Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Migrant Trail Shines the Light on Human Rights

Derechos Humanos and their activist allies here in Baja Arizona are midway through their 75 mile trek across the Sonoran Desert to bring attention to the plight of immigrants who, out of utter desperation, enter this country to ensure family survival.
The walk is not intended to simulate the experience migrants face as they cross the gauntlet of death. Walkers are accompanied by support vehicles, unlimited food and water, and medical attention: things that the migrants themselves desperately lack. However by walking 75 miles in the hot summer sun we try to make a small contribution that will some day lead to change on the border. No one should be forced to risk their life in order to provide for their family.

And therein lies the problem with the recent "compromise" in the Senate on comprehensive immigration reform. Nada - nada - in the bill takes a look at our trade and economic policies that affect the global market, most especially Latin America.

Instead, the hard-liners are busy making sure their militarization campaign continues full speed ahead along la frontera, while the corporatists ensure that their modern day slave trade lives on in a guest worker program. It seems as if, once again, the human rights aspect of this entire situation is being ignored.

U.S.-born Americans need to understand something fundamental: As long as you support this government's strong-arm economic tactics that feeds its superpower ego and 'Low, Low Prices', you must live with its consequences.

Entire families are not coming to this land because of the climate or culture, they are coming here out of necessity for survival. To take an elitist stance that advocates deportation or denies a path to full citizenship rights is the equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.

You don't get to pretend that the well-being of U.S-born Americans is more important than, say, Latin American-born Americans; especially when the system you support through taxes, political donations (to either party), and everyday expenditures that feed the corporate beast of greed is specifically designed to keep the imbalance more secure than Dick Cheney's undisclosed bunker.

There is certainly a crisis going on with respect to immigration reform, but if you take off the American Exceptionalist Goggles for just a moment, and put on some Tierra-Colored Grafas de Sol, you'll see that perhaps those people walking from Sasabe to Tucson this week are on to something deeper - the rise of the United States Empire has come at the expense of countless indigenous lives and livelihoods, and we are all now seeing the seedlings of an equalized future.

Ever heard of birth pangs? I am now beginning to believe that we must undergo this period of hard-line nativism in order to finally shake awake the consciousness of todos los Estados Unidenses.

There should be no more ignoring of the deaths that happen every year in the Sonoran Desert. Nor any dangerous campaigns to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The pretending must end that English is the only language that matters in a land that spoke Spanish, Diné, Wabanaki, Oneida, and countless other indigenous tongues before the government-sponsored genocide began in the 16th Century.

It will be a while before those dreams in my heart become a reality, but Latin American culture is resilient and intimate on a level that the Puritanical regime will never be able to fathom.

El Alma will always win against La Palea.


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