Ventura @ 4am / Re Concentration Camps

“Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. They’re allowed to take only a knapsack and a little cash with them, and even then, they’re robbed of these possessions on the way. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find their parents have disappeared. Women return from shopping to find their houses sealed, their families gone. Everyone is scared.”

 

That is our America now. That has been our America for two and a half years. Those words, however, were written in January of 1943, by a 13-year-old Jew hiding from Holland’s version of ICE —

Anne Frank, of course.

(Artwork, left: Dan Hubig © 2019)

 

Maybe that’s not happening to people of your color, maybe it doesn’t apply to people of your ethnicity or legal status — but how much difference does that really make? In Anne Frank’s time and place, her description didn’t apply to most Christians — so? The stain left by the camps in which Frank eventually died is a stain on humanity, not on one or another of its segments. So it is with the camps along our border today.

 

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Who are we when our Bill of Rights does not apply to every child?

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Trumpists and not a few Democrats recoil when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others call ICE detention centers “concentration camps for children.” I wonder where you’d think you were if you woke from sleep to find yourself on a floor, in a crowded filthy structure, surrounded by many like yourself sleeping right beside you on all sides — all of you enclosed, guarded, trapped, vulnerable, with one toilet and one bar of soap to be shared by everybody, no toothbrushes for anybody, in possession of no rights, with no means to address your situation, and no way out.

 

Oh — and you’re eleven years old. 

 

Policies begun under-the-radar by Barack Obama have been enlarged and swollen into raw atrocity by Donald Trump. Trumpists and their apologists (and, again, not a few Democrats) forget, or don’t want to remember, that the Bill of Rights is the law of this land; it applies to everyone on American soil, not to citizens only. 

 

Who are we when our Bill of Rights does not apply to every child?

 

This is as self-evident as it gets: To fail to raise your voice against atrocity is to stand as its accomplice.

 

Every one of our mirrors asks, “What are YOU doing about it?”

 

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Michael Ventura © 2019. All rights reserved.

 

Michael Ventura is a writer who lives in the mountains of Northern California.

 

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