When I watch CBS Evening News Norah O’Donnell’s report on the children in the border concentration camps, I wonder what has happened to us as human beings.
When I see their hungry little eyes look directly at Norah, I’m reminded of the prisoners found when the concentration camps were freed, and their pictures posted on the walls for future visitors to the camps to learn about the horror. Their eyes are begging for relief. The conditions are overcrowded, filthy, without medical care, and with only limited schooling or housing—except for cots and chairs that mark boundaries between families.
In World War II Nazi concentration camps, as Corrie Tin boom wrote in the Hiding Place, lice infested the innocent “race-tuberculosis of the peoples,” (as Hitler called the Jewish people); plus, even crackers were seldom available and clean ¬¬water scarce. Heads of men, women, and children were shaved; these human beings were herded not heard, thrown into gas chambers, crematoriums, and separated from each other. Revisiting this atrocity currently at the border that the Greatest Generation vowed never would happen again is the decline of the human soul.
When we scapegoat on others, when we spot others to hate, we are marking our own graves. For it is in that instant that we become ungodly and remove love, logic and law from our collective memories.
Scapegoating was introduced to us historically in the Bible when goats were given as sacrifice to God as explained in Leviticus 16:10. The sins of the people were carried away from the tribe by the goat. But the term has evolved into the brunt of a bully’s force and is an innocent blamed or picked on.
Why aren’t we speaking up for the people at our borders seeking asylum from regimes bent on killing them? Why are we listening to nonsense that they are murderers and drug dealers? Most immigrants and naturalized citizens are hard workers, law abiding and adding to the collective cultures that make up our United States of America.
My great grandfather and family, leaving a restrictive business practices in the old country, immigrated through the New Orleans ports without legal paperwork. They set up home and carriage repair shop in Kansas City; but, when his livelihood could not sustain his wife and children, he loaded a Conestoga Wagon and sought gold on Pikes Peak then on to Canyon Country in California. In these places they mined for gold along with many other fortune seekers. When Grandpa Timken put together enough money, he bought his first acreage and planted his first orange orchards. My family like so many come from these humble beginnings.
Children of immigrants and migrants seeking asylum should never die (as has happened on the border already) because of lack of care in a metal confine, nor should they be treated as criminals and removed from their parents.
Our nation was founded with immigrants, people braving the ocean for new land and opportunity. Our hearts and souls are tied up with the land and peoples of these mountains, shores, farms, forests, deserts, rivers, lakes and islands.
We need each other and we are directed by the Great God of Love to care for each other and pave a way for each to attain success. We are all connected to each other and the health of our planet; helping others to flourish restores our souls. Finally, as I see it, God encourages helping refugees in Hebrews 13:2 — Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. I think God is shouting at us: “Wait, wait, something’s gotta change!”
Nelda Curtiss is a former substance-prevention media specialist, journalist, and retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]