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gopiscrap

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Frankfurt am Main
Home country: Germany
Current location: Tacoma, Washington
Member since: Sat Jul 18, 2009, 10:55 AM
Number of posts: 19,530

About Me

Ran for US Congress in 1990 from the left. Chairperson of 1989 city advisory initiative calling for 10% reduction in military spending to be divided among deficit reduction and mass transit and social services. Being a miliary town nobody thought we'd get on the balllot let alone win with 64% of the vote. Former chair of peace and justice project for a UMC congregation in Tacoma, Washington.

Journal Archives

The infants squalling is what you hear first then,

the toddlers crying. It's a matter of patience and endurance. The prevailing atmosphere is one of chaos, tension and hope. The frustration is supreme and continuous The US is doing all it can to out endure the refugees seeking asylum. The treatment is brisk and not friendly in any manner. It's almost like a purposeful system of dehumanizing. These are my first impressions at the processing center close to the border.

It is almost better in the camp itself. Yes, there is squalor and constant noise, but for what ever time folks are there, they are making this their temporary home.

Children, of which there is a majority have it the worst. The little ones don't what is going on. Everything they knew, is gone! The older ones, specially the teens know all too well what is happening and many don't have the emotional skills to deal with it.

You actually need a permit to get into the camp (ten miles south east of Tijuana) , but as I watched it is very loosely enforced. There is some Mexican military present but they are not there so much as to regulate the in and out flow or keep order in the camp as to regulate the feeding. Breakfast is at 9 and dinner at 4pm.

There is great need for phone cards, shoes, socks, foot care items, respiratory medication and of course cash.

Makeshift tents litter the concrete of an old abandoned night club. There are four "showers" basically large sinks for those in the camp with out children. There are loosely rigged showers made with pvc pipe for inside the "camp inside the camp" (families with children) there is a pattern in the chaos and those who have been there for awhile seem to get acclimated to the daily ebb and flow of the camps activity.

The brightest spot for me was the ad hoc school. I fell in love with the kids. They tried to teach me some Spanish (probably a few words I shouldn't know) and I taught them some English/American slang. We even sang a round together. They loved that, singing really brought them out of their shell.

The children provide the most humanity in this depressing situation...their penchant for laughter and joy sometimes overflows to even the adults and camp workers. Many still have that gleam of mischief and that they will make the best of what is available..the older ones do know what has been and what the future might hold both good and bad.

It was profoundly humbling to know that in such an extreme situation, there are still commonalities among all people... a chance for a laugh, a smile, a hug and reassurance that this is to be a temporary stage of life.

I left the camp near tears. What have we become as a nation? I felt the guilt of our administration's actions. Where ever I went, I made sure that folks were reassured that the great mass of US holds them no ill will, in fact many are kindred spirits with them in thought, prayer and action!

I left the camp with anger. This doesn't have to be this way. Our country's inhumanity towards others is inexcusable. Both by direct action and even more so IMHO as to the huge sectors of ignorance, prejudice and apathy of the vast majority going about comfortably ion their daily lives.

Finally I left in a sense of awe. I have so much, and these folks so little. Yet in the midst of all the loss and tragedy, unknown and fear...there is hope!!! There is laughter and bonding. There is acceptance of those to come among them to form community. Could I be that open and cheerful in the midst of such a situation? I don't know!

These are just my first impressions. It took me a couple of days just to let my emotions, thoughts and impressions to gel. I do know that my first world problems are miniscule compared to what our brothers and sisters south of the border are facing

Sorry for the long post ...I just had to emote!

From the El Barratel-Mike C
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