Monday, July 21, 2014
The Land of Freedom and Lack of Respect for Human Rights
July 21, 2014
It makes me angry and I feel deceived when I see the president of this country and high level politicians almost continuously coming out in various media saying firmly and proudly that this country is the greatest defender of freedom and democracy, because wars have been waged on its behalf and millions of lives cut down, ostensibly in defense of these two rights. They want to establish order and justice across the borders in other countries where they have no business, and in their own country, they violate and destroy what they claim to defend; in other words they are "a light on the street and darkness in their own home" and why do I say this? Because I find it shameful that in a country like this one, those who are treated like second or third class citizens because of not having legal documents, are still being persecuted and their human rights violated.
Recently, I was talking to a person of North American nationality -- I will not say "American" because we are all Americans, because America is not only the fifty states of this nation, it is the continent and therefore I am also American -- and this person told me he was sick of immigrants coming and populating his country and that it was a shame that they were ending up with the resources that his ancestors had built. I was very upset at this comment and my response was, "Perhaps the real Native Americans had white skin and spoke an Anglo-Saxon language? Well, I don't think so. The real Americans were banished by the ancestors who began and built the borders of this nation, who came with swords and cannons to make room for themselves and take away what rightly belonged to the native indigenous people of this land. Therefore we are all immigrants and no one has the right to want to see others as second class citizens. It's sad to see how so many immigrants are being treated in the prisons. They are seen practically as people without dignity, simply for coming to seek a better life. Many are fleeing systems of terror, death, and fear. Is seeking new horizons an offense or a crime? I think not.
Freezers -- that's what the prisons where the young people, adults and children are brought are called. They are small, extremely cold areas where not only their freedom, hope and dreams are frozen, but also their very bodies. According to those who have already been there, they are so cold that they start to have symptoms of hypothermia. The cold prevents them from sleeping and resting. Going in there is practically losing everything. There's no food, no toiletries. There is virtually nothing. It's physical and psychological torture to which they are subjected and where there is no one who can help them.
How long will this country continue to allow such blows against human dignity? Can it be that the famous international community and those who claim to have the power to seek justice and freedom haven't realized that this is happening? Mr. President, stop talking about justice and freedom when you yourself are allowing these kinds of abuses against the dignity of human beings, simply because they weren't born here and are looking for a better future.
Fr. Alex Diaz is a priest from El Salvador who is presently Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City, Virginia.