Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
It’s hard to imagine how a fish can survive without water, how a plant can live without sunlight, how a human can survive without air.
Actually, it is rather impossible. And I can no longer do it.
I went home on August 22, 2014, for the first time in 14 years, 9 months and 9 days.
Lets just have that sink in.
I went home after spending 14 years, 9 months, and 9 days in a prison tantamount to hell. I am sure people have been imprisoned for far less and in far more horrible conditions. But that doesn’t begin to change that it was akin to hell. And it was wrong.
People leave their homes for many reasons. Some seek employment opportunities abroad. Some are trying to escape persecution. Some decide that they need to experience another culture. And some are forced to do so, for no conceivable reason, and have no real choice in the matter.
There’s no point in re-hashing why my parents moved to the United States. To be honest, they tried to go to Australia and New Zealand for the longest time, but could not make it those countries. I made the most of what was a horrifying third-choice, and learned one very vital lesson: Don’t move your child to a new country when they are 15, unless they are dying. Because, it is essentially, akin to killing her or him.
But enough about the nightmare that is the United States. What I do want to talk about is the utterly marvelous, thrilling, spectacular, life-changing, journey home.
It has taken me a long time to write this because I’ve been lost for words. That doesn’t bode well for a writer or aspiring novelist. Yet, it is hard to write about magic.
Therefore, I’ll start with the photos. Now, photos cannot quite capture freedom. Nor do words. All I can say about freedom is that it is brief, it is beautiful, and everyone should be able to have a glimpse of it, if not feel it throughout their lifetimes.
The other thing about freedom–a secret that only a former prisoner can attest to–is that you don’t really feel it until it is gone.
My middle-order MLK and the DREAM for Immigrant Rights was posted earlier today at Change.org but I will use my space here to share with you two more great lessons from Martin Luther King Jr., that guides my daily life and philosophy. The source is Letter from Birmingham Jail and this time, it is the “white moderate” under attack:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
-Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from Birmingham Jail
I have already once blogged this quote here, while deriding people in the ‘immigrant rights’ movement for holding the DREAM Act hostage. It still holds true today when ‘immigrant rights’ people are quick to blame and judge ‘anarchists’ for creating an atmosphere of violence when it is simply PIC who feel that pepper-spraying children is a necessary action when it comes to “crowd control.”
But it is not our ‘allies’ that I am too concerned about nowadays. We know how to use them and they know how to use us–it is an exploitation based on a symbiotic relationship. I am more concerned about those in our ranks who choose to do nothing.