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Est. April 5, 2002
July 04, 2019 - Issue 796

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Dehumanizing Children at the Border:
What Does This Say about Ordinary Americans?

"Too many Americans, ordinary citizens, adults have
given in to perpetuating violence against the little ones!
The visibly deplorable conditions at Clint best represents
not the children’s state of mind but rather how the process
of dehumanizing ordinary Americans is what’s really going
on at the detention center in Clint, Texas."

The assault on the system of women power requires the
replacing of a peaceful, nonpunitive, nonauthoritian
social system wherein women wield power by making
social life easy and gentle with one based on child terrorization,
male dominance, and submission of women to male authority.

Paula Gunn Allen,

The first version of the Klan in the defeated American South
was arguably a remarkable preview of the way fascist
movements were to function in interwar Europe. It should
not be surprising, after all,that the most precocious
democracies—the United States and France— should
have generated precocious backlashes against democracy.

Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism

I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal
sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace—not in the
infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough
and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.

James Baldwin, “Down at the Cross,” The Fire Next Time

William Shakespeare’s stand-in, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, refers directly to the familial calamity that is the subjugation of compassion, love, while indirectly exposing the State as corrupt and murderous. What’s the Prince to do? He suspects and he’s received a somewhat “ghostly” acknowledgment of corruption and murder.

All is not well in Denmark! Nothing good can come of this affront: kill a brother to gain power.

Earlier, the King, Hamlet’s uncle and step-father, newly married to Hamlet’s mother, suspecting Hamlet’s unease, urges the Prince to be himself in Denmark. Relax. All is well—or will be as soon as you, Hamlet, get on board! Pretend you are free of any responsibility for the current arraignment. It’s natural.

The foundation of the State is thoroughly corrupt, and no amount of bribery is capable of making Hamlet feign ignorance of the violence and its cover up.

And Hamlet doesn’t procrastinate.

In the US today, that is, not somewhere else, in some “enemy” or in some “rogue” State, but in the US, in Clint, Texas, there were children, toddlers to teenagers, held in filthy conditions at a detention station, not fit for our fellow animal species.

“Children as young as 7 and 8,” are being held at this site, according to the   reporters at the New York Times (June 21, 2019) who spoke with lawyers on the scene.
Many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met… Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.”

The detention station personnel couldn’t see it in their agenda or hearts to provide soap or toothbrushes for these children. The conditions at the station, in general, were described as being “unsanitary.” Several of the children were visibly sick to the group of six lawyers who entered the detention site and spoke with 60 of the 300 or so children, held in a room that, according to attorney Warren Binford, speaking to a New Yorker staff member, appeared to be a “warehouse” with “no windows” (June 22, 2019).

On June 24, 2019, many of the children were transferred to another facility in El Paso—another facility consisting of tents! Tents! For babies and children. But wait! The next day, the children are returned to the Clint detention station. And you have to asks—who are these adults, those who should be caregivers, guardians to children regardless of race or class, regardless of whether or not these children are your “flesh and blood.” These are children! Infants! And, let’s please stop with the “migrant children.” These are children! Period!

And, as if this narrative isn’t absurd enough, the children have been returned to the Clint detention station—because no one on the scene at US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is thinking about the children!

What will be next in store for these children who’ve suffered enough?

Luckily, Attorney Binford isn’t remaining silent. Along with other lawyers who’ve witnessed what seems to be a complete absence of compassion at Clint, she speaking out on behalf of the children who are suffering from the cruelty inflicted upon them by adults! Binford, after talking with the children, is recounting to the press what is actually happening at the US border to the least of us! To babies and children under 18-years old. And, again, on US soil.

So too, Attorney Elora Mukherjee, Director of the Immigrant’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, is telling a very different narrative from that in which the US is the land of the free and brave. No one is free in the scenario Mukherjee describes, and the only brave ones are the children themselves, doing the best they can to remain human in a human-made scenario intended to dehumanize them. Caring for one another, the children are the brave ones made to exist, as Mukherjee describe, in the “stench” because “the overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border.” In her description, we see a teen mother soiled with breast milk as is her 5 month old infant. We see children hungry because barely feed and the food itself should never have been given to any human being, let alone children.

And the influenza and lice!

What in the lives of these adults brings them to this moment when, in the presence of these attorneys, they insist on their “innocence”? It’s the children not us, huh? The five month old, too? The cover up always begins in a cloak of innocence.

(Claudius, celebrating his coronation joyously, wore his crown well).

At the Texas border, children separated from their parents are reclassified as being “unaccompanied” children, according to the New York Times. “We don’t know where the parents are being kept, Binford told the New Yorker.

And do you think the Americans working for the CBP at Clint care where the parents are located?

What have these children done to be treated so cruelly by a Christian nation? How can anyone expect good to come from the attempt to dehumanize children? This unholy alliance of hate and cruelty rests on the adults—the ordinary citizen, worker, family members themselves, aligning themselves with the States murderous spirit! The US is a collection of people, a segment of humanity. Is this nation to continue holding on to aspects of itself that have engaged in indifference when it comes to the torturing and the murdering of fellow human beings?

Too many Americans, ordinary citizens, adults have given in to perpetuating violence against the little ones! The visibly deplorable conditions at Clint best represents not the children’s state of mind but rather how the process of dehumanizing ordinary Americans is what’s really going on at the detention center in Clint, Texas.

It’s not new. In US history, the subjugated narrative of violence overflows with separated children—black children of enslaved mothers, shipped off to other plantations, and Indigenous children, separated from parents to be “educated” in “Americanism.”

And now children from South America… But I think this is a repeat too!

When will this practice of cruelty and indifference ever end?

And is anyone talking about the US’s role in destroying the chances of democracy and freedom in places like Guatemala or Columbia, or for that matter Haiti or Mexico? No, because such a transforming behavior would require that ordinary Americans look inward. Self-reflection it’s called. But no—to depressing, on the one hand, while, on the other, it’s so much easier to point the finger at little brown children and think of them as “the enemy.”

Little gangsters in the making, says Trump!

Nothing good can come from this! Editorial Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Contact Dr. Daniels.
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