although I had not intended to do they called discrimination. The
ethnographic research during an armed government called them insub-
ordinate. Theyve been staging summer hoping to return and continu-
conflict, I found myself nervously ing my work via email and telephone.
watching national television with my (mostly) peaceful protests ever
since. This week was different. My fieldnotes(written from my house
family as the head of the army, the in the US) demonstrate the incredibly
prime minister, and, eventually, the They marched on government
house for four days in a row. On high level of the anxiety, uncertainty
president all tried to calm peoples fears and fear among the Timorese (and the
in the lead-up to the crisis. I checked in the fifth day, something seems to
have snapped. anthropologist).
several times each day, and made sure
we had stockpiles of food and water on 5/25/06: Lucia sounds happy, re-
hand. Eventually, I stopped going out at Everything is calm now and for-
eigners were never targetedbut lievedalmost excited. Australian
night and started interviewing everyone troops have landed and everything
I knew (both Timorese and malaes) rocks were thrown at government
buildings; a few government cars will be fine. Kids are fine. Ivete
about the crazy rumors that were circu- is fineeven joked that she was
lating. were burned; and some thieves
took advantage of the chaos to rob worried about me coming! They
At one point, I helped some members saw the planes and the flood-
of the family evacuate preemptively and steal. More importantly, the
Timorese were also traumatized lightsgave them confidence that
to a relatives home in the hills above everything would be ok.
Dili. Most of the older people stayed (again) and many ran away to the
behind. They said they wouldnt leave hills, to the U.S. Embassy, and to
the various church compounds. 5/26/06: Spoke with Lucia: Shes
their house again. They had done it scared and was crying. They are
too many times. Over the weekend, The television news tonight
(Sunday, April 30th) broadcast a at the convent and are saying that
virtually every Timorese person I talked people are at the gate, threatening
to expressed abject fear. Most seemed message of calm from the Prime
Minister and then showed a very to come in if they dont give up
terrified in ways that seemed completely 1 individualAsked me to call
out of proportion to what I perceived depressing montage of images
of fleeing people, burning mar- Ramos-Horta and ask for help
to be the threat level. Rumors circu- (and I am sitting here eating an
lated wildly about the government, the kets, and police officers crying
in frustration. All the while, John English muffin!).3 Foreign soldiers
military, smuggled arms, and infiltrators have arrived.but fighting con-
from Indonesia. The malae community Lennons Imagine was playing
in the background. (Delaney blog: tinues.malaes go right, shooters
seemed to scratch its collective head. go left.
The English word I heard over and April 30, 2006)
over again that weekend was over- 5/30/06: Lucia and kids still at
reaction. More than one thoughtful Just two days later, I was forced to
evacuate the country. Of course, as it Tia Madres (convent).sleep-
political analyst wondered aloud if the ing on the veranda; kids are sick;
Timorese know something that we turns out, the Timorese were right and
the malaes were the only ones caught down to $30 because she bought
dont or if they were just tauk tein shoes for First Communion.
(easily frightened). completely unawares by the rapid
disintegration into violence and chaos. cried and laughed and told me
The conflict simmered for quite a about rumorsema Lospalos
long time before it erupted into the I spent much of the North American
22 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

(people from Lospalos) saying displaced from their homes. Two of the variety of others. Mostly, though, peo-
that they will attack if Alkitiri three women who just last year were ple seemed shocked to realize that they
(Prime Minister) is fired; Peace- casually asking for lotion from the had nobody to blame but the people of
keeping Forces not doing much; United States are now all unemployed Timor Leste.
dont know where people are. and living in regionally segregated Everyone expressed horror and
nobody is working and stores are IDP camps. The third woman is in amazement at the net effect of the con-
all closed..returned to house for exile in Australia with her three young flict: an ethnic division that had never
the first time today..doesnt see children. Another colleague, the main been significant before.4 For the first
a solution or a way out. I cried and driver for the Peace Corps, was living time, people were being killed, maimed,
talked about options for sending in the office because his house had and terrorized simply because of their
money and for possible escape to been burned to the ground. His wife region of origin. A malae colleague (one
Indonesia (cheaper than Austra- and several children had escaped to who had lived in the country for almost
lia).said people are still getting their native village in the East, but he 5 years) confided that he was not sure
across the border with money stayed because of his sense of duty to that the Timorese would ever be able to
less talk of violence or threats to the Peace Corps Volunteers. His eldest forgive each other for what had hap-
the compound. daughter, who had been living with pened in a three-month period during
him in Dili, moved to the IDP camp 2006.
I was alternately heartbroken, horri- near the airport because they wanted After the immediate physical vio-
fied, and incredibly frustrated by what her to finish the school year. lence subsided, and the family seemed
felt like impotence. I wanted to do Lucia and her children finally secure, my panic turned to depression.
something. Because I was so far away, moved back to their looted (but It wasnt just the harsh reality of life in
I focused almost exclusively on the un-burned) house in early August. IDP camps and the lack of security.
impact that these events were having Her mother, the matriarch of the but the collapse of international support
on our familyand I worked to help clan, defiantly remained in her home for Timor. As a Timorese colleague
them psychologically, physically, and throughout the chaos. They all seem in the Peace Corps said when I saw
monetarily. tired, depressed, and anxious. Rumors him in August of 2006, Everything
abounded and most folks seemed to we worked for during four years was
Participant Observation During a be strategizing about ways to leave gone in one day. He was describing
Lull in the Conflict: Impacts and the country. Just as in past crises, the the profound disintegration of sympa-
middle class and elites are thinking thy, patience, and understanding of the
the Discourse of Blame (July 2006) about exile in Portugal, Australia, or international community. Literally in a
even Indonesia. matter of days, Timor went from being
I was able to go back briefly in July, The evidence of physical violence, model UN success story to just a run-
for a heart-wrenching 3-day visit. Be- looting, and burned out houses was of-the-mill basket case in the Global
cause the U.S. Embassy had evacuated everywhere. Everyone I met (whether South.
all Americans back in March, they only friend, colleague, or just acquain- It is hard to imagine that the country
permitted me to come in for a short tance) wanted to tell their personal will ever have the goodwill and support
trip. Unlike my flight in March, this horror story. A casual acquaintance, that it enjoyed during the UN transi-
one was not full of optimism, hope, a young man who worked as a waiter tional period again. The Timorese, a
and words of encouragement from at a restaurant often frequented by long-suffering people, have morphed
carefree political leaders. Instead, the malaes and elites, pulled me aside at from hapless victims to perpetrators
flight was full of malae colleagues breakfast and asked, Mana (Older of violence. Although the current crisis
doing the same thing that I was by tak- Sister) Patricia, Why did they burn can be explained, in part, by the mis-
ing advantage of the lull in the crisis down my house? takes and failures of the UN, it has been
to return to collect belongings, wrap While most malaes talked inces- labeled a home-grown crisis. Unlike
up our affairs, and say our goodbyes. santly about how surprised they were the previous waves of occupation from
After the tears of reunion at the airport, and how caught unawares they had the Indonesians, Portuguese, and even
we drove by one of the largest IDP been, the dominant discourse among the Japanese, it seems that the Timorese
camps right next to the airport. I was the Timorse was one of frustration and have nobody to blame but themselves
shocked by the hundreds of white tents despair. Time and again I heard that this this time around.
and seemingly endless array of burned was worse than 1999 because we did
out houses along the road. Needless to it. People critiqued and analyzed and
say, the anxiety that I felt was minor Conclusions
discussed. Fingers were pointed at the
as compared to the suffering of the one-party political system, the elected
Timorese people. The current situation in Timor seems
leaders, the international community, dire. But given the violent history of
I learned that all of my former col- the youth gangs, bad people, and a
leagues from the Peace Corps had been occupation, resistance, and terror to
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 23

which the people have been subjected journey for both of us. I returned again patterns found among most indigenous
since the earliest days of colonialism, for two weeks in January of 2009, and groups in Timor.
it is perhaps surprising that the coun- I am very happy to say that the politi-
try has only experienced the relatively cal and security situation has improved 3
Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta was then For-
low-level of post-independence conflict substantially. eign Minister of the country. Because
that we have seen to date. One might Life is starting to look like what I of my former status as a quasi-diplomat
honestly expect the country to be much described in my fieldnotes back in 2006. with Peace Corps, I am on a first name
more dysfunctional. Unemployment is decreasing, foreign basis with him.
The title of this article asks: Who assistance is back on track, and most
burned down the house this time? This (but not all) of the IDPs have been suc- 4
It remains an open question whether
time around, the answer is clearly the cessfully returned to their communities the events of 2006-2008 tapped into
Timorese.but it is hard not to see of origin. The international community long smoldering ethnic tensions
the hands of the Indonesians, Por- (and especially the UN) now seems to between indigenous groups in eastern
tuguese and even Japanese at work. realize that they pulled out precipitously (lorosae) and western (loromono) East
As Timor moves forward to address in 2005. They are now committed to Timor, or whether political leaders
this tremendous social challenge, maintaining a long-term presence in the manipulated their followers by whip-
the international community should country. ping up previously non-existent ethnic
continue to assist in the process of On a more personal note, I was able hatred.
healing the nation by providing as- to complete some additional fieldwork
sistance with mediation, economic and, most importantly, I attended our 5
U.S. Agency for International Develop-
development, and by encouraging the godsons 5th birthday party while I was ment (the major development assistance
national government to make effective there! I plan to continue my long-term arm of the US government).
use of the many talents of non-Portu- research and personal relationships in
guese speakers and non-elites among Timor Leste. My husband and I remain References
Timorese society. in touch with family and friends there.
We hope to return together in May of Jardine, Matthew
Postscript 2009 and I am already working on ways 2002 East Timor: Genocide in Para-
to get back there for a more extended dise. Odonian Press.
The crisis in Timor continued for time, perhaps over an upcoming sab-
the remainder of 2006 and through the batical year. Mydans, Seth
whole of 2007. While violence levels 2005 New Nation Has Beaches
ebbed and flowed, most Timorese and Notes Like Balis but Few Tourists. New
malaes lived in fear of further unrest. York Times, Travel Section, page 8.
Curfews were enforced by an interna- 1
The country is officially called June 5.
tional military stabilization force and Repblica Democrtica de Timor
most UN agencies kept only essential Leste, but is referred to as East Timor United Nations Development Program
personnel in the country. Because the English-language version. The two 2006 Human Development Report:
of continuing insecurity, Peace Corps terms will be used interchangeably in East Timor.
opted not to return to Timor Leste. Na- this paper.
tional elections in May of 2007 brought Patricia L. Delaney is an applied
some new hope, but also new tensions 2
The indigenous peoples of East Timor social anthropologist. She currently
and waves of aggression. I maintained are culturally, linguistically, and ethni- holds a position as Assistant Professor
contact with the family, friends, and col- cally diverse. They trace their origins of Anthropology and Gender Studies
leagues throughout this period, although to Melanesian, Austronesian, Papuan at St. Michaels College in Colchester,
I was prohibited from traveling there by and Asian ethnic groups. More than Vermont. Patricias work straddles the
the U.S. Embassy. a dozen language groups, including worlds of academia and the applied
In May of 2008, I was finally able to Mumbai, Tetun Terik, Tokodedi, and realm and she actively seeks to keep a
return to Timor Leste once again. Os- Makasai exist throughout the moun- foot in both worlds.bringing students
tensibly, I went back to do some applied tainous half island that is modern to the world of international develop-
research work on a USAID5-funded Timor Leste. Dozens of groups are ment practice and nudging development
project. Mostly, I used the project as represented and each group exhibits its practitioners to draw upon theoretical
an excuse to go back and check on our own culturally, linguistically, and so- and academic understandings in An-
friends, family, and colleagues. My cially specific characteristics. Despite thropology. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A.
husband joined me for a short vacation the cultural heterogeneity, it is pos- in Anthropology from U.C.L.A. and a
after my applied research was finished. sible to generalize to some extent and B.S. in Foreign Service from George-
It was an exhausting and emotional describe some of the common cultural town University. n
24 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Unstable Relocations:
Meeting the Other in Kurdolato
By Bruno Anili toleration (whose humane concerns
often disguise the dominant desire of
She climbs on the bulls back, being left alone, not bothered by the
and ambles gently along, taking others).
the girl into shallow water and As of the end of 1997, Europeans
then further out, and faster, and became aware of a different possibil-
terrified now, she looks way back ity associated with the relocation of
at the distant shoreline and holds foreigners on their continent. The events
on right to the great beasts horn that were to gather media attention
as the wind, freshening, whips and from all corners of Europe happened in
tunic, which streams into pennants a forgotten town in southern Italy, one
behind her. stricken with poverty and depopulation
The Rape of Europa, in: and unlikely to produce any major phil-
Ovid, Metamorphoses, book II osophical revolution in conceptualizing
identity, otherness and similar abstract

T he increasing number of immigrants concepts. In the process of writing my

who reach Europes southern shores doctoral dissertation, a project centered
can represent both a threat and an op- on a study of the ideological domination
portunity for contemporary Europeans. liberalism, I also became interested in
While the principle of toleration might the experience of the encounter between
appear both desirable and expedient the community of Badolato and a group
of Kurdish clandestine immigrants. Bruno Anili
for dealing with this social phenom-
enon, it can be an inadequate modality While the liberal principle of toleration
in encounters with the Other. Using appears increasingly inadequate as the
the experience of a group of Kurdish ideological script for concrete instances Badolato was experiencing a condition
clandestine immigrants in Badolato, of the encounter with the other, I argue of seemingly irreversible decline typical
Calabria as an ethnographic example, that a practice of hospitality of the kind of many small villages in southern Italy
I argue that the paradigm of hospitality that I discovered in the course of my and in other areas of the country. Those
articulates a vast array of possibilities research in Badolato is more appealing Badolatese who did not find work in
for rethinking inter-ethnic relations in both at the theoretical level and in its the village or in the newly constructed
theoretical and political terms. practical implications. Whereas tolera- Badolato Marina (a neighborhood
tion is typically defined by an attitude of located on the Ionian coast about six ki-
mutual respect in which identity bound- lometers from the historic center) have
Introduction emigrated elsewhere, including to the
aries are fixed and not to be transcend-
ed, hospitality carries within itself the bigger cities of the region, the industrial
The eponymous myth of Europe
possibility of creatively redrawing those areas of northern Italy, various destina-
evokes the forcible relocation of the
boundaries, incorporating a dynamic tions in northern Europe, or as a last
Phoenician princess Europa, raped by
element that makes it more adaptable to resort to Australia and the Americas.
Zeus under the semblance of a bull. A
change and the emergence of different The population declined dramatically
similar pattern of expansion, westward
situations.1 from 7,000 to 700 people according to
and north, marks the route on which
some estimatesin few decades, as
clandestine immigrants embark in their
The Kurds of Badolato the emptying of the town left behind a
journey of hope from the Global South
rearguard of old folks.
toward Italy or Spain and from there
Founded in the XI century by the However, beneath the desolating
to the affluent countries of northern
Normans of Robert Guiscard, Badolato immobility that seemed to accompany
Europe. European attitudes towards
is a typical village on the top of a hill Badolato to a death by outmigration,
those unwelcome immigrants gener-
that thrived for centuries and became an another type of change was occurring.
ally range from outspoken hostility
important fortress in the defense of the In 1986 a provocative campaign was
(often times embellished with unhid-
coast from the attacks of the Saracens. launched by local political and social
den racist overtones) to compassionate
However, by the end of the 20th century activists under the name of Badolato
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 25

paese in vendita (Badolato Town food and money and promised to settle on a more or less stable source of in-
For Sale). This was an effort to attract them in empty houses. Officials prom- come, produced locally and independent
Italian and foreign tourists who would ised them work in new enterprises that of the rimesse, are, in a certain way, a
invest in the maintenance and remodel- would make the most of their skills privileged class. This is the case with
ing of the houses that the emigrants had (Carroll 2005). In a short time, Badola- the Kurds.
abandoned without indicating any plan to had attracted the attention of national As for the religious aspect of the
to return to them. The initiative was and international media, and television integration of the Kurds into the social
only moderately successful, as a few crews came to report on the strange fabric of Badolato, worries about the
foreigners, mostly from Switzerland case of the village that welcomed im- forcible nature of their conversion to
and northern Europe, did buy houses migration. Catholicism are not at all preposter-
and made Badolato their regular vaca- After a few months, the majority of ous. However, such an interpreta-
tion destination. However, this was not the original group of 825 Kurds had tion of their baptisms does not take
a solution to the problems of a dying left for their final destinations, primar- into account the peculiar character
community. ily Germany and Switzerland. Yet, of traditional religiosity in Southern
At the end of the century, though, the efforts of local administrators and Italys villages. While this is obviously
this village plagued by emigration residents had succeeded in convinc- an overwhelmingly Catholic environ-
experienced unexpected opportunities ing a few of them to stay to work in ment, it is not one in which religion
for resurgence and reinventing itself as construction, cleaning, and agriculture; emerges as an identity marker used to
a land of immigration. The March 22, others opened artisan laboratories, differentiate among various communi-
2000 English daily The Guardian re- and still others a Kurdish restaurant. ties (as for example it was in Bosnia-
counts the dramatic events of December It bears noting that at this stage in the Herzegovina in the aftermath of the
1997: Kurdish experiment in Badolato, power dissolution of Yugoslavia). Here reli-
structures all too familiar in the most giosity is perceived and experienced
It was December 27, 1997. Boats inveterate practices of the immigration as one element of a larger picture of
raced to the ship and ferried its were being reproduced. On the eco- tradition, not to be theorized per se,
human cargo to land. The Kurds nomic level, the newcomers were typi- and whose exercise is better under-
were penniless and did not speak cally (but not exclusively) employed in stood as a series of ritualized habits,
Italian, but for the villagers of works of construction and cleaning, rather than as a coherent set of moral
Badolato, on Italys toe, they had an embryonic tertiary sector that caters and canonical formulations. In this
one priceless asset - youth. to the affluent (yet sporadic) tourists context Catholicism is not necessar-
[] from Switzerland and northern Europe. ily an exclusionary force, but rather
And then the Ararat arrived: a On the cultural level, the enthusiasm peacefully coexists with a vast and
Russian-made rustbucket that had with which the local priest welcomed dynamic substratum of alternative
left Istanbul for Rome six days the new members of the community, beliefs, ranging from a diffuse super-
earlier. The perils and 1,500 price as symbolized by baptisms on Easter stition, to enduring practices of magic
tag had deterred elderly Kurds night, cannot obscure the fact that the and divination, to residual particles of
from making the journey, so the Kurds are predominantly of Sunni pre-Christian religiosity. This context
new arrivals were mostly under Muslim confession and, presumably, might also be hospitable to the intro-
40. They had not planned to make were not seeking conversion to another duction of Muslim practices.
a life in Calabria, one of Italys religion. Despite some legitimate doubts, the
poorest regions, but that was what However, some complementary case of Badolato soon came to be seen
they were offered (Carroll 2005). reflections may help to refine the first as an interesting and largely success-
impressions about these patterns of ful experiment. The people of this
In other words, two days after seeming economic and ideological little village had not only passively
Christmas 1997, the people of Badolato domination, by making sense of them tolerated the presence of the Kurds
received the unexpected present of 825 not in the abstract, but in light of the on their territory (what in many other
Kurdish asylum seekers. The Kurds specific local context. The productive places would have been a remarkable
received an expected warm reception system of Badolato, like that of most achievement in and of itself), but locals
from the Badolatese in return. They had Calabrian villages, is one that does not had actively welcomed the guests with
reached the tip of southern Italy with favor the emergence of a highly differ- signs of concrete hospitality. Badola-
no intention of relocating there, but entiated and dynamic class structure. On tese houses were literally opened for
only because it was the most conve- the contrary, this subsistence economy the Kurds, and the whole population
nient landing in their journey to Ger- is fundamentally based on the rimesse participated in collective efforts to help
many, France, Belgium, and Sweden. (remittances) sent back home by emi- the newcomers establish viable and
The Guardian continues: Central and grants. In an area chronically plagued durable premises for sound, if modest,
regional government gave the Kurds by unemployment, those who can count economic subsistence. An April 2000
26 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

news report from BBC asked a very normalization at that time, but the per- These disputes were of the kind that
interesting question: Could this be the spectives for the social experiment that is not at all uncommon among young
answer for Italys other dying cities? they represented looked now gloomier men, regardless of their ethnicity, and
(Gilhooly 2000). A few years later this than ever.3 they never escalated into hostility
ambitious question about the ability of Toward the end of the summer of between Kurds and Italians, and in the
generalizing from the Badolatese ex- 2006 I made a trip to Badolato. On the end strengthened community ties.
perience was supplemented by a more windy road to the top of the hill I expe- An area of special interest to me was
basic concern: Was that experience rienced alternating feelings of hope and the linguistic contamination between the
still in place? In order to answer such expectations of disappointment at each two communities. While the Kurds had
questions, I decided to do research in curve. When I finally reached my desti- been learning Italian from the locals, the
the field, rather than relying on news nation I found a sleepy town, seemingly Badolatese had also started to use Kurd-
reports and other mediated sources of oblivious to its simple, clean streets, ish terms in their daily parlance, greet-
information. and of the breathtaking beauty of its ing the elderly in the deferential manner
scenery, between the Ionian Sea and typical of the newcomers. Misunder-
Doing Research in Badolato the Calabrian mountains. In the mid- standings had not been uncommon, like
day sunshine, only a few people walked when a Kurdish man had asked a shop-
As I was planning my research activ- slowly in the piazza, between the towns keeper for a gas bomb (bomba a gas),
ities, I resolved to conduct open-ended two cafs: if that was Badolato, I started rather than for a much more innocuous
interviews with a number of subjects, to think, perhaps I would have been gas tank (bombola a gas) Unfortu-
divided by the subsets Badolatese and better off taking pictures that day, rather nately, in the climate of excitement and
immigrants to Badolato. In both cases than hoping to meet people. optimism typical of the early days of
I recruited my interviewees through Luckily, I had already scheduled an this experience, more serious mistakes
face-to-face interactions and snowball appointment with Daniela Trapasso, were made too. Unconditional hospital-
techniques. Also, studying the more the coordinator of the Calabrian section ity and generosity were bestowed onto
recent developments of Badolatos expe- of CIR (Italian Council for Refugees). the newcomers, in ways that made it
rience, I learned that, despite the initial Created in 1990 under the patronage difficult to eradicate expectations that
excitement and optimism, it had not of the United Nations High Commis- were to prove unreasonable in the long
turned out to be the squaring of the circle sioner for Refugees, CIR defines its run.
of the immigration and aging population basic mission as: to defend the rights I then met with a local historian and
problems. In fact, along with the media of refugees and asylum-seekers in Italy cultural animator. His perspective was
coverage, came the interested interven- ( also extremely helpful in delineating the
tion of the national government. With htm). The conversation that we had social and cultural impact of relocation,
bureaucratization came inefficiency and in the office of CIR was an extremely both as stimulated by the Badolato
corruption, a quasi-Pavlovian sequence helpful introduction to Badolatos social Town For Sale initiative, and by the ar-
in the Italian context. reality. From the vantage point of her rival of the Kurds. That very afternoon,
Additionally, complaints were raised institutional position, but especially as I was walking down a street, I heard
by different corners of the Euro- from the perspective of an active social a Muslim prayer coming from a win-
pean Union about Italys lax attitudes worker, Daniela was careful to define dow, and the British accent of a young
towards the problem of clandestine the relationship between the immigrants lady coming from the next balcony.
immigration. As a result, Italys adher- and the local community not in abstract Neither would have been a likely occur-
ence to the Schengen Treaty was called terms of integration, but, much more rence in nearby towns; the proximity of
into question and passport checks at realistically, as a form of coexistence. the two added to the peculiar character
the Italian border were reintroduced on In particular, she pointed to the of the phenomenon. When I returned to
a temporary basis by both France and many instances in which members of Badolato in the summer of 2007 I had
Austria.2 Strongly encouraged by its one of the two communities had par- brought a set of questions for open-end-
northern partners, Italy had to recon- ticipated in ceremonies and religious ed interviews with me. By now I knew
sider its policy of friendly hospitality. practices of the other group. Explor- that on a hot, sunny day most people
The majority of the Kurds were placed ing each others traditions, Badolatese were likely to spend at least some
in gated camps, under strict police youths had crossed the fire like their time at the beach, in Badolato Marina,
surveillance. The infamous Welcome Kurdish counterpart did as a ritual of returning home in time for lunch. So
Centers (Centri dAccoglienza) were initiation into adult life. Funerals had I spent the morning re-familiarizing
created, soon to be followed by the even also been an occasion for encounters, myself with the streets and sights of
more infamous Centers of Temporary and many had incorporated rituals the town. I also took notice of the cars
Permanence (Centri di Permanenza of both the traditions. Minor alterca- license plates: alongside the local ones
Temporanea, or CPT). The Kurds who tions had involved young men of both there were quite a few from central
had already settled in Badolato escaped groups, mostly in relation to women. and northern Italy, as well as Swiss,
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 27

German, French, Swedish ones, some concoction of fatalism, hospitality, their positions as non-racist, answering
belonging to returning emigrants, some attachment to ones own roots. So my in the negative the question on whether
to the new house buyers. question: Would you prefer to be richer they would have preferred that more
Around 4:30 pm the roar of the first elsewhere, or poorer in Badolato? Italians (as opposed to foreigners) had
Vespas headed down to the beach an- generated an overwhelming majority relocated to Badolato. Some went so
nounced the end of the siesta. Small of answers in favor of being poorer in far as to say that they preferred having
clusters of middle-aged and old men Badolato. The allure of material wealth foreigners relocate to the village rather
started assembling, some sitting in the was much less attractive than the appre- than Italians, as the former offer better
shade on the piazzas benches, some ciation of values like health, friendship, opportunities for cultural contamina-
playing cards and sipping soda in the tradition and especially the feeling of tion and an overall evolution of the
cafs. Old women gathered on the belonging to a place and community. local mentality. As for the non-racist
churchs stairs, and then got inside and To this constellation of civic values, the disclaimers, in most cases they sounded
started praying before the mass. Tourists priest also added the sense of mission genuine; others echoed the frustration at
followed the Vespas to the beach; young that characterized his vocation as an their own alienation in the big cities of
immigrants, mostly males, took the apostle among his people. the north by showing little warmth for
benches that were left in the piazza. Additionally, while a general consen- the newcomers.
It was time for me to start approach- sus emerged on the fact that Badolato Not surprisingly, the category im-
ing somebody; and I did so, not without had changed dramatically in the last migrants to Badolato was a much
some insecurity and shyness. As I few decades, the exact nature of the more heterogeneous one. It included
started talking to people, I noticed that transformation was the object of much both homebuyers from elsewhere in
some were at least as eager to talk to disagreement among my interviewees. Italy and Europe, and underprivileged
me as I was to listen to them. At first At one extreme, a strongly nostalgic immigrants from Africa, Asia, and
some people felt unprepared to answer mood permeated some holographic Latin America. Despite the obvious
my questions, and pointed to their edu- reconstructions of an idyllic past, one socioeconomic differences, these two
cated neighbors. My reassurance that in which the town had been economi- groups shared the important experi-
I was not looking for accurate histori- cally self-sufficient, if not affluent, and ence of being a part of Badolatos
cal information, but for their personal especially one in which the moral fiber community without having been born
experiences, was able to convince most and the demographic composition of the into it. In particular, most immigrants
of them. Also, as I asked the questions Badolatese population had been much interviewed underscored the fortu-
that I had carefully phrased while plan- sounder. On the other hand, some of my itous nature of their move to Badolato.
ning my research, I realized that they informants were more ready than others Virtually no one had chosen it delib-
were most useful as a starting point to recognize the amazing progress that erately, and few had even heard of it
for free-floating conversations, rather improved communication, transporta- before relocating. Paradoxically, this
than as a rigid grid to impose on my tion, and education had represented for parallels the condition of Badolato na-
interviews. Badolato. tives who had not chosen to be born in
I spent several days in Badolato, and The main focus of my interviews that specific community.
met with over fifty people, of whom was, obviously, the issue of co-exis- The attachment to Badolato might
around thirty I identified as Badola- tence. The Badolatese who had emi- not be as strong among the immigrants
tese, and around twenty as immi- grated to escape poverty and unemploy- as it is among the locals. Yet several
grants to Badolato. What I learned ment, and who had now returned to people commented enthusiastically
from these conversations is hard to their hometown, whether seasonally or on the help that they received as they
summarize in a few paragraphs; and the permanently, were split on the issue of adapted to the new conditions, and
lessons that I drew on how to conduct whether the arrival of the immigrants showed a degree of affection towards
research is certainly another highly had benefited or harmed Badolato. the town. They also appreciated the
valuable aspect of my experience. Some tended to sympathize with the lack of pressures to conform. Specifi-
I met with a very loquacious priest newcomers, recognizing that they cally, the immigrants enjoy being able
and with an equally talkative old performed valuable social functions, to keep their traditions, language, food,
communist, a living testimony of the taking jobs that Italians would have religion. Many strongly associate this
strength that the party of Antonio refused. Others resented the fact that sense of liberty with life in Badolato.
Gramsci once enjoyed in that district of the immigrants now received assis- However, others, like one young man
landless laborers. From the perspectives tance and in some cases subsidies, from Nigeria who voiced his intense
of their different systems of beliefs, while their early years in Switzerland frustration about the conditions and
these two interviewees agreed on many or Germany had been marked by social limitations of his relocation, lamented
points, in ways that might have sounded marginalization and inadequate eco- the isolation of Badolato, its small size,
surprising to observers less familiar with nomic remuneration. Almost all of my the lack of opportunities for both work
the dominant mentality, a centuries-old interviewees were careful to characterize and entertainment, and the lack of a
28 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

fast, reliable Internet connection. While both the illusion of a sudden, unprob- tion, together with vast inefficiencies
he had no regrets about leaving his coun- lematic integration, and that of the in the management of the existing
try, he was ready to go somewhere else. uncompromising preservation of rigid CPTs, have rendered a number of these
But is this really just a case of unsuccess- identities are renounced. Researchers centers overcrowded and unsafe for the
ful immigration, or is there more to this too can learn from this experience, as occupants. Several non-governmental
story? Arent many young Badolatese registering and deciphering the elu- organizations, including Mdecins Sans
similarly fed up with life in a small town, sive signs around which fluid identi- Frontirs (Doctors Without Borders)
and itching to get out of it? All in all, this ties continuously renegotiate their and Amnesty International, have de-
might be the ultimate, albeit ironic, proof boundaries can be both challenging nounced the systematic violation of ba-
of integration. and highly rewarding. sic human rights in Italian CPTs. (See
for instance Amnesty Internationals
document Italy: Lampedusa, the Island
of Europes Forgotten Promises,

Both government agencies and NGOs working with

available at:
issues of relocation can learn from the experience of
Kurdolato that the peaceful coexistence among mutual
Author Unknown
others can be a demanding political and social project, 2009 Consiglio Italiano per i Rifu-
giati. 1990-2007 Diciassette anni di
storia del CIR. Electronic document
and at the same time that it is a realistic goal, if both the retrieved on 02/06/2009. <http://>
illusion of a sudden, unproblematic integration, and that
Carroll, R.
of the uncompromising preservation of rigid identities 2000 They were God-fearing

are renounced. people like us, and God knows

we needed them. The Guardian,
02/22/2000. Electronic document
retrieved on 02/20/2005.<http://
During the course of my interviews, Notes Story/0,2763,184291,00.html>.
I learned with some disappointment
that no one from the original nucleus 1
J. Derrida and A. Dufourmantelles Derrida and A. Dufourmantelle
of Kurds was left, as in the long run (2000) Of Hospitality provides an 2000 Of Hospitality. Stanford: Stan-
they had all preferred to join their rela- extended discussion of hospitality as a ford University Press. Translated
tives in Germany or Switzerland. Yet project of ethical responsibility. by R. Bowlby.
their legacy had stayed behind, both in
the experience of the Italian Council 2
The Schengen Agreements of 1985 and Gilhooly, J.
for Refugees, and in the nickname of 1990, signed by a number of Euro- 2000 Italy: Immigration or extinc-
Kurdolato. With all its difficulties, pean countries, establish the gradual tion. in BBC News, Wednesday,
problems, mistakes, this unplanned abolition of checks at their common 19 April, 2000, 21:09 Electronic
experiment in encounters between borders. document retrieved on 02/20/20005.
immigrants and natives provides in- <
spiration and potentially a model for 3
Instituted in 1998 by the Turco-Na- europe/719423.stm>.
the encounter with the Other in our politano law on immigration, the CPTs
contemporary societies. Both govern- are centers for the temporary deten- Bruno Anili studied Communication
ment agencies and NGOs working tion of foreigners who have entered Sciences at the University of Sienna,
with issues of relocation can learn Italy illegally, and which for a number Italy, focusing mostly on semiotics and
from the experience of Kurdolato of reasons (including lack of docu- political economy. He is currently a
that the peaceful coexistence among ments of identification and nationality), Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at
mutual others can be a demanding cannot be immediately expelled from the University of Oregon, with his pri-
political and social project, and at the the country. The steady growth of the mary areas of interest in political theory
same time that it is a realistic goal, if phenomenon of clandestine immigra- and comparative politics. n
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 29

Turbulence Within the Cuban Diaspora in

South Florida
By Indira Rampersad

U nites States-Cuba policy has

varied significantly during the five
decades since the first waves of Cuban
immigrants came to the United States.
The disproportionate impact that the
earliest immigrants had on U.S.-Cuba
relations has created a deep social,
political and economic schism between
this group and the later waves. Though
these later migrants now constitute a
moderate majority in South Florida,
they nonetheless endure a double mar-
ginalization because of their alienation
at both the state and community levels.
I conclude by affirming that the 2008
transfer of power from Fidel Castro to
Ral Castro, combined with a reconfig-
uration of the power structure in South
Florida to which President Obama
seems poised to pander, signal that the Indira Rampersad
much anticipated radical change in U.S.
Cuba policy may not be forthcoming.
This article is part of a broader re- Cuban Migration to the United (Zebich-Knos and Nicol 2005). This first
search project examining U.S.-Cuba pol- wave of exiles began life anew in Miami,
icy from 1961-2006 (Rampersad 2007). States: 1959 to the Present
and by the end of the 1960s many had
Data were collected using a mixed begun to prosper. Wayne Smith, visiting
methods approach including content There are 1.3 million Cuban Ameri-
cans in the United States today, with professor at Johns Hopkins University
analysis of major American newspapers, and former Chief of the U.S. Interest
archival research on official documents, four major waves of Cuban immigra-
tion to the U.S. identified historically. Section in Havana (1979-1982), had
books, journals, newspapers, magazines been closely following the Cuban migra-
and websites and a series of unstructured The turning point in immigration to the
United States came with Fidel Castros tion waves to the U.S. He told me in an
and semi-structured elite interviews interview at his office at the Center for
conducted in the U.S. between 2005 and rise to power on January 1, 1959. Two
hundred thousand Cubans left for the International Policy in Washington D.C.
2006, and participant observation and in July 2005 that because of the influ-
interviews in Cuba and Florida during United States between 1959-1962, set-
ence of these early, wealthy immigrants,
the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Inter- tling primarily in Miami. Many of these
Cuba seems to have the same effect
viewees include scholars, leaders of both exiles were associated with the Ba-
on American administrations as the full
hard-line and moderate Cuban American tista dictatorship and were upper class
moon has on werewolves.
groups and their staff members, and Cubans. Most had lost everything to the
This first wave continued until 1973.
members of Congress and congressional Cuban Revolution and were angry with
Between 1965 and 1973, the U.S. gov-
staff. The 2005 interviewees were gener- the Castro governments policies. Others
ernment sponsored flights from Havana
ally contacted initially by email, some- favored reform of the corrupt old regime,
to Miami called the Freedom Flights.
times followed by a phone call to arrange but felt betrayed by the communist
An estimated 260,000 Cubans took
a face to face interview in Miami, New ideologies of the revolution. They were
advantage of this policy and emigrated.
York and Washington D.C. The 2006 and all hostile toward Fidel Castro and the
In the early years, these immigrants
2008 interviews were generally con- Cuban revolution and these sentiments
were the remnants of the social and
ducted via the phone from the University came to define the political or exile
economic elites and in later years much
of Florida. ideology of the Cuban community
30 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

of the Cuban middle class. Because of 1990 due to the economic crisis Cuba the antagonism of the hardline com-
cultural and family affinities, most of has been experiencing since the col- munity produce a double marginaliza-
these migrs settled in Miami, though lapse of the Soviet Union. The arduous tion syndrome of the generally ignored
some established a Cuban community conditions of the crossing resulted in moderate faction, relentlessly struggling
in Union City, New Jersey. Both com- 86 percent of the rafters being younger to repeal the embargo through warmer,
munities were led economically and than age 40; 20 per cent of these rafters friendlier relations.
politically by the oldest post-Castro women. The first group arrived in 1991 The second, third and fourth waves
exilesthose who were most strongly when the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted constitute a larger, non-elite, racially
opposed to the Castro regime. 2,203 Cuban rafters attempting to cross mixed sector of the community which
This first wave was considerably the Florida straights. However, the ma- migrated mainly for economic reasons.
different from subsequent waves, jority, consisting of about 31,500 left in They espouse a more centrist ideol-
comprising numerous professionals and a large-scale exodus between 7th August ogy and are more open to dialogue
business people, as well as the military and 14th September, 1994. Out of this with Cuba. They are deeply patriotic to
and administrative personnel associ- came a significant policy. To prevent a Cuba, and relations between members
ated with the previous Cuban regimes. situation of uncontrolled Cuban immi- of this generation and Cubans in Cuba
It had a relatively high educational gration, Clinton signed the U.S.-Cuban have been quite good, and improved in
level, surpassing the median for most Agreement of September 1994 in which the post-Cold War era. Members of this
immigrant communities. Strongest the U.S. agreed to admit 21,700 balseros group do not have much direct influence
opposition to Castros revolution came held in Guantnamo. The significance on official U.S. policy toward Cuba, but
from this group which harbored many of this is that the U.S. was unwilling to they have been able to foster substantial
hostile elements, including a few writ- accept Cuban migrants as refugees since relations with Cuba at a non-state or
ers and musicians who were opposed future rafters would be returned as illegal civil society level over time through
to Castros hardening cultural policy in aliens (De Vise and de Valle 2004). familial ties, remittances and humani-
the sixties. These early exiles organized The last wave consists of legal tarian organizations. Many members
under the powerful anti-Castroite, Jorge migrants. The airlift of 1965-1973 was of this group are members of moderate
Ms Canosa, who led an organiza- regularized and successful applicants organizations such as the Cuban Ameri-
tion known as the Cuban American were able to leave in accordance with can Commission for Family Rights, the
National Foundation (CANF) which quotas agreed to between 1981 and 1989 Cuban American Alliance Education
he founded in 1981 under the Reagan first by President Carter and later by Fund (CAAEF) and the Cuban Com-
administration. The members of CANF President Reagan. At the height of the mittee for Democracy. This wave of mi-
have been the most privileged of all the balsero crisis, Clinton agreed to admit no grants also seems more inclined toward
generations of exiles with regard to both less than 20,000 immigrants from Cuba rapprochement with Cuba, and prefers
wealth and as beneficiaries of the U.S. annually, not including the immediate a resolution to the bilateral conflict
governments generous assimilationist relatives of U.S. citizens. In 1995, 17,937 through negotiation and dialogue. Most
policies (Franklin 1993). Cuban were allowed into the U.S. and are opposed to the embargo, and are
The second wave of migrants came 26,466 arrived in 1996 (Wasem 2006). branded dialogueros (those willing to
in the Mariel boatlift of 1980 when negotiate) who are perceived as traitors
125,000 entered the U.S. These immi- Ideological Schism Within the to the exile community. Alfredo Durn
grants were poorer and darker than their Cuban American Community of the Cuban Committee for Democracy
predecessors. It is estimated that 40 commented from Miami in a phone
percent or 50,000 were blacks or mulat- The early wave of predominantly interview in 2006 that it is only in
tos. Some were sent as undesirables white, affluent, pro-embargo, anti- Miami that dialoguero is a derogatory
by the Cuban government and included Castro exiles continuously advocate word. Everyone else view dialogue and
the mentally challenged as well as some a hardline policy to Cuba. This is in discourse as something positive.
26,000 with criminal records. The U.S. sharp contrast to the later waves of Cuban Americans vary in their views on
government adjusted to this change by poorer, darker and moderate factions Cuba itself and relations between Cuba
being less welcoming to the marielitos. who advocated friendlier relations and and the exile community have been quite
To avoid a future mass immigration of more dialogue with Cuba. This schism good. Members of the predominantly
this nature, President Carter passed a has been widening because of the ex- white, elite sector who migrated mainly
Refugee Act which eliminated preferen- tremely close alliance between the small for ideological reasons constitute the bulk
tial treatment of people from communist hardline community and successive of the upper crust of the contemporary
states including Cuba, and placed a ceil- American administrations which have Cuban American community. They have
ing of 1000 on the number of refugees collaborated to consistently tighten the remained consistently hostile toward the
admitted from Cuba (Croucher 1997). embargo to the detriment of the larger Castro regime and they dream of invad-
The third wave consisted of 33,000 moderate faction, most of whom have ing the island in order to recover political
balseros or rafters who left Cuba after relatives in Cuba. These policies and power and property expropriated by the
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 31

Cuban government. Generally rightest in angered the community to the extent to Cuba to pressure the Castro regime
their political orientation, they are also that even former hardliners vocifer- but does not advocate restrictions on
economically and politically powerful. ously reject them. Amongst these is Joe family travel.
They constitute the force which backed Garca, former Executive Director of the However, this softeningof his hard-
the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. They once rabidly extremist Cuban American line position was counteracted by the
are also well organized politically and National Foundation (CANF), which rise of Jeb Bush as Governor of Florida
have managed to retain a lock on U.S. is now packaging itself as a moderate in 1998. Several analysts and anti-em-
policy that influences successive Ameri- organization. During my 2006 interview bargo activists attribute the recent tight-
can administration to legislate hard-line with Joe Garca (who is still a member of ening of the embargo to the fact that Jeb
policies against Cuba, particularly on CANF), he outlined the new contours of is the brother of President George Bush
election years. the realpolitik of Calle Ocho, traditional- and a close ally of the hardline Cuban
The ideological conflict between the ly the seedbed of anti-Castro activities in American community. Max Castro,
groups is being played out at both the na- Miami: Were not single-issue anymore, referring to the handful of powerful
tional and community level in the United and we care about much more than just hardliners, asserted in our July 2005
States leading to direct confrontation the embargo. He affirmed that some interview in Miami that a tiny dog is
between moderate and hard-line Cuban Cuban Americans are stuck in Cold War wagging a very big tail in Miami. The
Americans. This conflict has intensified politics as reflected in the Elin drama confrontation with Lincoln Daz-Balart
in recent times as moderate Cuban Amer- but the American public has moved past was only one public incident in a politi-
icans vigorously protest recent measures the Cold War. cal drama that will climax when new
to tighten the embargo legislated via the The 2004 restrictions on family travel generation Cuban Americans and those
2004 and 2006 Reports of the Commis- resulted in a heated confrontation be- who migrated after 1980 come to full
sion for Assistance to a Free Cuba. tween an angry, protesting Cuban Ameri- political maturity as they register and
can mob and Representative Lincoln vote in the next decade. It seems that
U.S.-Cuba Policy in the Post- Cold Daz-Balart at the Miami International the cracks within the community are
War Era airport on June 29th, the day before the widening as former Republican sup-
new travel restrictions to Cuba kicked in. porters slowly turn away. In our 2006
In December, 2003, the first Com- When the protesters spotted Daz-Balart, interview, Silvia Wilhelm who founded
mission for Assistance was established they pursued him to the parking lot and the Cuban American Commission for
by the Bush administration. The Com- spilled their venom as he stood beside his Family Rights reiterated that, it is
missions first report was published in car. Youre dividing families! one per- highly likely that soon the issue of the
May 2004, proposing new restrictions son yelled amid a frenzy of shouts and family will supersede the issue of the
on family, academic and cultural travel intense finger-pointing (Nielsen 2004). embargo. Wilhelm and her organiza-
to Cuba ( Described as Joe Garcas actions are further evidence tion have even launched frontal attacks
the dumbest policy in the face of the of a softening in attitudes within CANF on Daz-Balart for his role in the 2004
earth (Heuvel 2004), the report met toward U.S. Cuba policy and increasing family restrictions to Cuba (Lovato
with a barrage of protests from both antagonism toward hardliners. Using the 2004). Incidentally, Daz-Balarts father,
American and Cuban American citizens vigilant media to full advantage on that Don Rafael, was married to Fidel Cas-
who were especially incensed with its fateful June afternoon, Garca blamed tros sister, making the rabidly right-
proposals for renewed restrictions on Daz-Balart for giving bad consul to winged congressional brothers, Lincoln
family and academic travel and remit- President Bush on the 2004 restrictions and Mario Daz-Balart, the nephews of
tances. The members of the Commis- on family travel (Nielsen 2004). el Comandante, Fidel, himself.
sion included leading Cuban Americans The formation of the Cuban Lib- In 2004, President Bush arrived at
in the Bush administration, namely, Dan erty Council, the breakaway faction of the Miami Arena to deliver a speech
Fisk, fellow staff member of former CANF, was in direct response to the aimed at rallying support among older,
staff member, Jesse Helms, and Jose actions of members like Joe Garca, more conservative Cuban Americans.
Cardenas, ex-employee of the Cuban who resigned as Executive Director of Instead, he was greeted outside where
American National Foundation. The CANF and opted to campaign for the a group of younger, highly educated
Commission did not receive the flurry Democratic Party in the 2004 elections. twenty-, thirty- and forty-something
of media attention as did the 1992 Cu- The move was perceived by the New Cuban American protesters who came
ban Democracy Act and the 1996 Helms York Times as a signal of political diver- to speak truths to power. Lustily waving
Burton Law . However, several newly sification of Cuban Americans (Aguayo American and Cuban flags and placards
formed and existing groups protested 2004). Garca admitted in our Miami saying Bush: Dont Divide the Cuban
the measures and continue to voice their interviews in 2005 and 2006 that CANF Family were members of groups such
displeasure with the new measures. is not monolithic and the members have as Cuban Americans for Change and the
The 2004 restrictions on family travel, varying views on U.S. Cuba policy. He Cuban American Commission for Fam-
parcel deliveries and remittances have himself supports the sanctions on trade ily Rights, which oppose the travel and
32 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

remittance restrictions with the same members who are ailing. The Human better
passionate fervor as the hardliners in Rights Watch website (http://www.hrw. cuba1005/index.htm).
their relentless quest to topple the Cas- org/reports/2005/cuba1005/index.htm) Romero could no longer visit with
tro regime via the embargo. For these includes a host of poignant examples of the new restrictions. Her last trip was
moderates, the family crisis has sup- families hurt by this policy. For example, in May 2004, so she was not allowed
planted the embargo. The result is that Saray Gmez had visited her family to visit again until 2007. In effect, the
the 46 year embargo that has been ce- before her father died in January 2004, regulations prevented her from send-
mented by exile patriarchs and ex-CIA but is now forbidden from visiting her ing money for his medical care. She
operatives is beginning to unglue and mother who is also seriously ill. Several could send remittances to members of
there are visible cracks in the icy wall other Cuban Americans had visited Cuba her immediate family, but the only
which once characterized exile politics. earlier have to wait three years to return. relative in Cuba who fit that definition
Yet, in some cases, the ice is beginning In another case, Nelson Espinoza told was her father who was too ill cash
to melt as reflected in the softening of Human Rights Watch that I cant wait checks or sign them over to someone
ideological position of prominent mem- three years to see my sister, who is in a else. Under the 2004 regulations, her
bers of CANF such as Joe Garca and very delicate condition, because I dont nephew did not qualify as a member of
its leader, Jorge Mas Santos. know whats going to happen. Simi- her family. It also became much more
The new restrictions have resulted larly, Lorena Vasquez, who visited Cuba difficult and expensive to send supplies
in a tense relationship between Cuban in 2004, was very concerned about her as it became harder to find other people
American civil society and the state. sister who had cancer. Its likely I wont traveling to Cuba and willing to carry
Amongst those most affected are chari- see her again, Lorena Vasquez said. goods for her. Romeros absence was
ties. The Cuba-America Jewish Mis- She wont last three years. acutely felt by her nephew and his wife.
sion, in Berkeley, California, can no For many moderate Cuban Ameri- After the restrictions, the nephew told
longer send youth groups to Cuba as cans, the issue is not so much about Human Rights Watch, I was alone with
part of its program to strengthen ties be- saying goodbye to a family member the old man and my husband was in
tween American and Cuban Jews. June as helping him/her to live. As Human charge of going and finding what medi-
Safran, Executive Director, is quoted as Rights Watch affirms, one of the pri- cines he could. We were waiting for
saying that young people who traveled mary objectives of these family visits is Mari to come. But she couldnt come
to Cuba before the Treasury Department to provide ailing relatives in Cuba with and she couldnt send the Pampers and
changed the rules in 2004 learned valu- money and medical supplies. The 2004 the medicines. So we had to endure
able lessons: The children were more restrictions have made it increasingly rough times. After several months, they
serious about their education and more difficult for Cuban Americans to send began to run out of diapers and basic
tolerant of people because in Cuba they remittances and supplies through couri- medical supplies, such as iodine and
learned that what you owned did not in- ers. Sandra Snchez had been sending hydrogen peroxide, which they needed
dicate what your class was. Rather, your medicine to her father, who had cancer, to clean his bed sores http://www.hrw.
position in society was determined by every month. She later realized long org/reports/2005/cuba1005/index.htm).
what you could achieve (Perry 2006). delays in its arrival because the number Delvis Fernndez who heads the
The most contentious issue, however, of people traveling had been reduced. Cuban American Alliance Education
seems to be restrictions imposed on fam- In relating the sad story of Marisela Fund (CAAEF) told me in our phone
ily travel remittances and parcels to Cuba Romero and her ailing father, Human interviews in 2006 and 2008 that he
which many challengers, both American Rights Watch (2005), notes that Romero actually became proactive in resisting
and Cuban American, view as a flagrant left Cuba in 1992. After both her mother the embargo because of the restrictions
abuse of fundamental human rights. With and sister died in 2002, her cousin and imposed on him and many of his fellow
the new restrictions, relatives can only his wife were the only remaining rela- Cuban Americans in visiting Cuba. I
visit once every three years and visits are tives who could take care of her ailing wanted to visit an elderly relative but the
limited to immediate family parents, father. Romero hired two helpers and new laws prevented me from doing so
children, siblings, and grandparents. made frequent trips to Cuba so that she he asserted. It is rather ironic that the
Cousins, aunts and uncles, nephews and could pay them, bring money and sup- embargo should be tightening in the post-
nieces are excluded. plies, and, perhaps provide her father Cold War era when Cuba no longer poses
On these grounds, Human Rights with the love and care he so desperately a security threat to the United States.
Watch joined the torrent of protests needed. Whenever she came he be- An irate Alvaro Fernndez, President
and interviewed a number of Cuban came very contented, Marisol Claraco, of the Cuban American Commission for
Americans who expressed their outrage her nephews wife, told Human Rights Family Rights, told me in our interview
at the inhumane regulations which Watch. Because even though he had in Miami in July 2005 that the Bush
are entirely inadequate for people Alzheimer, he knew who she was. Administration was the first in U.S. his-
with relatives in poor health, and even She would lie next to him and talk to tory that deemed itself fit to define what
worse for those with multiple family him, and he would feel her love and get comprised a family. A Cuban family at
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 33

that. I can assure you that the measures with restrictions on academic travel and trade. Interestingly, Barack Obama pre-
made every Commission members humanitarian aid such as such as the sented an almost identical position on
blood boil over. He was supported by Emergency Network of Cuban Ameri- May, 2008, during the heat of his elec-
Silvia Wilhelm, founder and Executive can Scholars and Artists. Anti-embargo tion campaign in Miami. Obama echoed
Director of the organization, who in our activism amongst both new and existing Garca when he said that he would seek
phone interview in December, 2006, organizations have also increased in an immediate change in policy to al-
described the measures as anti-family, protest of the new restrictions. low for unlimited family visitation and
un-American and anti-Cuban. remittances to the island.
The restrictions have released an Post-Script: U.S.-Cuban Relations Yet, Obamas policy on Cuba seems
avalanche of indignation and angry After Fidel Castro and ambivalent at best. Despite his overt op-
outbursts amongst the Cuban American position to the embargo, Obama declared
community, incensed that the American George W. Bush that I will maintain the embargo. It
government should decide who their provides us with the leverage to present
immediate family is. The turbulence in The glacial confrontation between the regime with a clear choice: if you
South Florida concretely materialized old and newer waves of Cuban Ameri- take significant steps toward democracy,
into a storm of protests when on 27th cans continue as the administration beginning with the freeing of all politi-
April, 2005, more than 700 Americans makes way for the first African-Amer- cal prisoners, we will take steps to begin
traveled from thirty five states to partici- ican President of the United States, normalizing relations I promise to
pate in what they called a Cuba Action the Democrat, Barak Obama. I have pave the road to freedom for all Cubans
Day in Washington D.C. (www.people- been writing a regular column for the by securing justice for Cubas political It was a day of advoca- Trinidad Sunday Guardian, with articles prisoners, the rights of free speech, a free
cy on Capitol Hill organized to demand that assess the potential changes in both press and freedom of assembly; and it
that Congress end the Cuba travel ban the Cuban and U.S. administrations and must lead to elections that are free and
that divides families, denies Americans the implications for U.S. Cuba policy fair (Moynihan 2008). So this would not
their fundamental right to travel and free under the new presidencies of Barak come without preconditions since Obama
access to humanitarian support, harms Obama and Ral Castro, throughout would only accept libertad (freedom)
Cubans, restricts a market important to the 2008 election year. Even before for the captive nation of Cuba.
American farmers and impedes the cre- the 2008 election campaign, there was On the other side of the Florida
ation of American jobs. The participants growing speculation that the new voice Straits, Ral Castro announced potential
also included over 100 Cuban Ameri- of the moderate majority, the impending changes underscoring the need to boost
cans who are angered by restrictions on demise of the older, right-winged con- salaries and raise domestic food produc-
family visits. The activists were joined servative generation (including a visible tion to substitute for massive increases in
by several Congressmen and Senators softening of attitude within CANF), and the world price for basic food products
including Senators Bacchus and Enzi and the transfer of power from Fidel Castro Cuba imports. These changes have been
Representatives Flake and Delahunt. The to Ral Castro suggested potential very slow in coming and Cubans are not
Days activities was sponsored by the change. Thus, the icy walls around very hopeful that they will materialize
Center for International Policy, the Latin South Floridas ideological battles may even as their own demands for imported
American Working Group, The Washing- soon crumble leaving behind the rubble consumer goods increase. Since 2006,
ton Office on Latin America and fifteen of old exile politics in a new political Acting President, Ral Castro, had
other organizational co-sponsors (www. and sociological configuration. expressed hopes for normalization of The 2008 election campaign brought relations with the United States. Toward
But the protests seem to have fallen into stark relief the reconfiguration of the end of January 2009, both brothers
on deaf ears. As if to add fuel to the the power structure in South Florida. Fidel and Ral Castro had kind words for
fire, in July 2006, the Commission for Prominent members of the of the former Obama. Fidel Castro told the Argentine
Assistance to a Free Cuba issued a right-winged CANF supported the President, Cristina Hernndez de Kirsch-
93-page second report which attempts Democratic party. Indeed, Joe Garca, ner, that Obama not only had a very
to counteract perceptions that the first the former Executive Director of good background as a political leader,
report was nothing but an American CANF, was the Democratic candidate but also that he was a man he saw as be-
occupation plan. The recommendations for the U.S. House of Representatives ing absolutely sincere. For Ral Castro,
include a budget of $80 million for the in Floridas 25th congressional district, Obama seems to be a good man; I wish
next two years to ensure a transition running against incumbent hardliner, him luck, but added that Obama may
rather than a succession of Cuban Republican Mario Daz-Balart An inter- be raising hopes to high (http://www.
leadership ( The report view with Joe Garca in August, 2006
has been provoking intense criticism revealed that he was in full support Barak Obama was just inaugurated
from several Cuban American and of the removal of U.S. restrictions on as President on 20th January, 2009,
humanitarian organizations concerned family travel and remittances but not on and it is yet to be seen whether he will
34 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

initiate relaxation of the embargo. It is cafc/rpt/2006/c18232.htm, ac- U.S., Making Up Is Hard To Do.
still uncertain if and how he can sway cessed December 9, 2007, accessed Star Tribune. Electronic docu-
the three hardline Republican candi- December 9, 2007. ment,
dates, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Mario nation/38155294.html, accessed
and Lincoln Daz-Balart, each of whom Croucher, Sheila L. February 6, 2009.
retained their congressional district in 1997 Imagining Miami. Ethnic
the 2008 elections. In short, the much Politics in a Postmodern World. Rampersad, Indira
touted changes in U.S. Cuba policy Charlottesville: University Press of 2007 Down With the Embargo:
including complete removal of restric- Virginia. Social Movements, Contentious
tions on family travel, remittances and Politics and U.S. Cuba Policy
trade under an Obama presidency may De Vise Daniel and Elane de Valle (1960-2006). Ph.D dissertation.
be longer in coming than is expected by 2004 Cuban balseros helped change Department of Political Science,
the newer waves or moderate majority the political flavor of Florida. University of Florida.
of Cuban Americans. Cubanet.
CNews/y04/sep04/03e12.htm, ac- Wasem, Ruth Ellen
References cessed February 7, 2009. 2006 Cuban Migration Policy and
Issues. CRS Report for Congress.
Aguayo, Terry Franklin, Jane Electronic document, http://
2006 Exile Leader in Miami Join 1993 The Cuba Obsession. The
Democrats. New York Times. Progressive. Electronic document, crs/permalink/meta-crs-9147:1,
Electronic document, http://canf. accessed February 7, 2009.
org/2004/1in/noticias-FNCA/2004- homepages/JBFranklins/canf.htm,
sep-02-exile%20leader.htm, ac- accessed January 29, 2009. Zebich-Knos, Michele and Nicol,
cessed February 7, 2009. Heather Nora
Heuvel, Katrina Vanden 2005 Foreign Policy Toward Cuba:
Author Unknown 2004 The Dumbest Policy. The Isolation Or Engagement? Lexing-
2005 Cuba Action Day April Nation. Electronic document, ton Books.
27. People for Change. Elec-
tronic document, http://www. edcut/1440/the_dumbest_policy, Indira Rampersad was born in the accessed February 5, 2009. Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
php?showtopic=22482, accessed She holds a Bachelors degree in
February 6, 2009. Lovato, Roberto Language and Literature, a Master
2004 Rocking the Cuban Vote. The of Philosophy in Latin American
Author Unknown Nation. Electronic document, http:// Literature, a graduate diploma in
2005 Families Torn Apart. The High International Relations and a Master
Cost of U.S. and Cuban Travel Re- lovato, accessed November 8, of Philosophy in International Rela-
strictions. Human Rights Watch 17:5. 2006. tions, all from the University of the
West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Bulmer-Thomas, Victor and James Moynihan, Michael C. She has been a political columnist for
Dunkerly 2008 Obamas Overlooked Cuba the Trinidad Guardian and Trinidad
1999 The United States and Latin Speech. Reasononline. Electronic Express newspapers and currently
America: The New Agenda. Lon- document, writes a regular column for the Trini-
don: Institute of Latin American news/show/126750.html, accessed dad Sunday Guardian and the New
Studies February 7, 2009. York based Guyana Journal. She has
been awarded two Fulbright scholar-
Commission for Assistance to a Free Nielsen, Kirk ships for study in the U.S. one of which
Cuba 2004 Politics and Policy. Miami facilitated the pursuit of her Doctor of
2004 Report to the President. Elec- New Times. Electronic docu- Philosophy in Political Science which
tronic document. http://www.cafc. ment, http://www.miaminewtimes. she attained from the University of
gov/cafc/rpt/2004/c18166.htm, com/2004-07-29/news/politics- Florida, Gainesville in 2007. Her
accessed June 10, 2005. and-policy/, accessed December 2, main research focus is on U.S Cuba
2006. policy. Dr. Rampersad is currently
Commission for Assistance to a Free employed as Lecturer in Political
Cuba Price, Niko Science/International Relations at
2006 Report to the President. Electronic 2009 Castro Brothers Have Nice the University of the West Indies, St.
document, Words for Obama But for Cuba- Augustine, Trinidad. n
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 35

We Find Ourselves in the Middle: Navajo

Relocation and Relocatee-Host Conflicts
By Orit Tamir 2,940 households, and of more than
10,000 Navajos. This has been the largest

O nly relatively recently have human forced relocation of American citizens

migration and resettlement processes in the United States since the World War
been studied in an effort to understand, II period incarceration of over 110,000
in depth, the effects of resettlement on people of Japanese ancestrymost of
the relocatees and their hosts. This paper whom were American citizens.
focuses on the relations between Navajo Navajos and Hopis lived side by side
relocates from the Former Joint Use Area, in the Black Mesa region of northern
their initial relations with their Navajo Arizona for centuries. The 16th Century
reservation hosts, the various disputes Spanish arrival to the Southwest, the
that ensued, followed by 20 years later regional slave trade, and the Navajo
comments on the long term impacts of pastoral lifestyle compelled scores of
the land dispute and the forced relocation. Navajo people to move closer to Hopi
This paper than examines the Navajo case villages. Land disputes between the pas-
in the context of forced relocations cases toral Navajos and the dry farming Hopis
from around the world. flared up from time to time. Alterca-
tions over land increased in frequency
after President Chester Arthur signed an
Executive Order on December 16, 1882
setting aside approximately 2.5 million
On a cold rainy October 1987 day
acres of land for the use and occupan-
I was driving my Cutlass 442 toward Orit Tamir
cy of the Moqui (Hopi) and such other
Pinon, Arizona (the Navajo Reservation).
Indians as the Secretary of the Interior
At the Hopi Cultural Center I turned into
may see fit to settle thereon. The state
the Oraibi road that on that particular day
of affairs was exacerbated with expan- District Six. Due to increasing tensions
turned into a soup of clay-mud. Cursing
sions of the Navajo reservation. By between the two tribes, Congress passed
in a number of languages, I asked my-
1934 the Navajo reservation completely the Navajo and Hopi Rehabilitation Act
self, why dont they (whoever they are)
surrounds the 1882 Executive Order (P.L. 85-740) in 1950 that was intended
pave this road? What on earth am I doing
Area (EOA). Navajo living on the EOA to promote cooperation between the
here? (Field notes, October 30, 1987). This
gradually outnumbered the Hopi, a fac- tribes by providing federal funding for
was my introduction to consequences of
tor that widened the scope of local land the construction of infrastructure includ-
the Navajo-Hopi land dispute that resulted
disputes (Tamir 1999:71). ing roads, hospitals, radio and tele-
in the forced relocation of over 10,000
Land disputes intensified in the phone communications. The Act also
Navajo people. I lived in Pinon for a little
1940s as a result of an action taken by authorized funds for the development
over two and a half years. I never really
the Secretary of the Interior pursuant of off-reservation employment oppor-
went away. I have continued to visit the
to the Indian Reorganization Act 4. tunities for members of both tribes and
people who became my fictive kin, partici-
The Secretary established 21 Grazing for the continuing relocation of Navajo
pate in their ceremonies, and have recently
Districts on the two reservations (the and Hopi people to the Colorado River
concluded a study on a four-year cycle of
Navajo reservation and the EOA) for Indian Reservation. By 1957 hopes
the Sun Dance in Pinon. My frequent vis-
livestock control and to improve range for cooperation and amicable resolu-
its provided me with ample opportunities
management and soil conservation. Dis- tion of land disputes between the two
to personally observe changes and visit
trict Six, comprised of about 631,000 peoples had evaporated. The Hopi Tribe
with friends and acquaintances.
acres, was identified as an exclusive sought and got legislation from Con-
Hopi district located in the south-central gress, Public Law 85-547, authorizing
Roots of the Navajo-Hopi portion of the 1882 EOA. In essence, both tribes to sue one another for title
Land Dispute that was the first partitioning of the to the 1882 EOA. On August 1, 1958,
EOA. All remaining districts were as- the Hopi Tribe sued the Navajo Tribe
The Navajo-Hopi land dispute had signed to the Navajo Tribe. The Hopi under the authority of P.L. 85-547the
led to the involuntary relocation of over Tribe protested the establishment of case is known as Healing V. Jones. In
36 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

1962, a U.S. District Court in Prescott, The Act ordered equal partitioning of households in Pinon. Eleven of these
Arizona ruled that the Navajo and Hopi the JUA between the Navajo and Hopi households provided home-sites to re-
tribes have undivided equal rights to the tribes and the relocation of people resid- locatee households who lost their entire
surface and subsurface of the EOA with ing on land partitioned to the other tribe. customary land use area.
the exception of District Six (which It also established the Navajo and Hopi Pinon relocatees were relatively
remained exclusively Hopi). The area Relocation Commission (Commission) young; with a median age of 18.3 years,
outside of District Six became known as as the executive arm. The relocation and the average education attainment of
the Joint Use Area (JUA). was supposed to be completed in 1986. 7.7 years. Most reloacees were fluent in
Following the court decision a series Instead it has been limping along for ad- both English and Navajo, but older relo-
of initiatives by the Hopi Tribe aimed at ditional twenty odd years. After years of catees spoke only Navajo, and a number
protecting the JUAs grazing resources delays Senator John McCain (Arizona) of children spoke only English. Most re-
resulted in a sequence of federal actions introduced a bill that resulted in a 2006 locatees described themselves as tradi-
that had serious consequences for the amendment to the Land Settlement tional. While at the time of the research
unemployment in Pinon was higher than
that of the wider Navajo reservation, the
rates of employment and income among

Traditional territorial buffers between residence relocatees were ogenerally higher than
the norm in Pinon, a tribute to their rela-
tive employability (younger with higher
groups that have been an integral part of Navajo settle- education attainment) vis--vis the rest
of the population in the community.
ment pattern, all but disappeared for relocatees who lost Some relocatees felt that their kin-
hosts were reluctant to provide them
their entire traditional land use area. Disappearance of with one acre home-sites due their own
restricted land base. A young relocate
these buffers often resulted in host-relocatee land disputes explained:

My aunt sort of did not want to let

that ranged from verbal assaults, through vandalism, to

people move here because she had
sheep and horses grazing here. We
physical violence. had no place to move and we had
to move. Finally, she said OK and
signed the papers.

socio-economic fabric of Navajos living Act that calls for the completion of the Another relocatee recalled a similar
in the JUA. On July 1, 1966, the Bureau relocation by September 30, 2008. experience:
of Indian Affairs froze all residential,
commercial, and infrastructural devel- Navajo Relocatee-Host Disputes The Commission just move you
opments in the JUA unless the Hopi out (of HPL) and thats it. You
Tribe approved them. In 1972 proceed- The Relocatees have no place to go except this
ings, an Arizona District Court ordered Seventy-one Navajo households were one acre. You know, it seems I got
drastic reduction of Navajo livestock originally slated to relocate to Pinon. stuck right here in this one acre.
and restricted construction in the JUA to At the time of my initial ethnographic Dela Bahe (the host) still thinks
developments approved by both tribes. fieldwork (October 1987 through De- that she can run her sheep and
These actions failed to resolve the land cember 1990) 47 relocatee households goats and come into my house any
dispute. After a series of congressional (171 individuals) had already relocated time she wants. She acts as if this
hearings, the U.S. Congress passed, to Pinon. Twenty-seven households house is hers.
on December 22, 1974, Public Law (57%) were relocated in five group
93-531the Navajo and Hopi Indian moves (Navajo families that have relo- Traditional territorial buffers be-
Land Settlement Act (the Act). The Act cated as a unit from Hopi Partition Land tween residence groups that have been
intended to facilitate a settlement of all (HPL) to Navajo Partition Land (NPL) an integral part of Navajo settlement
of the rights and interests of the Navajo and whose replacement homes are pattern, all but disappeared for relo-
and Hopi Tribes in the JUA and was within close proximity). I interviewed catees who lost their entire traditional
subsequently amended in 1980 (P.L. members of all relocatee households, as land use area. Disappearance of these
96-305), 1988 (P.L. 100-166), 1991 well as members of 293 other house- buffers often resulted in host-relocatee
(P.L. 102-180) and 1995 (P.L. 104-15). holds73% of the total number of land disputes that ranged from verbal
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 37

assaults, through vandalism, to physical use area retained at least some of their infrastructure electricity was available
violence. A middle age relocatee blamed traditional territorial buffers and did to only 38% of the households in Pinon
the disputes on the relocation: not experience disputes with members and indoor plumbing was available to
of the host community. only 18%.
There are Navajos who hate Most hosts homes were located in
us. We found ourselves in the The Hosts the outlying areas of Pinon. The homes
middle, unwanted by the Hopi The host families in Pinon were were small, only six had electricity, and
and by Navajo relatives of ours. typically close kin of relocatees who none had running water. A host who was
We (relocatees and hosts) have provided home sites for them. Like in her seventies lived in a tiny one room
the same blood, but why hate other JUA residents, host families ex- cabin about 10 miles from a paved road,
each other. It is not right. At the perienced the impacts of the livestock had no electricity, no running water,
present time it is the same. We reduction, construction freeze, and and no form of transportation provided
do not visit with relatives, the other related hardships. Eleven host several home sites for a group move of
hate still continues. I hear a lot families provided one acre home-sites relocatees. She was bitter that she herself
of bad words about us, but I just from their own cultural land use areas did not qualify for relocation home:
let it be and do not bother with to each of the relocatee households.
it. Our hosts also complain about They were not compensated for the I was told to move out of this area
our livestock. They say you re- land they provided. On the contrary, (HPL) long before the reloca-
locatees already got new hous- some were forced to further reduce tion begun, and I did. Later, my
es. But we cannot even herd their livestock holdings to fit the new application was turned down I
sheep around here. Our relatives carrying capacity of their grazing land, moved here because my old home
tell us not to use the land for or to otherwise accommodate reloca- in the other sheep camp, over the
grazing. At times we are even tees grazing needs. (HPL) fence, was burned down by
scared to go out to improve our Hosts were typically elderlyall some drunks.
living conditions, so we just stay but one were in their sixties or older.
in one place. We brought with us All host households were headed by She complained that not only the relo-
only a few sheep from our previ- women, authenticating both womens catees do not help her with daily chores,
ous home. They want us to take place in traditional Navajo social hier- but they asked her to pay for rides and
our sheep somewhere else ad not archy and their customary rights to the for helping her hauling wood and coal:
graze around here. Some of our land. A host explained:
relatives turned against us, no They (relocatees) were crying
communication with them. That relocation house, the woman to me saying that they are going
from that house is married into the to be taken away. They are all
Another relocatee complained about family. That why it was decided my youngest sisters children.
vandalism that she attributed to the host that a house should be built there. So I signed (the home site lease)
family: They asked me if they could have papers for them. They only look
a house built for them there and at me from inside their big homes
We do not get along very well I approved. The other relocation all day.
(with the hosts) because we are house over there, the man is my
having problems. They broke our oldest brothers grandchild, so he In one case the hosts, an elderly
window frames in the living room. calls me shinali (paternal grand- woman and her daughter, insisted that
The problems started when the (re- mother). He said that he wanted they were not aware that relocatees
location) house was built. Before to move because the Hopi were would be sharing their customary land
that they wanted very much that forcing people out of the land over use area as well as occupying the one
we move out here. The Commis- there, where he lived with his wife acre they had provided:
sion said that when we move they near her relatives. I told him too
(hosts) will probably get running to go ahead and have a relocation They (relocatees) never let me
water and electricity. But once the house built for them over there. know that they are going to move
house was completed, the prob- here. Even though I am his sister
lems started. Elderly Navajo hosts who lived alone it does not mean he can just go
expected the younger relocatees to help ahead and move. I live in this Ho-
Relocatees who did not experi- them in daily tasks. They also antici- gan ((traditional Navajo octagonal
ence disputes still felt crowded: my pated that utility services promised to one-room home) near their new
neighbors are good to us, but we are relocatees would also extend to their house since I was twenty-one. But
too close to one another. Those who homes. This was significant since after they (relocatees) told me this is
moved within their traditional land years of freeze on construction and mine, you stay away from here. I
38 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

hope one day they will move away on human populations bring to the fore to off-reservation boarding schools or
from here. a wide range of mixed results. On one move to Flagstaff or even Phoenix in
hand are claims of increased multi-di- order to provide their children with
The case developed into a long and mensional stress, substance abuse, and better education. More recently a full
bitter dispute. The elderly host was very the breakup of families. On the other service Indian Health Service clinic and
unhappy with the relocatees, which in- hand, are new employment opportuni- associated housing opened in December
clude the family of her married brother ties, improved housing, improved infra- 2006.
who moved from another community structure, and revitalization of beliefs According to the 2000 census, there
where they lived on the customary and practices. are 1,190 people living in Pinon, 92%
land use area of his wifes familyas The single most important compo- of the population is Native American
customary in Navajo tradition. Since nent determining the present status of (46.3% under the age of 18). Most of
relocation, her brother separated from Pinon is the fact that the chapter lies this population was born and raised in
his wife and moved out. She recalled: within the former JUA. Compared to Pinon and vicinity and many house-
other chapters on the Navajo reserva- holds are still widely dispersed, the
Houses built for relocatees are tion, Pinon is remote and populated by result of Navajo traditional land use pat-
on one acre lots and they have no very traditional Navajos. One paved terns. The average household size in the
right to use other land. We have road, Navajo Route 4, connects Pinon community is 4.7. Most Pinon families
the right to use the land, our birth with neighboring chapters and with live in small wood-frame houses and in
places are on this land. We hear the Agency Town of Chinle, Arizona. hogans (traditional Navajo octagonal or
other relocatees fighting with The rest of the roads are graded and round Navajo homes) which they build
people over land. We still fight un-graded dirt roads notorious for their themselves. Many homes are over-
with her (daughter-in-law). Just ruts and wash board surface during crowded, have cement or dirt floors,
recently we lost our sheep herd. dry months. After rain or snow these and some still lack electricity or indoor
We found out that one of her sons roads often become impassible due to plumbing. Most households use wood
took them up to the mountains. mud or flash floods. There is visible and coal for heating, and butane for
My daughter asked me to go with evidence of, and lots of complaints cooking. When possible, homes are situ-
her to check it out because she about, drinking of alcohol and of hair ated along the major paved and graded
was afraid to go alone. When the spray. There is also a marked rise in dirt roads, along school-bus routes, and
boy was away from the house we substance abuse, especially metham- parallel to power lines. The median
went to check where the sheep phetamine, and problems associated income of a household is $19,271. Of
were. The next thing we know, with youth gangs have been spun out Pinons population, 52.1% is under the
she [daughter-in-law] was running as well. The Sun Dance movement on poverty line. Out of the total population,
toward us with a big rock. Before the Navajo reservation, that was ini- 54.7% of those under the age of 18 and
we could even move she hit the tially a reaction to the forced relocation 100% of those 65 and older live below
windshield of our new truck near from the JUA, spread to Pinon where the poverty line. The rate of Navajos
the place where my daughter was its focus is on addressing youth related living below the poverty level is the
sitting. I hope that one day they substance abuse and gang problems highest in the U.S., even among Ameri-
will move out to a place they will (Tamir 2006). can Indians.
feel comfortable at and that every- The hub of political and administra-
thing will be healed. tive activities is Pinon village. Locat- The Context
ed there are the chapter house, a senior
In another incident the hosts daughter citizens center, a post office, a gas sta- Major development project such as
was herding sheep not far away from tion, a mini strip-mall (a supermarket, the construction of the Kariba Dam in
her uncles relocation home when sud- a Laundromat, and three other outlets), Zambia, the Aswan Dam in Egypt, and
denly shots were fired in the airshe the Bureau of Indian Affairs dormitory, Three Gorges Dam on Chinas Yangze
was scared and run away. She charged three missions (Catholic, Presbyterian, River produce major environmental
that the relocatees sold their land and Mormon), Navajo Housing project, and disturbances, promises of anticipated
way of life for a new big house echoed few Navajo homes. Most of the busi- benefits, and the forced relocation of
the sentiments of some other Pinon resi- nesses opened during the mid 1990s. local populationsall for the public
dents who did not provide home sites Also during the 1990s Pinons K-9 good (Hansen and Oliver-Smith 1982;
for relocatees. public school was expanded to include Goldsmith and Hilyard 1986; Scudder
a high school, a much needed develop- 1973; Cernea 1999). Natural disasters
Pinon Twenty-Years Later ment that eased the burden of children such as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
spending hours every days en-route to that caused widespread devastation
Long term cultural, behavioral and eco- and fro Chinle High School. Still, some leaving an estimated 230,000 people
nomic consequences of forced relocation parents prefer sending their children dead and scores homeless, the 2005
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY 39

Hurrican Katrina where at least 1,836 Conclusions Scudder, Thayar

people lost their lives also forced scores 1973 The Human Ecology of Big
of people to relocate, and the 2008 It has been 20 years since I first arrived Projects: River Basin Develop-
Cyclone Nargis that may result in the to Pinon on that dreary and wet October ment and Resettlement, Annual
death of as many as 100,000 people day. Since then some of the relocatees and Review of Anthropology, 2:45-
in Myanmar (Burma) also left about all the hosts have passed on. Children of 61.
1.5 million people without provision
of clean water, sanitation, and homes.
Armed conflicts such as the Arab-Israeli
dispute, the war in Iraq, and the Darfur
conflict in western Sudan resulted in the
displacement of millions of people. The
forced relocation that resulted from the
The Navajo-Hopi land dispute has played out for over
Navajo-Hopi land dispute is unique: it more than 100 years, with multiple missed opportunities
is not part of a development project, it
did not result from a natural disaster,
and it is not an outcome of an armed
and deadlines for conflict resolution.
conflict. It is primarily the result of a
land dispute between two tribes. The
Navajo Nation was primarily interested
in avoiding massive relocation of its relocatees are in limbothe forced relo- Tamir, Orit
people. cation of their parents left them with no 1999 What Happened to Navajo Re-
The Navajo-Hopi land dispute has cultural land use rights of their own. They locatees from Hopi Partition Lands
played out for over more than 100 are landless in a culture where being in Pinon? American Indian Culture
years, with multiple missed oppor- Navajo is directly tied to ones cultural and Research Journal 23 (4).
tunities and deadlines for conflict land use area. Some of them live in Na- 2000 Assessing Success / Failure
resolution. A close look reveals that vajo Housing Authority homes in Pinons of Relocation, Human Organi-
the federal government created a legal version of a project; few moved into zation, 59(2). Are Living Her
dispute when it created the EOA for the land using area of their spouses; and, DreamsThe Sacred Mountains
the Hopi and such other Indians, others have left Pinon and the reservation Din Sun Dance, In Wiseman,
which included the Navajo inhabitants altogether. Many in Pinon and vicinity, Regge, Thomas C. OLaughlin, and
who lived in the EOA. The govern- while pleased with having a supermarket, Cordelia T. Snow (Eds.), South-
ment compounded the land dispute by K-12 schools, and a clinic also blame western Interludes: Papers in Honor
creating grazing districts that perpetu- the widespread methamphetamine and of Charlotte J. and Theodore R.
ated individualism and relocation from alcohol abuse, and the spread of various Frisbie, The Archaeological Society
District 6 that in turn were further juvenile delinquencies in the area on the of New Mexico , No. 32, 2006.
enhanced by courts with the creation of land dispute, the forced relocation experi-
the JUA. The federal government also ence, and on related loss of Navajoness. Orit Tamir (Ph.D. 1993, Arizona State
grossly underestimated the number University) is a professor of social and
of Navajo and Hopi households that References cultural anthropology at New Mexico
would be forced to relocate, and over- Highlands University. She concentrates
looked the multi-dimensional impacts Cernea, Michael on the consequences of resettlement
of forced relocation upon them (Tamir 1999 The Economies of Involuntary and associated socio-cultural changes
1999, 2000). The good news about the Resettlement, Washington, DC: The and ethnographic CRM work. Her
Navajo-Hopi land dispute is that the World Bank. ethnographic focus is on North Ameri-
tribes are no longer at daggers down can Indians in general and Southwest
over it. Legal aspects of the land dis- Goldsmith, Edward, Nicholas Hilyard Indians in particular. Theoretical inter-
pute have been settled, and the fewer 1986 The Social and Environmental ests include the effects of development,
than 100 Navajo families still living Effects of Large Dams, San Fran- change, and globalization on micro-
on Hopi Partition Land are either leas- cisco: Sierra Club Books. populations. Orit conducted long-
ing the land or preparing to relocate. term field research among the Navajo
The bad news is that the original esti- Hansen, Art, Anthony Oliver-Smith Indians of Arizona as well as short-term
mated cost of the relocation was $40 1982 Involuntary Migration and field projects with various Indian tribes
million; the actual cost exceeded $480 Resettlement: The Problems and in the Southwest, Japanese-American
million. The cost of human suffering is Responses of Dislocated People, survivors of World War Two internment
incalculable. Boulder: Westview Press. camps, and participated in a collabora-
tive project in The Gambia. n
40 PRACTICING ANTHROPOLOGY Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2009

Editor Search
Editor-in-Chief, Human Organization
The Society for Applied Anthropology announces a search for a new Editor-in-Chief of Human Organization, a journal that has
been recognized as a leading scientific publication in applied anthropology since its founding in 1941. It is published four times
annually and is directed toward interdisciplinary as well as anthropological audiences.

The term of the current co-Editor team, David Griffith and Jeff Johnson, ends in December, 2010. The successors term will begin
on January 1, 2011. The search is being initiated now to provide for a smooth transition.

The initial term of service for the new Editor-in-Chief will be three years. The term is renewable for one additional three-year
period. The Editor-in-Chief of Human Organization also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Applied

In addition to making at least a three-year commitment to the journal and to serving on the SfAA Board of Directors, candi-
dates for the position should be able to secure release time (where possible) and other institutional support to supplement SfAA
resources, constitute an Editorial Board, promote and cultivate the journal, and offer editorial expertise and direction. Additional
criteria include:

1. Experience as a journal editor, associate or guest editor, and/or editorial board experience
2. A strong record of publication in applied social sciences
3. A history of involvement in applied social science research/practice

Persons interested in applying for the position should provide the Publications Committee early on with a letter of intent, which
can help initiate discussion and provide potential applicants with necessary information.

The actual application should contain the following:

1. A letter of interest that indicates the candidates experience, ideas, and vision for the journal, and any support (such as release
time, space, equipment and editorial assistance) that will be available from the host institution
2. A letter of from the candidates institution that demonstrates commitment to provide resources such as course release
time, teacher/graduate assistants, computer support, office equipment, and so on
3. Additional letters of support from colleagues and professional associates
4. A copy of the candidates vita or resume
5. A proposed budget

Additional material may be requested by the Publications Committee at a later date.

The application deadline is September 15, 2009. Applications should be sent to:

Society for Applied Anthropology, HO Editor Search, P.O. Box 2436, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-2436

Questions concerning the position can be directed to Nancy Schoenberg, Publications Committee Chair ( We
especially encourage interested individuals to contact current editors David Griffith ( and Jeff Johnson