Themes - 27 septembre 2010

fr - USA, Borderlands reflection : Liberty ... for whom ?

 "Y cuando digo : ¡libertad ! me dicen : ¡muere !" ("And when I say liberty, they say to me, death.")—Otto Rene Castillo [1]

The border city of El Paso , Texas/Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua awoke on U.S.Independence Day to headlines in the newspapers announcing the shooting of a migrant by a Border Patrol agent. This incident was the second Border Patrol shooting of an undocumented person in as many weeks, and the fourth this year in El Paso . The shooting has increased fear and anxiety among many in this majority Latino com munity.
 
Earlier this week, at Annunciation House, a shelter for migrants and refugees on the fringes of El Paso ’s El Segundo Barrio, two Border Patrol agents attempted to enter the facility to apprehend a migrant whose employer had just dropped him off. The Border Patrol is a regular presence in this old Latino neighborhood between El Paso ’s downtown and the bridges over the Rio Grande to Juarez . Guests of Annunciation House might be detained anywhere outside the house, but inside they find a sanctuary usually respected by the Border Patrol. On this particular night, Annunciation House staff successfully and non-violently resisted the agents’ pursuit. However, the Border Patrol did detain another guest of the shelter who was leaving the building. He will be deported.
 
Many of the residents of this part of the border feel they live in one city, not two. Most families in El Paso , 80% of whose population is of Hispanic or Latino origin, have close ties that reach across to Juarez . Ten percent of the students at the University of El Paso come over the border from Mexico every day to attend classes. For these people, the border is a place where people come together, rather than something to keep people apart.
 
This border and the way we police it says much more about our concept of liberty than it does about the people from the South who seek a better livelihood here. This latest shooting in El Paso , alongside the mounting deaths in the desert in Arizona , speaks louder than words. It leaves us with questions : Liberty for whom ? Independence from what ? At what cost, and at whose expense ?
 
To what kind of freedom did you wake up this morning ?
 
  -----------------------
  Mark Frey
  Christian Peacemaker Teams
  CPT Chicago Office
  Tel : 773-277-0253
  Fax : 773-277-0291
 
"Speak out for those who cannot speak,for the rights of all the destitute." (Proverbs 31:8)