Paul Bryant's Reviews > International Migration: A Very Short Introduction

International Migration by Khalid Koser
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May 26, 12

bookshelves: modern-life
Read in May, 2012

On 28 January 2010 I went to see the great Buffy Sainte-Marie



She is one of my absolute musical heroes. Also, she's the only person I've ever seen live who doesn't know how old she is. (She was born on a native Indian reservation and they didn't notice such things.) Now I know you will forgive me a little bit of shameless name-dropping, so I'll tell you that she doesn't do many gigs in the UK, this was the first for years, and there were only four other UK dates on that tour, so you had to be quick to get a ticket. And these were pretty modest sized places. The one I went to was in a town called Leamington Spa, which is a completely unhip nowhere-type small town. Audience was about 2000, maybe less. So me and my mate Nick were shuffling out after the gig and we noticed someone we recognised immediately in front of us. It was a "is that really him?" moment. Because it really was :



Robert Plant.

But anyway, the reason I mention Buffy is that on her 1965 album many a Mile she sang one of her own songs and it puts out a point of view which I suggest you would never, ever find being played on any radio stations these days. It's called "Welcome, Welcome Emigrante" :

So welcome, welcome, emigrante
To my country, welcome home
So welcome, welcome, emigrante
To the country that I love

I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers
And I say they built this country
And they came from far away to a land they didn’t know
The same way you do my friend

I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers
And I sing about their courage
For they spoke a foreign language and they laboured with their hands
And the work they did was lowly and they dirtied up their clothes
And they came from far away to a land they didn’t know
And they spoke a foreign language and they laboured with their hands
The same way you do my friend

So welcome, welcome, emigrante
To my country, welcome home
So welcome, welcome, emigrante
To the country that love



Today on the news there is much chatter about whether the Home Secretary can put into place some emergency restrictions to stop the expected flood of Greek refugees who will be on their way to Britain very soon when they are slung out of the Euro and society collapses and anarchy prevails. All the time the British press whip up a frenzy about illegal immigrants, fake asylum seekers (they pretend to be gay or lesbian, you know, and say they will be persecuted if they're sent back, ard you know they're not gay or lesbian at all) and evil jihadis coming over here and wanting to establish Sharia law.

Any way, this is a pretty good short introduction, but let me end with a speech by Cher Horowitz, who you will immediately recognise as the airheaded Valley Girl from Clueless. Here is her take on how to handle international migration:

So, OK, like right now, for example, the Haitians need to come to America. But some people are all "What about the strain on our resources?" But it's like, when I had this garden party for my father's birthday right? I said R.S.V.P. because it was a sit-down dinner. But people came that like, did not R.S.V.P. so I was like, totally buggin'. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, squish in extra place settings, but by the end of the day it was like, the more the merrier! And so, if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty?

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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Sarah (Presto agitato) I can't help but appreciate a review that references the immortal wisdom of Clueless.


Paul Bryant it is an alternate bible in my house


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma I was outside the San Francisco convention center once, and I tossed some muffin pieces and crumbs to the birds that were gathered. A woman came over and said: Thanks for thinking of the birds. A conversation ensued. She was Native American and happened to be touring with Buffy Sainte-Marie. It was a nice contact high with near-royalty. Name dropping is def a forgivable offense, in my book.


Paul Bryant I have no idea if people know who Buffy is these days. She's still a dynamite performer.


message 5: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Ooooh can I name drop too, please, please? (Mike says it's forgivable, so it must be alwight).

I served Robert Plant cheese when I had a Saturday job in the only deli in the West Midlands.

I was about fifteen at the time and as raw as they came. One customer asked me for lychees - I went and looked in the cheese section. (FAIL!)


Paul Bryant Very strange that two gr friends had a near-Plant experience.

I can't actually say I was ever much of a Zep fan but this is a very good record :




message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Pagan-Gladfly Lou Reed (ironically):

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard...



Paul Bryant Let's go with Cher and not Lou in this case!


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Pagan-Gladfly That last RSVP line is a ripper, isn't it?


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Pagan-Gladfly Karen wrote: "One customer asked me for lychees - I went and looked in the cheese section. (FAIL!)"

This is one of my favourite GR stories, Karen.

Did you stock any baby cheeses?


message 11: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Ian, please see this review for one of my favourite family stories.


message 12: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye Love Buffy,thank you for great picture of this ageless powerhouse. I have been following her career since I bought her first album (which I still have)I have seen her many times and even met her over the years, a truely gracious woman. I know the immigrant song and actually puzzled about it, because her anscestors were not immigrants but native to this country. So I figure she didn't write it. And its welcome...to this country that I love (you left out the pronoun)
What has the world come to when airhead logic is more profound than the state dpt's?
http://music.cbc.ca/play/artist/Siski...


message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Bryant thanks, fixed typo - well, as a songwriter she just adopted a point of view and wrote from it - I envy you meeting her but then again i don't - I'd be too nervous.


message 14: by Magdelanye (new)

Magdelanye In fact she is so gracious and natural that she puts you at ease. Most great ones are like that. They seem to appreciate our appreciation, so I generally make a point of sharing when the opportunity arises.


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