Sunday, February 19, 2017

I don't recognize my country :(

This president yells and tweets that he inherited a mess.  I suppose I have been living in a fake world all these years.  I thought Obama inherited a mess.  A mess that was so awful that The Onion had quite a headline to report on his election back in 2008: Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job.

But then this president and his accomplices in Congress are on a manic agenda to reverse the progress that has been achieved since the Great Depression.  While Republicans want to the turn the clock back, there is the real world in which time is one directional into the future.  The real world includes this:

Obviously, Somalia does not border Canada for the refugees to walk across, right?  So ... yes, they fled from trump's America! :(

If I were a refugee, or even here on a visa, from a Muslim country, I too would perhaps flee like this man in the photo below:

Caption at the source:
A man from Yemen is taken into custody by RCMP officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border on February 14, 2017. The Yemeni man was shaking so badly that the officer asked if he was cold. "I am scared," he replied.

I kept staring at that photo.  I felt the tears down my cheeks.  If I were an Arab, like how a neighbor/friend used to joke about me, then I could be him.  He could be me.  The biggest difference is that as discombobulated as I feel now in this country, I am a citizen--unlike that man in the photo--though my rights can easily be circumscribed like how Japanese-American citizens were thrown into concentration camps.

At the border:
Reuters photographer Christinne Muschi recently spent time at the end of a small country road in Hemmingford, Quebec, that dead-ends at the U.S.-Canada border, just across from another dead-end road near Champlain, New York. She was photographing refugees, traveling alone or in small groups, who had taken taxis to the end of the road in the U.S., then walked across the border into Canada, into the custody of the RCMP. While the location is not an official border crossing, it is one of several spots that have become informal gateways to an increasing number of refugees choosing to leave the United States.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Jim Estill waits at the airport for Syrian refugees:
Even in a country eager to welcome Syrian refugees, Estill has upped the ante. A prominent Canadian entrepreneur and businessman, Estill put up his own money -- CAN$1.5 million (US$1.1 million) -- to resettle 58 Syrian families, 250 people, in Guelph, a small university city an hour west of Toronto.
Why would a business guy spend a lot of his own money?
Because he was haunted by those pictures on television of Syrian cities reduced to rubble, and Syrian people dying as they tried to escape to someplace else.
“You don’t want to grow old and say you stood by and did nothing,” Estill said. “And it’s the right thing to do.”
"Never again" is a mere slogan here in the US! :(
Nearly 7 out of 10 (68%) Canadians support their government’s acceptance of Syrian refugees. In contrast, 54% of American voters think the U.S. has no responsibility to take in Syrians.
How did the US become like this?  Or, was it always like this and I was but a fool?

I feel shell-shocked.


Ramesh said...

Canada is an oasis in what is increasingly a bleak world desert. Canada , Germany and Sweden are the last remaining strongholds left where humanity can hold its head high.

The Syrian war is a crying shame on humanity. At least if we cannot stop it, we can treat the people who are suffering the horrors with compassion. Even if you do not want to take them in, you can at least stop demonising them.

I don't recognise your country either. I was a committed Americophile, looking on with great respect at your country's values. I am having to re evaluate.

Sriram Khé said...

You and I don't recognize the US that we knew before because the white supremacists have managed to take "their" country back as they have been campaigning about these past years under a, gasp, black president!

I am not sure how long Merkel's Germany will be around ... I hope it will, not only for the sake of the US and Europe but for all the world.

History will not be kind to us for how we treated the Syrians. Like you note, at the very least, we in the US could have at least not demonized them and Muslims all over ... what a terrible, terrible, tragedy!