Roadrunner beats Coyote. Mountain/Desert kills Migrant.

This is my attempt to record my thoughts, images, and struggles as I experience Mexico. I do not promise anything profound nor completely accurate, but I do promise to relate what I can.

“Fence? That’s a wall, bro.”
I’ll be honest from the start – I did not want to come to Mexico. I really dreaded getting on the plane in Grand Rapids, switching planes in Atlanta (which is a strange airport, by the way), and landing in Tucson (which I think should be spelled “Tuscon”). I will insert this glimmer of interest – I did want to feel what it felt like to stand in Mexico, staring into the United States through a huge, pillared wall.
And that’s what I did today.
I stood in the Sonoran desert amidst thorn bushes and Yucca plants and gazed into Arizona.
What a bizarre feeling to know that I can go back to Arizona whenever I want to.
The border guards might hassle me at the port and search me, but they’ll eventually wave me through.

Not if I was Mexican and without papers.
They wouldn’t care if my visa had been stolen.
Or lost.
Or that the back-up for work visas in Mexico is well over 18 years.
They’d just “red light” me and shove me back “home.”
“I suppose that Remmington shotgun is loaded.”

On the way to the desert, I gawked at the beauty of the Sonoran mountains.
But my mind, in appropriately rude fashion, juxtaposed the statistics of desert-related migrant death over those gorgeously deadly peaks. How many die out here? How many are found?
If this were the United States, the whole region would be a natural preservation with ranger stations and overpriced eco-vendors (read: preserved with capitalistic greed).

But not here.
Here there is only fear, hope, death, empty water and beer bottles, treaded riverbeds, and that wall.
“What do you think God thinks about the wall?” Anne asked.
God hates the wall.
That’s not hard to see. What is hard is getting everyone to hate the wall.

The economic tension with illegal work immigration is valid (see comments on this in later posts).
The abuse of caught migrants is not.
The plight of these people is very real.
Too real. Too painful. And what do most migrants get as a reward for surviving the dangerous trek to and over the wall?
Bad treatment, jail, and deportation. If they’re lucky.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t control immigration.
But we as the United States are NOT treating Mexican brothers and sisters as equals. No – to the U.S. – they’re much less.
This, my friends, should not be. None of this should be.

But there is still hope.
There’s a song by Brave Saint Saturn called “Heart Still Beats.” The background for the song has little to do with immigration, but it has much to do with the heart of Mexico. At least I’m interpreting the song to have meaning for my brothers and sisters seeking better life.
Below is a link to the song (along with lyrics):
“Heart Still Beats”
The girl in the alley kneels with exhaustion
She’s guarded by the skinny guy who limps from some infection
Behind a veil of bleached thin hair her eyes tell a story
Like a photo of Berlin, December 1944
She’s looking for a handout, she’s been high for several weeks now
She’s too far gone for whoring and the money just gave out

And her heart still beats inside
And the blood runs in her veins
A remnant of life remains
Her heart still beats inside

The man finally comes to the door, I’ve seen him several times
He always looks p*ssed off and his sunglasses stay on
I think he got his biceps and tattoos while in prison
And it doesn’t seem to bother him when he says “go to h*ll”

And his heart still beats inside
The blood runs in his veins
A remnant of life remains
His heart still beats inside

The thought it comes to my mind, to somehow intervene
But it could bring me trouble, and what can I do anyway?
It’s hard to be effective when it happens so often
To see a life unraveling, through drawn Venetian blinds
I’m sickened by compassion, I’m stifled by my limitations
Anesthetic apathy, come take the pain away

And my heart still beats inside
The blood runs in my veins
A remnant of life remains
And my heart still beats inside

Oh God, we need you here
We’re sinking fast and we don’t care
The evidence is all around me, on both sides of my door
Our hearts beat

Time for a little textual analysis.
The third verse is of particular interest to me.
It reads: “The thought it comes to my mind, to somehow intervene
But it could bring me trouble, and what can I do anyway?
It’s hard to be effective when it happens so often
To see a life unraveling, through drawn Venetian blinds
I’m sickened by compassion, I’m stifled by my limitations
Anesthetic apathy, come take the pain away”

How true this is of myself. I want to intervene, but I think that “it could be bring me trouble, and what can I do anyway?”
What really struck me was two lines later. After seeing the wall in person, the pillars at one point alternate in an interlocking pattern. The tiered appearance reminded me of Venetian blinds. “To see a life unraveling, through drawn Venetian blinds.”
Many lives have unraveled behind those blinds, and it’s time that should stop.

God is breaking me, and he’s a bit too good at knowing my pressure points.

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