EL PASO — Christmas, on the border is different than anywhere else in America. Traditions from south of the border come together to form a unique and delightful style of holiday mirth. Traditional foods originating from Mexico and beyond have made their way here and ingrained themselves into the local culture. Buñuelos are a tasty treat that span across many cultures thanks to the Middle East’s influence on Spain. Traditionally they are served at Christmas for the Christians, Rammadan for the Muslims, and Hannakuh for the Sephardic Jews.
EL PASO — On a warm Saturday night in September a merger of education and religion was taking place at the home of Cyrous and Ruhi Heydarian in the affluent Diamond Point Circle neighborhood of west El Paso. A group of about 30 men and women of all ages, some Hispanic, some Iranian others anglo, gathered in their living room for a “devotional” of the local Bahá’í Faith Community. The multicultural, multiethnic group of devotees was discussing Chicana feminism, a topic led by one of their three college age daughters, Nazanin. The local Bahá’í Faith community consists of people of various backgrounds, and despite their limited numbers a massive amount of positive energy circulates amongst them. They began with a PowerPoint discussion about that night’s subject, Chicana feminism, the group listening so intently that one could hear the crickets singing in the night outside.
EL PASO – During the Labor Day weekend Sun City Music Festival earlier this year, a 17-year-old girl from Houston was taken to a local hospital after an adverse reaction to the synthetic street drug Molly, short for molecule. Fortunately, she survived her encounter with the dangerous designer drug unlike other users across the U.S. over the past decade. On the same Labor Day weekend in New York City two revelers at the Electric Zoo electronic dance festival suffered fatal overdoses caused by Molly. These incidents may have been related to a rash of overdoses in the northeast United States blamed on a bad batch of the designer drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Molly also known by the street name Mandy, is the powdered form or crystallized form of methylenedioxy methamphetamine or MDMA.
EL PASO – Five unique and experienced voices were heard at the University of Texas at El Paso this week discussing the seemingly eternal drug war and the government policies that fuel it that has plagued the U.S.-Mexico border region in recent years. The participants included UTEP professor and author Dr. Howard Campbell, former DEA agent Gilberto Gonzalez, UTEP Communication professor Andrew Kennis, Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez, and U.S. Representative Beto O’Rouke (D., El Paso). The event, called “Drug Policy on the Border and Beyond: Dangers Facing Journalists, Obstacles Facing Policy Makers” organized by Kennis, added to the growing discussion by policy makers, law enforcement, public officials and journalists on how to end the war that has claimed thousands of lives in Mexico and led to increased anti-drug enforcement along the U.S. side of the border. Hernandez, an investigative journalist in Mexico who has done some of the best coverage of the drug war and published a book, Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers, in English and Spanish, drew upon her extensive research to discuss the strong connections between the drug cartels and the Mexican government. She also spoke of the importance of the drug economy to the people of Mexico.
EL PASO – Recently Senator Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (D-CA), a well-known career politician, thought it would be appropriate to apply new definitions to what is required to practice journalism in America. She did this in her amendments to the Free Flow of Information Act 2013 (FFIA), which consists of the shield laws journalists would use to protect their sources. The proposed law passed through the Senate judiciary committee on September 12. Feinstein has always found herself on the opposing side of issues regarding freedom. Voting to extend the feared Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the loathed Patriot Act.