Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 5th, 2016

National borders exist to pen poor people into reservations of poverty

He is not one of my regulars. From Cameroon, he says. And hungry, poor bloke.

I can tell he’s had to swallow a lot of pride to beg for food at my door. I apologise to him, say that because we’ve just made a delivery to the food bank, the church is out of supplies.

And personally, I haven’t done a shop in days. I rummage around in my cupboards and come up with an avocado and some spaghetti hoops, which really isn’t good enough. Is there any work out there, I ask him. It’s hard to find without the right papers, he says. Bloody Home Office, I say. He smiles.

We are so hypocritical about borders.

We cheer when the Berlin Wall comes down.

We condemn the Israelis for their separation barrier and

Donald Trump for his ludicrous Mexican fence.

But are we really so different? We also police our borders with guns and razor wire as if we had some God-given right to this particular stretch of land.

Through the random lottery of life, I have a UK passport. I didn’t work for it or do anything whatsoever to deserve it. In economic terms, (meaning in freedom to move status) I just happened to be born lucky. My new friend from Cameroon, not so much.

Within our own borders we complain at any suggestion of a postcode lottery. When the north of England has a different standard of healthcare to the south, we consider it a scandal. But when the global north has a radically different standard of healthcare to the global south, we think that’s just the way it is.

In fact, it’s far worse than that – we somehow think it our duty to fence off our advantage, to protect it against those who would share in our good fortune.

And these people we disparage as illegal immigrants, as if they are thieves or terrorists – though they are just doing globally what Norman Tebbit famously advised millions of unemployed in the 1980s to do: to get on their bike and look for work.

In this era of advanced globalisation, we believe in free trade, in the free movement of goods, but not in the free movement of labour. We think it outrageous that the Chinese block Google, believing it to be everyone’s right to roam free digitally.

We celebrate organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières for their compassionate universalism. But for all this talk of freedom from restriction, we still pen poor people into reservations of poverty. It’s like our own little version of The Hunger Games. And it is so normal to us, we don’t even recognise it as a moral issue.

The free movement of people is what political scientist JW Moses called “the last frontier of globalisation”, implying that it too will fall. Because, in the grand scheme of things, of course, no force on earth can insulate us against billions of people without enough to eat.

Many will tragically drown in our Mediterranean moat, others will be stopped for a while at our fences, but nothing will stop more people from trying to come.

And eventually they will succeed.

Artificial national boundaries, just lines on a map, are no match against the massed forces of human need.

This week I met in London a guy I last saw in Calais trying to get into the back of a truck. It took him months of trying to get past our borders. But in the end he made it. And good for him.

Before the Aliens Act of 1905, the UK had no border controls to speak of. They were first erected to stop Jews coming from eastern Europe.

“England for the English,” was the slogan. The Manchester Evening Chronicle explained what this meant: “That the dirty, destitute, diseased, verminous and criminal foreigner who dumps himself on our soil and rates simultaneously, shall be forbidden to land.”

Border controls have always been racist in character. And it’s much the same today.

They are about locking in our wealth and keeping mosques out of the Cotswolds.

At present, globalisation is a luxury of the rich, for those of us who can swan about the globe with the flick of a boarding pass.

The so-called “migrant crisis” is globalisation for the poor. They are blowing their trumpets around our walls. And our walls will fall.

@giles_fraser

“Girl From High Mountains”: Gaoanna.

“When I was six months old, I was dropped off at an orphanage in Northern China with a little note pinned on my shirt.

It only had the name of my village. The orphanage named me Gaoanna, which translates to ‘Girl From High Mountains.’

My mother decided to adopt me after she received my picture in the mail. She was 45 at the time.

She had recently gotten divorced. She’d never had children. So it’s just been the two of us my whole life.

I remember one time in high school, we got in an argument and my mom got very emotional. She started crying and said: ‘We can’t fight. It’s just the two of us. We have to stick together.

At that moment I realized how much I had changed my mom’s life. She’d known from the start, of course. But it was something I needed to learn.”

Humans of New York's photo.

Stephen Hawking Angers Trump Supporters with Baffling Array of Long Words

LONDON (The Borowitz Report)—The theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking angered supporters of Donald J. Trump on Monday by responding to a question about the billionaire with a baffling array of long words.

Speaking to a television interviewer in London, Hawking called Trump “a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator,” a statement that many Trump supporters believed was intentionally designed to confuse them.

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Moments after Hawking made the remark, Google reported a sharp increase in searches for the terms “demagogue,” “denominator,” and “Stephen Hawking.”

“For a so-called genius, this was an epic fail,” Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said. “If Professor Hawking wants to do some damage, maybe he should try talking in English next time.”

Later in the day, Hawking attempted to clarify his remark about the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, telling a reporter, “Trump bad man. Real bad man.”

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Dozing over her schoolbook

You are snoozing on my arm darling

A kid dozing over her schoolbook.

My arm is no longer mine darling

It is an extension of your flesh, nerves, and warm heart;

It is part of your sorrows, wet eyelids, and soft breath.

Do you remember how often you threw snowballs at me

Then come rushing to cuddle in my arms for warmth?

You are no longer an extension of my arm darling

Your love is deeply sculpted by knife in my nerves.

You came close and asked for my autograph;

You almost begged for a single line of poetry.

“A poem I could hide in my black long hair”, you said;

“And let it rest like a baby, over my soft pillow”.

I know, my lovely warm and shiny springtime,

I know that the poems of my youth

Painted beauty in every beautiful girl

And it did blossom inanimate bosoms.

I know, the poems of my youth set afire stars,

Ruined kingdoms and marriages.

It is my hot heart that was behind my hands, ink, and papers.

This heart has retreated behind cigarette smokes.

Tis no time to be fooled my shiny springtime.

What you see is an empty temple

In front of you stands a cold, icy crumbling column.

The poems that set your heart on fire are yours.

Melt them in your heart

Get wild, go wild and set fires

Burn, burn this drying world.

A new fresh dawn must arise with every generation.

Note: Two abridged poems combined in one from the late Syrian poet Nizar Kabbani


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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