Friday, October 5, 2007


My situation has changed.
Or maybe I should say my perspective has changed.
I have put myself into a position in which I can say that if humans are animals, the immigrant is a particular kind of human animal. And leaving one world behind for another is even more dangerous than the most astute and self-aware animal may know. One day you are in your homeland, and everything is fine. Maybe you are a villain, maybe you are well-respected. But the next day and a thousand miles away, you are doing the same things, living as you think right, or doing the best you can, but everything around you has changed. The world has turned beneath your feet. And now you are a criminal. Or a victim.
You don't speak the language and you don't know what you did wrong. What can you do? Who will help you?
Let's say this strange new country you are in sends police to you--eight men with black boots and guns--and they say, 'Tell us what happened and we will help you.' Or these same men come to you and say, 'You have broken our laws, come with us.' Let's say you're a nine-year-old boy and you watch these things happen to your parents. How can you know what is right?
If a violent act is standard in one country but illegal in another, how does the immigrant know that in this new place, here and now, it's okay to ask for help?

There are days when one can see too much and all jokes fail. Today was one of those days.

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