I don't normally use this space to vent about politics, but this is something that has been on my mind for quite some time. This morning I woke up and turned on the TV. It just happen to be a documentary with Spanish subtitles, and something kept me watching. The documentary is called Which Way Home and I haven't been able to think of much else today other than what I saw in this film.
I'm a sucker for documentaries. But this was more heart wrenching than I bargained for this morning and as I watched with tears swelling in my eyes, I decieded that people need to let go of their fears and stop judging people when they don't really know who they are and what they need.
There has been a lot said about Arizona and their new immigration law lately. Heck, there has been a lot of discussion about illegal immigration for a while now. A lot of hate and rejection and misunderstanding. And most of all, a hell of a lot of fear.
I can't say what I feel is a completely fair answer to our current illegal immigrant situation. All I know is what we have now isn't working. At all. It's a public display of racism and fear tactics and punishing a group of people without providing an individual face or even a name. Because that may make it a little too real. People may start to care. And we can't have that, can we?
A lot of people come to America because they want to provide a life for their family. Many of the children in this documentary wanted to reunite with parents, sisters or family members, and some of them just wanted to work for a little while so that they could earn money for school. I felt embarrassed as I watched a little girl crying because she imagined the US as a place where she could smile and be happy and be reunited with her sisters. And I have the actual nerve to complain about my job.
My dogs live better than these children.
My heart literally broke as I watched bodies being taken home to desperate mother's. Bodies of dead children, who did not make it through the desert and were so decayed that their parents weren't able to even look at their bodies. These children left their homes for a better life, and when they got to America it was not at all what they expected.
One boy turned himself in at the border, because he witnessed a mother and daughter being raped in a boxcar he was traveling in. By 15 men. Child after child told stories of police officers beating them and stealing their money. They left so full of hope, but day by day they were even more beat down. Some even regretted being born. Children shouldn't be treated like this. Nor should anyone. It's sick.
I felt a lump in my throat as I watched how brave they all tried to appear. Like it was no big deal that they could die at any moment. One man said that he felt sad when he saw children trying to cross the boarder, because he was so afraid himself that he couldn't imagine being that young and that far from their families. Two boys talked about how they saw some kids killed right in front of them, just by standing on top of the train and not ducking in time to miss the top of the tunnels. A lot of kids are run over by trains and many are lucky to survive with missing legs or arms. But they still take on the journey, even knowing the risks.
How can peoples hearts be so hardened that they can't see that something needs to change. The current system puts so many barriers between immigrants and legal citizenship. What would you do if your family was suffering and needed food. Clean water. Shoes. One boy wanted to make some money so that he could rescue his mother from his abusive step father. I can't say that I wouldn't do the same. I just hope in that situation I could be half as brave and half as determined.
We all have our differences, but as humans we are basically 99% the same. We all want to be loved, to learn, to have freedom. Nobody wants to see their families suffer, and the only hope many of these people have is the idea of a better life in America.
These are people. They aren't animals and they aren't monsters. More importantly, children are dying or being raped or becoming drug addicts because of their dream. The American Dream. The idea that if they were just given a chance, things could be better. They could grow up and become doctors. Help their communities. Rescue their families. Make a difference.
That's a lot weighing on a child's heart. To be a hero. To risk your life at just the possibility of finding something better.
I am disappointed in our country. And I really don't mind offending anyone, because whoever can see these people suffering and turn away or hate them or say they should be thrown in jail doesn't have my respect. Actually, I feel very sorry for people who are unable to love without conditions.
I choose to love these people. I don't even know them, but I feel connected to their spirits as human beings. I wish I could go to Mexico and hug them and take my hands and wipe the tears off of their faces. I want to tell them that it will be alright. That they won't suffer for long. That things will change, because they deserve to be happy.
I want to tell them that soon we will all wake up, and that this was just a very very bad dream.