There a historical romance trilogy I have been unable to finish. The two first of the series sit alone on the bookshelf wondering where their sister is. I have never been able to finish it because the heroine of the last book of the trilogy suffered a violent rape and her book delves into that and how she found love and peace after. I still can’t get around to reading it. I avoid all stories or movies where rape is depicted, mostly because I get super involved with characters when I’m reading a book but also because that is a number one fear or mine.
That is the same way I have been avoiding reading and facing the atrocities that are been perpetrated against my brothers and sisters in ‘holding centers’ on the southern borders of this country I now call mine. There is something so visceral about my reaction to what is happening, I am doing my utmost to not dwell, not read, not face, pretend the ugliness is not happening. Anxieties have been my companion for the past two years. I now try to avoid everything that triggers it and stuff like this usually sends me over the edge. Selfcare is important when you suffer from generalized anxiety and I was trying to do that, care about myself. So, I scrolled past every article, past every post on Facebook of my family members and friends who are, like me, disgusted about it. I’d catch a glimpse of a headline and nope out of there so fast my head would spin. In the past two years I have read and delved into a lot of ugly. It started to feel like the dark side is winning and so much of it has broken my heart, made me feel hopeless, lost and so fucking dejected. I am a different person at my core than I was two years ago. Things I thought I knew, hopes I had, faith I held were dashed completely in the face of rampant hatred, bigotry, abuse, greed, carelessness, ignorance, apathy… you name it.
It’s a bitch to care… sympathy is good, it helps change things, it moves you forward to think about others, to offer a hand while maintaining a level head. Empathy is crippling. It makes you want to hide because the world feels like it’s ending, like there’s just too much pain out there and how are we ever going to survive this? How do we fight to change when it feels like any attempt is a joke and the tide is turning against us? What’s the point? King Theoden asked so poignantly in the Two Towers “what can men do against such reckless hate?”
What else can we call what is happening if not rampant hate? Some hide it better, some dress it up as patriotism, or call it something fancy as ‘fear of the unknown’ or some other bullshit euphemism. Is hatred, not so pure and very simple. The scariest part is that the people on the other side of this argument keep saying how they would not put their kids at risk by crossing the border illegally to another country. They are running away! They are being chased away from their homeland, they are fleeing in abject terror…I can’t even type without wanting to slam my keyboard against the wall and cry.
We don’t leave our home countries because we want to goddamn it! We would’ve loved to stay there, safe in the land that gave birth to us, where the smells and the language and the culture is familiar, where we are surrounded by our own and the food tastes like we want it to taste like and your friends and family are but a bus ride away and you are not separated by miles, paperwork, water and insurmountable distances, physical and legal ones. We don’t come here because we want to. No matter how fabulous the American Dream has been portrayed as none of us happily exchange the country we love for the struggles we know we’ll face. We come here prepared to suffer the loss, prepared to be treated like dirt and looked at funnily at Walmart. We come here because as much as it fucking rips your soul in two, it still better than staying at home, and risking life and limb in a war you want no part in. Or starving because there’s no food to buy or money to buy it with, or bleeding into cloth every month because you can’t buy sanitary products or dying of a simple infection because you can’t find or afford antibiotics or dying of a body full of bullets because someone wanted your car, or your shoes, or even just the sandwich you were eating. Sometimes is better to run with your baby in your arms before they starve, or get sold, or get raped or get drafted to be a child soldier in a war with no end in sight.
Even while you hate the home that’s kicking your ass and making you run you still love it, it still hurts, and I can’t even fathom how spiritually traumatizing it must be to think you’re running towards safety just to be torn apart from your babies. Betrayed by a dream we sold them.
I… don’t recognize this country anymore. This country that has given me so much and I have grown to love as my own. This country I travel through in awe of its beauty, in awe of the warmth I have known its people to have. That spirit of sacrifice and lending a hand…where is it? That’s what I loved the most about this country. Because it spoke certain words, it talked politics, policies and laws but in the end, it embraced and helped and put a blanked on the shoulders of the ones that needed it. Like it did me.
I’m so heartbroken, confused, angry… I am so tired. So tired of fighting, of feeling like this, of seeing the smug face of racism and prejudice and evil so comfortable in its platform, preening and peacocking, gaslighting us and getting away with all this ugly.
The detainees are human beings, like you, like me. They feel, like us, they bleed like us, they give birth and fall in love with their babies like every American woman with their gender reveal parties and baby names like Hunter or Banjo. And every night for the past month and a half after going through the most harrowing experience most of us can’t even comprehend, of escaping their home land to seek for help, they have gone to bed, wondering where their kids are, when they’ll see them again. Some, if deported back to their countries may die, most if deported back to their countries might never see their kids again because all this kidnapping and tearing apart of families happened without a procedure in place and it’s a logistical nightmare. Most didn’t have documentation for their babies. Some babies are so small they don’t know their parent’s full names, don’t speak yet, don’t know what country they come from. Some are mentally handicapped. Some were still being breast bed, just 10 months old and taken away.
I don’t care. I don’t give a flying fuck what policy, what fear drove this, what excuse, reasons, precedent, is being applied to make this happen. I don’t care. This is the worst of us. We are a shame to the rest of the world. Years from now we’ll cringe in horror at allowing this to happen.
In tweeter a lady said “we made them believe this was a safe harbor and then sunk their boats” or words to that effect. I tweeted back saying we should take the words off the statue of liberty. We don’t get to claim we are a beacon of hope to the world, we don’t get to sell the world that dream and call ourselves the land of liberty and justice just to have them inevitably drawn to that flame, like moths and then when they reach our shores get squashed like bugs. I was so angry when I wrote that, so sad and pissed off. I felt so tired of all the bullshit and the ugliness and the mockery of the pain we feel for those trapped in that hell right now. And then she replied to me: “Let’s fight to make those words true again”. And just like that… I wasn’t so tired anymore, so let’s!
Here’s how to help: