first, we are human, and so are these children

imagine with me for a moment this scenario, if you dare.

a scenario where together we saw a little girl, cold and sick and hungry.

let’s pretend that at this moment the stains of vomit, the stench of urine and feces were so great that our eyes watered and we covered our noses out of reflex, an involuntary motion. we were embarrassed by this, but we couldn’t help it. we hoped she didn’t notice our uncomfortable glances. yet we didn’t feel any sense of emotion rise up in us.

her breath reeked from the lack of available toothbrush for her teeth, her hands caked with dirt and dried mucus and who knows what else because she had been denied the basic necessity of hand soap. perhaps she had done something to deserve this, after all, no child would be treated this way if she wasn’t guilty of something.

instead of outrage, we turned our heads.

instead of demanding answers, we were silent.

it was so cold in this drab facility that housed this child that we couldn’t stop shivering, but she seemed numb to the cruel temperatures. how long had she been here?

she was so weak from lack of nutrition that she could barely lift her legs, her muscles turning to atrophy. it’s not like it was our responsibility to help her though, why would we when it wasn’t us that had brought her here?

in the distance, there were strangers milling about, chatting with each other and showing little interest in the child. they wore security uniforms but didn’t seem the least bit worried about securing the premises.

besides, it’s not like this was a prison. she was probably just here while her family figured things out.

as we looked around, we noticed that there were others just like this little girl, in similar conditions and with the same weary, blank and disconnected look on their faces.

we were still unmoved because these weren’t our children. when they talked, we couldn’t understand them. how could they expect us to help them if they couldn’t help themselves anyway?

we decided that when we returned home, we wouldn’t discuss what we had seen with others. why raise alarm when we weren’t sure about the details? besides, we had our own children to worry about.

the problem with this tale is that it’s not something that we have to imagine. it’s happening and we are allowing it, in the country we call home. in a week we will be celebrating with parades and flags and everything patriotic, while children continue to suffer in agony on the border. this is not okay.

we can debate policy and taxes and whether the state should use our hard-earned money to pay for roads and healthcare for all. we are liberal and we are conservative, democrat and republican. however, before we stage these arguments and hold these labels, first we are human, and so are these children.

we aren’t inclined to be silent about the inhumanity toward others simply because we don’t have all the facts. we know enough. we don’t get to use our citizenship as a ladder that we can climb to look down on others simply because they weren’t born here. inhumane treatment of humans, children or otherwise, is an atrocity.

imagine a scenario where we actually did what Jesus commanded us to do. to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty and clothes to the naked. He didn’t say that with a caveat. He didn’t offer a loophole. It was a command.

what if we did Jesus what told us to do? oh, what a world that would be.

 

For information about what is happening at the border, here are a few links:

The Youngest Known Child Separated From His Family at the U.S. Border Under Trump

What We Know: Family Separation And ‘Zero Tolerance’ At The Border

Family Separation by the numbers

If you want to help, here are some additional links:

Together Rising

5 Ways to Help Migrant Children and Families Right Now

Women’s Refuge Commission

Feel Helpless Amidst the Horrific Immigration News? You’re Not. Here’s What To Do.

Advertisements