Notes on the Migrant Caravan

As a Mexican, I can safely say that my entire country needs therapy. It is overwhelming and almost discouraging to go on Social Media these days; the more inhuman comments I read about the migrant caravan, the more displays of xenophobia, racism, classism and misogyny, wrapped in a rhetoric of supposed national sovereignty (often misdirected and without a real understanding of the term) and neoliberal aspirations — the more I would rather simply retire to my little mental islet, far from where people spew their hate speech.

We could try and understand the anxieties and worries of those who say that a migrant wave can cause problems. Granted, every crisis, every irregular movement, is the product of a complicated chain of circumstances and brings with it a series of consequences. However, whatever your position on the political and ideological spectrum, what is happening here is a humanitarian crisis, especially since thousands of people of Central American origin are coming as refugees, fleeing from what we can undoubtedly consider a civil war, or displaced by the interventionist policies of the capitalist superpowers.

No migrant leaves their home because they want to.

What kind of hypocrites are we as a people, if we demand a decent treatment to the Mexican paisano who crosses the Northern border towards the American dream, and at the same time we treat our brother in the South like shit? Mexico was once a sanctuary for Lebanese refugees, Jewish refugees, Palestinians, Spaniards and many other Europeans at different points in its history, and now, I hear opinions from Mexicans (of all kinds of social origins, but most commonly from people with certain privileges), which seem to be more in line with the disgusting racist speech of Donald Trump than with the supposed hospitality that we like to boast about on the international scene. How horrible it has been to hear that “Why do we have to take care of people who come from those shithole countries if they are going to bring trouble?” How discouraging is it that, the same people who constantly silence the arguments of the poor whenever we protest the injustices committed by State and Capital, now use that impoverished Mexican as a flag to defend “the need to care for our people,” thus shielding their xenophobia.

“Well, yes, but do you know how many of our people live in extreme poverty? How many people from our own country have we supported?” Yes, those are good questions, but hey, most of our own people are not doing any better just because they’re from here. The State has always failed them, just as the States from which the migrants come have failed them. And we do not do enough for our compatriots, at all. Many who claim to support the migrant cause have not once supported the vulnerable, marginalized people here, and we must confront that hypocrisy too. However, it is absolutely necessary that we go to the border to help, all of us that can, which are many. Do you think that an organized support system on the Southern border would only help the migrant? Do you really believe that we are, even in this, divisible by borders in a crisis like this? Why can we be supportive in disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, but in disasters caused by humans, especially those caused by the great powers, we think twice? There are human lives on the line.

This text is also a call to action; the refugees need food, clothing, blankets, and access to restrooms. Some of us are already raising funds for the caravan, and we are currently requesting help from doctors and nurses to advise us regarding medical care. In addition, in different parts of the South of the country, there are houses that are serving as sanctuaries for the migrant, and these also need food, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and above all, medicines. That is why I will also leave my PayPal account here for everyone who wishes to contribute. And if you happen to live in Mexico, here’s a list of places you can go to make a donation.

While we intend to directly help Central American refugees in this time of need, we will also do the same for the local residents of the surrounding communities. The caravan, due to the simple nature of the phenomenon, can also contribute to the displacement of local inhabitants, so they will also be at risk. We can help everyone. I believe in solidarity beyond nationalities. In the end, we did not draw those lines. Let’s go help everyone, migrant or not.

We are aware that the State will not help at all. And in fact, it is trained to do the opposite. And meanwhile, thousands of lives are in danger. So it is going to be the ordinary citizen, the one that always carries the weights, the costs, and the consequences — the one that should show that solidarity that has taken us out of trouble in earthquakes and floods. Paradoxically, people tend to be more empathetic and supportive in scarcity than in abundance. That’s why I almost never expect much from Mexicans with money, let alone Americans. Those places are where the cruelest attacks on the refugees’ dignity are coming from. But, what is the use of having a job, a healthy body, money in the bank and our needs covered, if we are not going to contribute so that the entire humanity can cover theirs and live with dignity? I still believe we can do better than that, and we will always need allies. However you can contribute, comrades, it is welcome and will be thanked infinitely.

Manzanares de la Rosa

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