[A long read, inspired by a conversation with a “friend” who pretends to know it all!]
In light of our last profound conversation, I am writing to confirm your deep-felt fear: Refugees are not human. If the 2010s have proven one thing, this is it.
As I draft these words, in these early days of 2020, I am exploring parts of Europe, reconnecting with my friends and families – mostly in Germany. I can’t help but think of how this “heaven” was “the hell” that produced caravans for centuries, particularly during the first half of the 1900s. These included your ancestors who ended up in the United States of America and Canada. Does that matter?
Think of the Caravan crossing the US-Mexican border. The entire Latino population flocking into the US. With more drugs and more crimes. Of course, children had to be kept in cages, locked from their parents who had to be deported. Only a strong and prosperous, problem-free Trumpite empire can understand this!
You talk about the Rohingya? Nobody knows them. And nobody cares too. Unless you’re Bangladesh with a staggering economy, plagued by poverty and prone to natural disasters. In a cold, not-so-sorry spectacle, Canadian parliamentarians were the first to evoke the despicable reality propelling the hundreds of thousands out of their native Myanmar. Genocide. As of late, the Gambia started minding Myanmar’s business, and the world seems to be behind this tiny African country. The Cynicism in evoking human rights. What a shame!
The Uygurs? The communi(ty)st (oriented) Chinese government cannot persecute a minority group. Claims of anything closely similar to Hitler’s concentration camps are outright fake news. No sound person should pay attention to voices of hundreds of individuals outside the Great Wall who claim to have had their relatives detained against their will or missing.
And what better mass grave can there be, than the naturally built Mediterranean sea? As if the Caucasian empire up north is short of terrorists – a subhuman category consisting mostly of Middle Easterners and North Africans, or has not been busy trying to appease one of its own determined to go rogue in a spectacular show entitled “Brexit,” the shitholes kept intentionally sending their thugs – another subhuman category embodied by Zwarte Piet or best known through sailing expeditions across the Atlantic that started from the early modern period and sparked the western civilization! Well, drowning is Black’s favorite pastime!
From South Sudan and Lybia, to Syria and Somalia, to Myanmar. These are just a few scenarios from the 2010s that relate closely to the overly hyperbolized “refugee crisis”. 2020 just began with yet another show, with the righteous DJ-T and his pious regime raising the Iranian temperature to the boiling point. Who cares if there are a few deaths, and millions more – possibly US Americans included – pick up few of their belongings and cross borders in search of asylum?
You couldn’t be righter, refugees are not humans.
EXCEPT, when they are given a chance. Except when somebody believes in them and treats them as equal in rights and opportunities. They can excel like everyone else, because they are everyone else in the truest meaning of the words. They have dreams. They come from countries, cities and towns, districts and villages – yet nobody cares to think of this. They could be you, targeted because of ethnicity, religion, individual beliefs. Because of political affiliations. Because of gender or sexual orientations. Because of being.
Corrupt leaders and foreign intruders rape their daughters and kidnap their sons to join military. They kill their fathers and violate their mothers. They leave citizens no choice but to leave, hoping to live. To leave their land and properties. To leave their culture and traditions. To forsake themselves by forsaking their ancestors.
And when some do arrive, they get there a little traumatized. Just a little! They mostly overcome the bureaucratic filter meant to tell apart who is a refugee and who is an imposter, navigating languages they don’t understand. This screening meant to find the terrorist who is not there can’t be stressful, not at all!
Refugees have survived where not many people have. They have endured, have tasted the bitterness of life.
When you walk for hundreds of kilometers, travel by trucks for days without food or water, travel through international waters the same way tons of trash are transported from rich so called first-world countries to poor third-world countries – or worse, because you have no legal recognition or economic value.
Refugees have trusted their will to life and willed their lives to time. Time and Nature. Nature sustains them while Time takes care of the rest.
I was a refugee once, and I know this. Correction: I still am, but what do I know?
When I miss a flight from Vancouver to Denver on my way to Oklahoma to honor a speaking invitation because the US customs have retained me, asking me all sorts of questions but sensible ones.
When I transit through OR Tambo in South Africa on my way home to Swaziland and an immigration officer looks at my document, turns pages, gets frightened by the visas and the stamps of where I have been – in my rights as a global citizen – and sheepishly yet decidedly says, “people like you should never be allowed to travel.”
When I spend more than three hours in an airport trying to do check-in like a normal person, and the last resort becomes an emergency boarding pass because the airline realizes that I have all documents required despite their inability to process my refugee travel document, and yet, the longer I stay in their presence the more of a nuisance and a liability I become.
When I get used to not be considered smart, intelligent, bright by all the people around me or I become considered too smart, too intelligent, too bright because unlike any other refugee I have succeeded and far-surpassed any far-fetched diminutive expectation tied to being a refugee.
When I have just completed a decade living as a refugee, and I am starting a new one.
When I am not human.
Josh, I love you, and I wish you the best life can offer you. By being white, both American and Canadian, you already have more than you need. The world favors you. While Russia and China voted to block aid to Syria, I cannot imagine how many gifts you were giving or receiving in this past Christmas season. Just remember, refugees – and anything routinely close to refugees – are not human. How could they be? When could we be?