The New Trains Belong to US

This is where we are.

How do we find words to capture the depths of what is happening? For many of us who are paying attention and refusing to look away, it has become more and more difficult. Witnesses (God Bless every one of them), have been getting up early to capture the deportations happening at airports in southern Texas. Deportations are also happening elsewhere in major cities like Chicago and New York, but these witnesses are in Texas. The photo above is just one of many photos documenting the crimes against humanity that are being committed by our government and private airlines and bus companies.

There are several international laws that are suppose to protect people from what we are doing. They were developed and signed by countries shortly after World War II ended, for obvious reasons. Yet here we are, again. Human rights organizations within our country and around the world are condemning us for virtually ending the rights of people fleeing violence to seek asylum in our country. Right there, we are breaking national and international laws. Yet we look away. We blame them. We blame everyone but ourselves. If that isn’t enough, we are returning people back to dangerous countries. That also breaks international laws. There are clear rules against both of those things. Yet we snub our arrogant nose at the international human rights groups and international laws that have been on the books for decades and we do it anyway. Why? Because we can. Because we are a country built on white supremacy. And we can successfully threaten other countries, as well as human rights organizations, with withholding money from them if they don’t support the crimes we are committing. And that is exactly what we are doing. We are now the major world bully. I’m trying to remember the last time we have done something truly amazing and good for our world neighbors, something we could be proud of. And for the life of me I can’t. We have stood by when major genocides were being committed, for example Rwanda, Bosnia, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and there are others. Why aren’t we doing anything? Why isn’t our military used to help these people? I think we are slowly beginning to understand why. Imperialism and colonialism are a harsh, harsh history we must face. But in the meantime we have this, sending a young family back to what will likely be the same violence they fled. And we must also acknowledge that the violence they fled was fueled by our very own policies in their countries.

I look at that photo and feel such grief and shame, and I am amazed at the strength of these brave women. The young mom, standing so tall and strong. We know from all we’ve read, from the stories asylum seekers have told us, from the observations the witnesses and workers along the border have told us, that inside they are scared to death. Because violence is what we are sending them and their child back to. This is what we are doing to “make America great again”. That slogan disgusts me. Right now, we disgust me.

We will come up with excuses to let ourselves off the hook for why we are doing this. But excuses are all that they are. “We don’t have enough room for everyone. They are criminals. Their skin is dark. They are poor and will be a drain on our economy.” We know that none of these excuses are true or even remotely valid for the evils we are committing. We know that what we are saying to ourselves is a lie and I believe that deep down inside we are ashamed of believing those lies. We know that if the tables were turned and that photo was of us on that plane with our children we would hope and pray that we would be taken in, cared for, fed. Yet something, something incredibly deep, dark, and full of fear is causing us to turn away from our own humanity. While we may know why the “leaders” of our country are doing this, aka white supremacy and fossil fuels interests have the control of our government right now; why the people of our country are following along is what truly confuses and deeply saddens me.

Witnessing the above scene and many more just like it. Photo by Karla Rader Barber, Witness at the Border

Don’t look away. What are you doing to support those working and witnessing along the border? Nothing? Too busy? Those excuses don’t hold water for the time we are living in. We all must do something. Say something. Support something. But do not go down in history as doing nothing. Contact me and I will help you if you do not know what to do. There are many options even for those who are living the busy time of their lives raising children and/or working.

In love, peace, and solidarity with the millions of displaced migrants around the world seeking a life free from fear and harm,

Mary

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