I have been shaken to my core over the news coverage of our government enabling, allowing, and causing the separation of immigrant families, putting children in cages, and forcibly removing children under 10 (even INFANTS), from their parents. I am sick of hearing people justifying this because “it’s illegal to cross the border – maybe they shouldn’t do something illegal, if they don’t want their kids taken away.”
There is SO much wrong with this sentiment. For starters, it’s not illegal to cross our border and secondly, legality is NOT a guide for morality. Slavery was at one point legal, so was the holocaust – did that make those atrocities right? What our country and administration is doing to human beings is sickening and wrong, no matter what ‘illegal’ act they might have committed, ripping families a part is basically a form of torture and terrorism.
On Monday I posted some links to donate to, I will continue to donate what I can. But I also invite you to take any action you can as well – attend protests, CALL YOUR REPS (or write them if you really hate the phone), and don’t stop talking about this. We likely can’t change the minds/hearts of people that don’t see an issue with this, but maybe we can reach out to someone that isn’t fully aware, or doesn’t have all the facts.
One way to accomplish this might be through sharing this harrowing poem my sister sent me this morning. It speaks to the idea of illegality vs morality, and frames the mindset of immigrants that risk everything, literally everything, at a chance for a better life.
Home, by Warsan Shire (British-Somali poet)
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well.
your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.
no one would leave home unless home
chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.
it’s not something you ever thought about
doing, and so when you did –
you carried the anthem under your breath,
waiting until the airport toilet
to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that
you would not be going back.
you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land.
who would choose to spend days
and nights in the stomach of a truck
unless the miles travelled
meant something more than journey.
no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten,
stripped and searched, find prison everywhere
and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side
with go home blacks, refugees
dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,
dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage –
look what they’ve done to their own countries,
what will they do to ours?
the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who
look like your father, between
your legs, insults easier to swallow
than rubble, than your child’s body
in pieces – for now, forget about pride
your survival is more important.
i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind,
even if it was human.
no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying
leave, run now, i don’t know what