On Immigrants and Colonizers: Who We Are and Who We've Become
People have asked me why I haven't written about current immigration issues. Why I have yet to express all the emotions I have been feeling. Why I haven't spoken on the matter.
This is why:
There is an inexplicable exhaustion that comes with living in a country you are not welcome in. An indescribable bittersweetness to being the one who made it in, but was never fully accepted, and will never feel completely home. But most of all, there is deep dehumanization to being reduced to labels such as "immigrant", "illegal", "alien", and "non-resident," especially when those terms are rapidly becoming synonymous to "inhuman", "terrorist", "savage", and "animal".
I'm tired of screaming. I am tired of begging those who can effect change to do something on my behalf. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't do well with saviors, with asking for help or putting my life or my future in someone else's hands. But in this I am powerless. In this, I am yelling until my throat bleeds. At the end of the day, it is the same people who have the power that decide the fate of the powerless. I don't have a say in this. I play no part but a pawn.
So, I ask you, I beg you with whatever ounce of humanity and dignity I have been allowed, to play smarter. I ask you to play this game you are playing--a game of life and death--safer and more considerate. I ask you to consider yourself as a pawn, to think of having to unwillingly leave your home. I ask you to imagine leaving your home--possibly even your family--behind in hopes of stability, of a better future than your country could give you, of safety. I ask you to imagine leaving home because, as the great Warsan Shire said, "home is the mouth of a shark."
How long will we monopolize freedom? Safety? Security? Human rights? How long will we turn away and pretend that it is okay, that this is acceptable? How long will we convince ourselves that it is not humans that we are dealing with but "immigrants"?
I applaud America, and most of West's audacity, having invaded these "foreign countries" they speak so highly of, having stripped them of their resources, their humanity, their freedom, their independence, and then turning right back around just to refuse them from entering a country that was never theirs in the first place.
I don't ask, who has America become? Because to me, this is who America has always been. This is what--if the people who have the power, and the say in the matter, continue to stay silent and do nothing, it will always be.
So I leave you with this:
"I hear them say, go home, I hear them say, fucking immigrants, fucking refugees. Are they really this arrogant? Do they not know that stability is like a lover with a sweet mouth upon your body one second and the next you are a tremor lying on the floor covered in rubble and old currency waiting for its return. All I can say is, I was once like you, the apathy, the pity, the ungrateful placement and now my home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun. I’ll see you on the other side. "
(c) 2013, Warsan Shire, from CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOME (AT THE DEPORTATION CENTRE)
From teaching my mother how to give birth