August 27, 2018

The leavers, and the left behind

The news recently has been heart-wrenching. I can not help but be destroyed when I hear stories of children torn from their families not for any rational reason, but because of a political ideology based on hatred of the other.

It is one thing to protect” a border—the whole notion of border protection is problematic in a globally-networked world, but let’s leave that one alone for now—and another to act in malice and separate children from their parents and to leave them in a physical and psychological limbo.

Listening to the recent Divided” series on The Daily, I’ve been thinking about a lot about how one of the biggest horrors that these children have to go through is the lack of knowing: they do not know where there parents are, but more saliently, they do not know why they are gone, or what they have done to be separated.

I’m reminded of reading Lisa Ko’s The Leavers last year, and how I was so shook by one of the central questions in the novel: how is someone supposed to feel when they are the one being left behind? What happens when your parent leaves, without explanation or even saying goodbye, and you’re left to piece together the answers to questions you never should have been forced to face?

These children—even the ones who have been or will be reunited—will grapple with this every day: I was left, and my parents were the leavers.”

The fact that there was no choice in the matter, that it was forced separation won’t matter to them, especially at this age: they just know that, all of a sudden, they were alone.

A world where children have to face those thoughts is a horrid world indeed.

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