La Mariposa en la Pared

The everyday experiences of latino immigrants through the eyes of an outsider. Las vidas típicas de unos inmigrantes latinos a través de los ojos de una forastera.

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Location: Upstate NY, United States

"To me it’s always interesting when you get accepted somewhere you don’t really belong. It’s interesting when people open up and let you in their world." - Gilles Mingasson

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Breaking Free

God bless the Palestinian people.

Which brings me to a new definition of "border" as put forth today by Luis Alberto Urrea:

BORDER, n. 1. An imaginary line imposed on an indigenous landscape by men who are not from that landscape; 2. A line that unites two different cultures and forms an unbreakable bond between them.

The first definition seems the most accurate, and helps explain why borders can be so disfunctional for the people living at odds with them.

The second presents an invitation and a challenge to see the people on the other side as connected rather than separated from our reality on this side. The more familiar you are with someone, the more commonalities you can find between the "other" and you, the less likely you are to fear them, and much less likely to see any need to hate them.

We all need to break free from something. For the Palestinians, it was hunger, need, and imprisonment. Perhaps we need to break down the walls in our mind that define our views of borders, and look at the real purposes they serve, reject the divisiveness of the line and embrace instead the unity that can come from meeting there.

Speaking of meeting at the border, John Moore of Nonviolent Migration is organizing a walk to show support for landowners along the border who are resisting the fence. If you feel like being civilly disobedient, or would just like to spend a few days walking and talking with some passionate people in the gorgeous Texas sun for a just cause, sign up and get on down there.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Breakin' the Law

I'm a felon... in Oklahoma.

No one who knows me would ever guess that I belong behind bars. But I prefer to live a life that makes the lives of others better in some way. There is no greater tragedy than turning our backs on people who live in need among us, and it seems so unreal that American laws would encourage just that. Serving others without regard for where they were born, befriending people without first asking to see their documents, is just part of being human.
One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes humanitarian needs trump immigration law.
- Joe Biden