Emma’s Tears

Remember our own heritage when we think of the border

J‌akelin Caal Maquin, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, ‌celebrating her birthday on the road with a caravan of migrants, and with her first pair of shoes, was on her way to a better life.

She is dead.

Not by a physical assault or a vehicular accident. No. The official cause of death was sepsis shock, a result most likely from poor nutrition or an infection of some sort—yet another victim of the global diaspora occurring daily, when people are forced to leave their countries of origin, due to the repressive and ineffectual policies of those governments and rampant domestic lawlessness under which they live. So desperate to escape war, political oppression and poverty, they depart with just the bare essentials, but with much hope and faith, to find a more compassionate land to live in—and to escape those intolerable conditions.

And those conditions are only further exacerbated by the failure of the global “community” to address adequately the ongoing environmental degradation of natural resources and lands, and the continuing impact of technology in disrupting those peoples’ lives. Without a radical reevaluation of what needs to be done to alleviate human misery, we will continue to see a further exodus of people fleeing for their safety and security.

This child’s death may seem extraordinary. It is not. In fact, it has become the norm. The media happened to be following this migratory event and the timing was synchronistic—the story got told.

Those elected officials, so quick to cast aside this current group of people south of our border, should look to their own heritage and realize that perhaps two or three generations ago, they, too, came from immigrant stock. Perhaps, Mr. Trump should lead an excursion with those elected officials, to that small island in New York Harbor, where Lady Liberty resides and read Emma Lazarus’ inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. . . .”

E. G. Singer lives in Santa Rosa.

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