Anthony Bourdain’s death, Migrant Children, and Zara Jackets. Amongst other painful things…

An excerpt from a passage I wrote on June 8th, the day Anthony Bourdain took his own life in Kaysersberg, France.

Anthony Bourdain died today. This morning actually so I guess it was yesterday, according to French time zone differences. Why is it that the ones we so envy, often are the unhappiest? The ones so troubled and bothered they take their own breath? I read the tales and stories of places they once were; saw, felt, and experienced the essence, but now it’s all in the past. No more for him and it’s up to the rest of us, the ones he inspired to live the way you want, unapologetically. To appreciate the culture, for it’s culture and feast into their delicacies, quite unapologetically as well. To rest for this great man, is sad for many and makes me wonder honestly, are we all, alright? How many times have I felt so artistically fragile I broke at my own reflection in the mirror? There is no amount of red acrylic paint or Siracha in Mexico to amount to the internal blood sheds I’ve stricken upon myself. Grieving from within so desperately breathing was a chore, the splintering pains coming from my core. He too, probably fought the same demons we battle when all is quiet and we pray for sunrise all night, until we see those solace bearing beams of light jutting through the curtains the morning, setting us free from our mental binds.  I hope with all the fibers of my being we can all think about our places in others lives especially, we are here as a collective group due to the effort of other people. It is so unknowing how much we need to support and thrive with one another. Letting magnificent minds like Anthony Bourdain’s cease all of our existences feels undeniably heart wrenching. In every country I went to with my laptop, no matter what length of despair or giddiness I landed on that night, I could always settle back to balanced, hearing his luxurious descriptions of lands I would then dream of later on fast asleep. His nonchalant expression while viewing some of the world’s greatest sights comforted me to a feeling of great humbleness. Did he not feel the same? It’s a shame.

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The matter was sad for a day with everyone paying their respects via social media, something useless but currently the trend I suppose. Then it seemed like we all just continued on with life and pushed those somber feelings to the back of the vault where the rest of them live. How have we grown so painstakingly insensitive? It seems there are graphic images being seen through many eyes in this country and beyond, from the actual news, to children’s video games. Violence and empathy are not two synonymous terms, and there it’s an unmistakeable observation that as a cohesive society we are doubtlessly lacking in the empathetic department.

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Lately, absolute horrific, trash behavior has been exuding from America’s corner of the ring. We withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council after we blatantly violated them. Melania Trump wore a jacket to an immigrant children’s shelter down on the Mexico border, wearing a jacket with the words “I don’t really care, do you?” printed on the back.  It seems laughably fictional, except this is indeed the nightmare we’re living here in America. The issue in this circumstance is unquestionably Melania’s ignorant attitude, but the issue overall is the fact this stupid jacket was even made? It’s a last season Zara jacket. Regardless if it’s obviously offensive toward the Central American children the United States Agents are illegally ripping from their families, it’s not even in season. The jacket symbolizes the entire hype around being a “tough guy” and “not caring ” because it’s cool. It is NOT cool. Pitiful, is probably the nicest way to describe the submissive and aggressively neutral woman who serves as our First Lady, what an example for our daughters to look up to, not.

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“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” said Elie Wiesel. I feel thirsty for a change that must  come and end so much terrifying nonsense happening in America today.

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How truly heart wrenching is it, that many pertaining to our elder generations in America have been so conditioned to believe every thing the president says, that we have turned a cheek on children being stripped from their loving and willing parents’ arms? Let me give you the quick facts if you don’t want to read the fact checked Washington Post article I linked.

VIA THE WASHINGTON POST: 

“Administration officials have pointed to a set of laws and court rulings that they said forced their hand:

  • 1997 federal consent decree that requires the government to release all children apprehended crossing the border. The “Flores” consent decree began as a class-action lawsuit. The Justice Department negotiated a settlement during President Bill Clinton’s administration. According to a 2016 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the Flores settlement requires the federal government to release rather than detain all undocumented immigrant children, whether they crossed with parents or alone. The agreement does not cover any parents who might be accompanying those minors, but it also does not mandate that parents be prosecuted or that families be separated. Moreover, Congress could pass a law that overrides the terms of the Flores settlement. Waldman said the Flores settlement requires the government to keep immigrant families together for only 20 days, but no part of the consent decree requires that families be separated after 20 days. Courts have ruled that children must be released from detention facilities within 20 days under the Flores consent decree, but none of these legal developments prevents the government from releasing parents along with children.
  • A 2008 law meant to curb human trafficking called the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This law covers children of all nationalities except Canadians and Mexicans. Central American children who are apprehended trying to enter the United States must be released rather than detained under the terms of the TVPRA, and they’re exempt from prompt return to their home countries. The law passed with wide bipartisan support and was signed by a Republican president, George W. Bush. No part of the TVPRA requires family separations.
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. This comprehensive law governs U.S. immigration and citizenship and makes a person’s first illegal entry into the United States a misdemeanor. Clinton, Bush and Obama — the presidents who were in office during the immigration boom of the past few decades — never enforced the INA’s illegal-entry provision with the Trump administration’s zeal.  The INA says nothing about separating families. It was sponsored by Democrats and passed by a Democratic-held Congress. President Harry Truman, also a Democrat, tried to veto the bill, describing it as a reactionary and “un-American” measure meant to keep out immigrants from Eastern Europe. Congress overrode his veto. “

So, no, it’s not entirely any one person’s fault other than Trump, who is subsequently choosing to now not enforce the zero tolerance policy as of three days ago. This hasn’t been happening for years, it’s not the democrats, hell it’s not even the republican’s it’s his administration, it’s all his administration. But then again, the insensitivity in this country was what got Trump elected in the first place anyways. How embarrassed was I, after hearing that my own Father voted for this man, who has said such derogatory things toward women and been allegedly responsible for their abuse?  Of course, the allegations never came to light for the victims, nevertheless another example of insensitivity attributed to the Justice system of the USA.  My own dad doesn’t even c a r e, that the man now running our country in a 2005 recording caught on tape said: “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” Classy. Isn’t it slightly troubling that the man who is responsible for half my creation, and then the leader of my country share the same carelessly sexist characteristics? Hmm, seems like my widespread insensitivity claim wasn’t so bogus after all.

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It is unfortunate though, that the United States has chosen to bid farewell to the UN Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on Tuesday, that the council is hypocritical and that the United States’ withdrawal does not inhibit us from enforcing our Human Rights commitments, which we currently have been plainly ignoring to implement. Tearing children from their caring, and loving parents is not stated in any law other than Trump’s zero tolerance policy. Stop trying to blame others and not look yourself in the mirror to see the monster your reflection supports. There is no argument, either you agree with children being separated from their families or you’re a decent human being.  Frankly, these kids are literally lost without their parents, who are left  knowing nothing about their whereabouts. “Children and parents who are separated sometimes don’t have any way to communicate with each other for days, for weeks — I’ve seen months where a parent had no idea where their child was after the U.S. government took their child away.” said Laura St. John, the The Florence Project’s legal director, while she was telling told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes about the matter’s implication. As a country we consider many of the violent gang’s causing turmoil in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala as dangerous groups, some even at points in time being acknowledged as organized and functioning terror groups.  According to the CRS Report for Congress all the way back in 2007, the violence due to gangs in Central America were clearly recognized and stated.  The Los Angeles gang with roots in El Salvador, MS-13 is responsible for widespread violent crime in Central America and bringing terribly high rates of homicide to the region. The issue since this 2007 report has since been exacerbated to the extent that in the first 20 days of 2018, 220 homicides were reported in El Salvador, where the gang is prominent in that region. Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Sureños del Barrio 13 subject the countries to extortion, territorial control, hired killers, drug dealers, protection services, and illegal drug hauling. Why wouldn’t a parent with young children try to solidify safer ground for their family in any way they could manage? It is essentially useless to apply for the correct documents for legal entry, because the United States simply will deny asylum seekers access to the country anyways. Waiting their “turn” means life and death for these people who already have nothing, searching for help from a country’s hand who’s fist is clasped tightly around fascism.  I can’t believe the United States can acknowledge the true chaotic situation unfolding these countries, yet collectively by new policy decide to deny asylum to the families, desperately banging on our door for help. Rueben García, who runs a migrant shelter on the Texas border told the New Yorker that “asylum seekers are being told there isn’t enough room to process them on the American side of the border. They are using that tactic as a way to push people out and deny people asylum”.

As I sleep in my own warm bed, with a full stomach and hot water at my disposal a few steps away, in my very own room, in an enormous house with laundry and amenities people in 3rd world countries haven’t even dreamt of; I am humbled at the struggle these people don’t need to be going through. If you would like to help and donate to any non-profit organization helping the cause down South, choose one of the following.

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But, enough about Trump, I’m sick of feeding into his nightmare, because the general consensus includes many more issues than solely Trump’s glaringly unconcealed xenophobia, racist comments, sexist persona, and the all the rest of the negatives about his character…

Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s stop letting careless and insensitive people try to influence our morality. There seems to be a new mass shooting every month. A black guy is either getting killed or wrongfully profiled by cops each week. The water in flint Michigan is so saturated with lead, the children’s blood tests have stirred up a medical state of emergency in that area. Innocent babies are being taken from their mother’s at the Mexican border where U.S. Agents are lying to the parents, saying their children will be bathed and then are never returned and so on and so forth each day.

– We care about troubling issues for a certain allotment of time. And famous people committing suicide exerts a considerably low level of empathy from many in America, never mind caring about children we’ve never even met. We all seem to only care when it affects us directly. If this article has had any purpose, any message, or any small glimmer of hope to take away from it is that we are all one. All from the homo-sapien species, all the same functioning human body, with various colors of skin and different body configurations, to sustain us for how ever long we breathe this Earth’s glorious air. It is crucial that we take a stand for morality, for each other’s sakes. To rest for Anthony Bourdain, a great man who brought many of the issues from unrepresented people’s to light through his writings and travels. I hope to do the same, and to always remember that we are all connected, and one person’s suffering never, ever justifies another’s.

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Never stop fighting the good fight, even when you have no air left in your lungs to scream, or strength in your legs to run, never give up on the ones who don’t deserve the treatment they receive. What have we forgotten since we graciously took the credit for liberating many Nazi concentration camps and saving Jews (and others) from wrongful persecution after 1945? Do the same rules not apply if the color of their skin is brown and they speak Spanish?

Now I will conclude my thoughts, and give you some new ones to occupy your lonely nights.

Love,

T xx.

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