I Am Appalled By My Country's Treatment Of Latin American Refugees
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Politics and Activism

I Am Appalled By My Country's Treatment Of Latin American Refugees

I refuse to believe that the world is supposed to be this way.

Rob Wilson

The current treatment of our Latin American brothers and sisters seeking asylum is nothing short of atrocious. Sending the military to meet them with "lethal force if necessary" during their greatest time of need? Tear-gassing people running from violence and instability? It's all dehumanizing. All of it.

Let us remember that "those people" are people.

Here, as I'm studying in Ecuador, we're witnessing the incoming and difficulty of thousands upon thousands of Venezuelan refugees. They come with nothing, they face great xenophobia from certain members of the Ecuadorian population, and they can't find work.

They make do as vendors in the streets and on public transportation, trying to sell anything from chocolate to eyedrops to live-performances on the bus. In Venezuela, inflation has surpassed 1,000,000% (you read that right— over one million percent inflation)— it's hard to buy the basics, including food and toilet paper. The threat of disease is steadily increasing. Venezuelans are suffering.

That's why they're running from their country. They're running because they can't survive. Because they can't live a dignified, safe, stable life in Venezuela.

The same goes for other deeply afflicted countries in Latin America. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are some of the most violent countries in the world— it's dangerous to even exist there. Violent crime, extortion, sexual assault, extreme poverty. People are literally fleeing death.

And the U.S. chooses to name them criminal, to bar them from what might be their only hope.

It's been brought up that refusing these Latin American refugees is like refusing Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and although that's a sensitive comment to make, I'm not in disagreement. Refugees flee. And the caravan in Tijuana at the moment is certainly fleeing, seeking asylum and safety.

To those who so fiercely oppose the entry of Latin American immigrants and refugees— what if they were white? What if Canada or England or insert-Aryan-nation-here went up in political, economic, violent flames, and thousands came knocking on our door for asylum? Would you say, "boo-hoo, wait in line, enter legally!" when it's nearly impossible to get a visa? Well, would you?

Check where your aversion is coming from. Ask yourself why your heart is so deeply averted by these specific groups of people. Because it has everything to do with your heart.

Check to make sure your "compassion" is authentic. Because refusing to aid suffering human beings is the literal opposite of compassion. To suffer with: this is compassion's definition.

Look, I know things are complicated. I'm not a politician, I'm not an economist, I'm not full of answers on how to receive thousands of people. But I do know that we can afford it. There is enough. We have enough.

I will never cease to be appalled by the numbness this world is falling into. In my study abroad program here in Quito, I am pursuing a course focused on Social Services, the way in which society excludes and includes certain groups of people, the people that are fighting and the measures that are being taken to create a just world.

Nothing we learn about surprises me. It's odd, don't you think, that one day we wake up, and the suffering of humankind has become somewhat normalized. As if things are the way they are, and that's that. As if the world cannot be any other way.

We are no longer shocked that babies are abandoned in trash cans. It becomes a given that 6/10 Ecuadorian women suffer from violence. It's "just a part of this world" that millions of people have lost the ability to survive in their home country. Poverty is something inevitable. Humans are meant for hierarchy.

Well, no. No. I refuse to believe that the world is supposed to be this way.

I refuse to believe that this miracle of a life is meant to stay unjust. I refuse.

And I truly believe this refusal is vital to digging ourselves out of this numbness and hatred in which we are so deeply immersed.

I believe in a Universe crafted by Love. I believe in a humanity meant for community, connection, and peace. I literally cannot believe that this is it. That being human means being powerless against injustice.

We make the choices. We build our world.

Jesus came here to flip the world upside down. He was subversive. He overturned tables in the Temple. He ate dinner with people society hated. He touched and healed people that nobody would even look at. He, as God, chose the most humiliating form of execution and defeated death and the human social hierarchy.

And us? What have we done with Jesus? Where is our flipping-upside of the world? Where is our subversion? Where is our fight?

What are we doing?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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