400 years ago, West African mothers and fathers cradled dead children in their arms on beaches as slave ships bucked in the surf.
It is 2015. How much longer will you and I and the world stand for this?
Little three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi drowned, his tiny sneakered feet dangling from the arms of a soldier who picked him up out of the sodden Turkish sand, because his own nation’s government did not belong to him, and because governments from the United Kingdom to the United States do not belong to those whom they purport to serve. They belong, instead, to strongmen and CEOs and senators who prosper when international capital makes money from a fragmented and corrupt Africa and a politically leaderless Middle East and an obese and self-obsessed America.
The power brokers work with available materials. In a Europe now destabilized by plutocratic greed, we see the tip of a resurfacing iceberg of racist xenophobia that we last saw rise in the ascent of the Third Reich. We also see anti-immigrant xenophobia in the United States, as a portion of the white electorate, for whom Donald Trump is the present demagogue, clings with venomous desperation to its legacy of privilege.
We know, too, that this worldwide crisis of displaced and suffering people is part of the continual wreckage that began with pre-colonial European conquest of the global South and continues through the havoc wreaked upon entire regions of the world, including the Middle East, by centuries of Western-capitalist-fueled war. From Columbus to G.W. Bush, it’s about destroying local sovereignty and sucking all we can from the resources that are exposed.
Yesterday I sent an email to the Hungarian Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Réka Szemerkényi, registering my disgust with the actions and baldly racist statements of Hungary and its Prime Minister with regard to the Syrian refugees who suffer there:
September 4, 2015
Shame, shame, shame on Hungary for your treatment of Syrian migrants, your disingenuous excuses for your actions, and your Prime Minister's contemptibly racist statement in a radio interview on Friday that "We may one morning wake up and realize that we are in the minority on our own continent."
You bring shame upon your citizens and your nation. I shall surely not travel as a tourist to Hungary as your website so cynically assures readers that we can. And I have lost all respect for your moral stature.
With disappointment and disgust,
Bruce A. Jacobs
Baltimore, MD USA
Please email the ambassador yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org .
But what will it take for we Americans, fat within our padding of Big Gulps and Big Macs and Big Savings, to walk out of our front doors and actually do what citizens do when our government is not ours, and when Syrians’ government is not Syrians’, and Hungary’s government is not Hungarians’?