The United States President Donald Trump has drawn international condemnation for his preposterous and inhuman order to separate children from the families whom his administration describes as “illegal immigrants”. On Wednesday, the President relented under international pressure and disapproval even from First Lady Melania and daughter Ivanka. The international fury, pleas from family members and even sharp criticism from close allies prompted him to sign an executive order promising to “keep families together” in migrant detention centres.
The business tycoon turned President said he had been swayed by images of children who have been taken from parents who are being prosecuted for illegal border-crossing.
“I did not like the sight of families being separated,” he said, but added the administration would continue its “zero tolerance policy” of illegal migration.
Yet his reverse decree does not offer relief to families already separated by the policy. Thousands of children, including babies are sleeping on concrete slabs in tents. Most of the children in these camps along the Mexican border are clueless as to where their parents are. Secret tapes that have recorded the disturbed children’s cries could even move a stone-hearted monster.
If only Trump could close his eyes and reflect on the issue, he would certainly have realised that migration has been a constant feature in human history. Only a moron will deny that since time immemorial, humans have been migrating from place to place to survive. We all are children of migrants. The out-of-Africa theory suggests that two million years ago, Homo erectus, the archaic humans, began to disperse within Africa – and some 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began moving out of Africa. Within 30,000 years they had spread across Asia, Oceania and Europe. And the process continues.
Trump himself is a grandson of a Bavarian (German) migrant. His grandfather, Friedrich Trump, arrived in New York with a single suitcase in 1885 at the age of 16. He made a fortune in the gold rush in the west and opened hotels that cater to the hard working and hard drinking miners. He later returned to New York and started a small property business. That was the beginning of the Trump story – a story of how a grandson of a Bavarian immigrant became the president of the United States.
Moreover, Trump’s wife is also a migrant from Solvenia. Media reports say there is a wealth of evidence to prove she was an undocumented immigrant.
All Americans, including the native people, are migrants or descendants of migrants. ‘The natives’ are the first to occupy the continent. The Europeans came 15,000 years later. If the early waves of migrations are fair enough, why can’t we treat the present wave of migration – from whichever part of the planet -- as a natural phenomenon? Don’t build walls; build bridges between people, Mr. Trump. Please recognise that the right to migrate to a safer place in face of economic marginalisation or political persecution is a human right.
Nation-state borders are man-made barriers created out of the ravenous reluctance to share Mother Earth’s resources with fellow human beings who are in need. This is xenophobia – the fear of the other.
On Easter Sunday this year, Trump in utter disregard for Christian charity, tweeted: “….’Caravans’ coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW….” This week in another tweet, he said, “illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, [are] pour[ing] into and infest[ing] our Country.” Infesting? Isn’t he calling the immigrants animals or insects?
His policy of separating the children from their migrant parents drew criticism from Pope Francis on Wednesday, which was International Refugees day. The Pontiff said he supported the statements made by US Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “immoral” and “contrary to our Catholic values.”
Even though some 80 percent of Evangelical Christians are known to have supported Trump at the 2016 elections, he needs to remember Jesus Christ’s dire warning that anyone causes harm to children should be thrown into the deepest ocean with a millstone tied around his neck.
We are human beings, but being human means being merciful which in turn is a divine quality. Trump’s policy of harming children is far from being human. The world in a chorus decried his policy as “unacceptable”. The American Academy of Paediatrics called it “child abuse”, Amnesty International said it is “nothing short of torture”, and the United Nations denounced it as “despicable” and an “unconscionable” violation of human rights.
Some compared the Trump policy to the massacre of the ‘native Americans’ by white Europeans; some likened it to the internment of the Japanese during World War II. Others saw a parallel in the Nazi policy. Just as the Nazi Gestapo came for the Jews who were to be sent to concentration camps, Trump’s border guards snatched the children away from their parents, showing no remorse.
Mind you, this is happening in the 21st century – the era of knowledge; the era where science has taken us beyond our galaxy to have a peep at the domains beyond the black holes. And this is happening at a time when a nation’s degree of civilisation is assessed by its commitment to liberty, equality, fraternity and Human Rights.
The US has long lost the moral upper hand to preach human rights. Its constitution may be described as the best man-made political document in human history, but its foreign policy, since it assumed the world’s leadership after World War II, has been a stink. Its commitment to human rights is a farce. Like a rogue state, it has observed International law mainly in the breach. In Central Asia, the US supported dictators despite their horrendous human rights records. In Asia, the US troops killed some three million people in wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s and 1970s. More than half a million Iraqi children died due to US-sponsored sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s because the sanctions prevented Iraq from buying life-saving medicines.
The US continues to cheer on Israel as the Zionist state, exercising a culture of impunity, kills unarmed Palestinian protesters. The US even uses its veto power to protect Israel, easily one of the worst human rights violators in the world today.
While the US practises Nazi policies at home, commits war crimes abroad and encourages Israeli human rights violations, it had the cheek to accuse on Tuesday the United Nations Human Rights Council of being a “cesspool of political bias”. US envoy Nikki Haley called the UNHRC a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights”.
Well, in a way, the withdrawal suggests that the US has got out of the kitchen because it cannot stand the heat. Perhaps, it is Good Riddance of Bad Rubbish. Flushed of protectors of human rights violators, the UNHRC will be less putrid. The US might as well leave the UN too, so that there will be justice for the oppressed people like the Palestinians.