They Also Dream

13

January 20, 2020-

In marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Prescott-an essentially conservative and largely White community, has permitted and conducted a march for social justice, from Prescott College, on the Near West Side, to and around Yavapai County Courthouse and  thence to Prescott United Methodist Church, about midway between the two sites.

Today was the fifth time I participated in this march, and attended its subsequent non-denominational service, hosted jointly by the Methodists, the Unitarian-Universalist congregation, the Ebony Christian Church and Prescott Peace-builders.  The message is that of building harmony and co-operation, among the people of Prescott and Yavapai County.

There is also grave concern, especially among the young people present, for seeing that justice is served to those who are apprehended, whilst crossing our nation’s southern border.  There is a sense among many of the college-, and high school, age people, as well as the more actively liberal senior citizens, around the county, that there needs to be a greater effort towards humanitarian treatment of the undocumented.

I have a lot of empathy for anyone who is suffering.  Some, I can help; others, I defer to those who are better-suited for doing what is needed.  There is also the need, as I see it, to NOT HATE those whose viewpoints on this, and other subjects, is different.  Some people who were present today did not seem to hear the words  spoken by a reader of Dr. King’s words:  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness.  Only light can  do that.  Hatred cannot drive out hatred.  Only love can do that.”

I have spoken with several people who fear the young, the liberals, and above all, those who hail from Mexico and points further south.  Theirs, whether the plaints of long-term residents, who see their way of life eroding, or those of  first-generation immigrants, who came here for the benefits of an orderly society-or to escape authoritarian regimes, is the cry for moving cautiously.  I know of only a few, among them, whose underpinning is that of White Supremacy.

That last is something I vehemently oppose.  There is no such thing as a superior race, or any race at all, for that matter, save the Human Race.  There is a key place in the world, for a sane and intelligent patriotism-which will acknowledge the legitimate rights of people in other nations to love their countries, without pitching for a jingoistic worldview, or for any nation’s hegemony over others.

With all that, I recognize that the vast majority of the world’s people have dreams-of a meaningful life, of being loved and appreciated and of finding a path to peace.  There are serious breakdowns in communication, in the distribution of resources and, for far too many-from the mentally ill to the chronically destitute- in the attainment of self-esteem. These issues will prove to have a variety of solutions, for which the prerequisite is the taking down of the walls of ideology-both on the Right and on the Left.

Those one fears, also have their legitimate dreams.

Nauru

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August 24, 2016, Prescott-  I listened to a report, on NPR this morning, about the incarceration of minor children who are undocumented immigrants, caught in Australia.  They are transported to Nauru, a mini-state that was administered by the Australian government, before gaining independence in 1968.  It functioned as a country for some forty years, until the phosphates which abounded on its small land frame, ran out.  Now, Nauru operates as a tax haven and as a prison island.

The detention centre used by Australia lies in a desolate, worn-out mining district.  The treatment meted out to the children, according to a former monitor, who defied Australian law, by speaking out, is violent and as abysmal as the surroundings.  NPR will give Save The Children- Australia, allegedly a partner in the abuse, a chance to present its side of the story, tomorrow.  The Australian government is also being afforded an opportunity to respond to the charges.

Generally, when “child-centered” non-profit organizations turn away from their stated mission, it has become a matter of bringing in enough revenue to meet operating costs, and to avoid angering the powers that be, who are often acquiescent to a “measure” of abuse.  I have seen this in several places, from the Navajo and Lakota Sioux nations, to Phoenix and eastern Massachusetts.

Being complicit, or complacent, in or towards abuse and neglect is a crime against humanity.  To shrug one’s shoulders, and say “Well, money pays the bills.”, will not set well in the eventual court of law that gets to deal with the case.  I will not be surprised to see several Save The Children officials, and people in both the Australian and Nauruan governments, facing a higher court, very soon.