Like many I saw a two year old little girl in red shirt standing in front of uniformed, gun toting border patrols of the southern border of this country (U.S.) crying after she was ripped off from her mother’s arms. The border patrol told the mother to put her down in this strange land with wriggling foreign tongue after many days/weeks of their journey. I saw her looking up at the feet of giants wringing her hands. I only imagine the words she uttered, “Mommy, mommy…”
I was two years old when my young oma (mom) carried me on her back fleeing from the North Korean troops. I clung unto her and she unto me as if we’re each other’s security blanket, said my oma. We were one enmeshed existence through and after the war.
For a two year old child, the separation from parents (care providers) has no place in her/his physical and emotional development. Safety and security are the utmost survival tools. We have been two years old. Even though we don’t remember it because of the young age, the trauma becomes the base line of human development, because the body cells remember the desperate cry with shaking little fists. The body remembers.
How did we become so cruel to each other? I remember the story from the New York Times of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. The villagers of Rohingha Moslem ethnic minority in Myanmar fled from their burning homes, and when they came to the borders between Myanmar and Bangladesh, soldiers with guns in their hands ordered rows of men, children and women with babies in their arms in the middle of the river not to move. A young petite woman stood in chest deep water holding her baby above the water. A soldier snatched her baby and hurled the baby into the fire. He grabbed her, and he and other soldiers gang-raped her. And then she was seen running naked bleeding.
How have we become so brutally mean to each other at the sake of national security? Babies are snatched away from mothers at the imaginary unnatural borders, and then they are thrown into cages (detention centers) or in the case of Myanmar into fire and then rape the childless young mother.
Do the mean spirited evil doers, baby snatchers and rapists forget their own childhood and family? Where are they from? Let’s remember that our existence is interdependent and contingent upon each other’s existence geographically and culturally. The world is disparate, but the kindness brings us closer by understanding that we are different. Remember the child’s cry again and again, because it’s our cry. Let’s not silence it. Let’s pry open the crack in the wall and see our own distant and repressed humanity. Hear cries of our own child!