Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Wall against Workers

This is the English version of Muro contra Trabajadores, the post in Spanish for May 28, 2010.   After you read the post below, click here  to see a Mexican pride video with English subtitles --> Grupo Terminadores: Hijo de Mexico. 

La Koala showed me her room and how clean and nicely arranged she keeps it.  I heard her leaving in the morning rain and expected that she was on her way off to wash.  Her friend took her in his truck to the laundry mat and she washed everything she could take from the room and put in the machines, including the bedspread and curtains.  Her girlfriend's shirts hang together on hangers with kitchen towels, everything covered with the protection of a big transparent plastic bag.  It looks to me like she has people in good places, because when I asked if she paid to have everything, including kitchen towels, ironed; she said no, she did it with the iron at the laundry mat.

Most times I do not understand her and have to ask questions.  I get one or two words whose English meaning I can guess.  I repeat the guess in other words to confirm my suspicion, while she pauses to think of another way to say what she was telling me.  To chat with someone who does not speak a language well, or know it well, is a pain.  So someone has to really want to talk with a person from another culture just because of the problem of language, and that's only the first of many obstacles where they go stumbling.

The second problem is the money the immigrant lacks.  She does not lack hope or energy, although she has to send and send, a portion of her earnings; every time she turns around some family member is asking, "Aunt, are you going to send me something for my birthday?"

"Daughter, please send me a little something.  Your niece needs it to buy books at school."  They never cease to call with requests.  And what can the immigrant say if she is sweeping money from the floor?

The third problem, and most unfortunate because it is born of fear, ignorance and lies, is the law that separates the strangers from the natives.

There are laws that we know are against reason and justice.  They are against reason because they do not serve to develop a state of sanity in any population.  They are against justice because they put under the thumb of those who have, those who lack; they guarantee that the people who enjoy the most opportunities cannot offer a hand, without running a legal risk, to people that struggle without rest to gain a little.

So, the law that persecutes workers crossing frontiers in search of a fair wage is delinquent; and upright people are bound to confront this power so puffed up and corrupt which presumes to separate, with a wall, thousands of people.  This entity pretends to decide if and when the Indians can join us.  These guards intend to control the source of help and friendship within a population.

We should never forget that we are the same population, that we have the right to be friends with our neighbors.

It is worth the effort to learn a new language, stumble like a fool who understands nothing and looks rather stupid.  It is worth a lot to pursue friendship with someone from another country that comes hat in hand, looking for a better life.  And so, I live with Koala, and today Juan is coming by for a visit.  He and Koala play some cards and I listen to them, two Mexicans cutting up in Spanish.  Later, I will ask Juan what does 'I burnt the devils' feet' mean?  This is how I learn, bit by bit.  This is how I feel a little more like a member of the big world.