Absentmindedly scrolling down my newsfeed, seeing these two posts together is a bit of a gut punch. The bottom post acknowledges this day in 1941, when thousands of innocent Baltic men, women, and children were ripped from their homes by the Soviets, separated from family members, tossed into cattle cars, and deported to Siberia, many never to return. The post quotes a mortality rate of 60% and points out that many children and infants didn’t even make it that far, dying instead in the packed cattle cars. It is largely because of this monstrosity that my family and others fled their beloved home countries in terror and became postwar refugees when the Soviets returned, seeking a safer life for their families and eventually finding it here in the United States and other western countries.
The top post references something that is (or at least should be) well-known to all Americans today- the current tearing apart of refugee families as they desperately attempt to escape horrors in their own countries for the safety of America. The parallels here are stunning.
I will never forget an uncle describing his own deportation experience to me in this way: “I was declared an ‘enemy of the state’ at seven years old. How can I be an enemy of the state at age seven?”
Seven year olds, be they my Latvian uncle or a hispanic kid fleeing gang violence, are NEVER enemies of the state, and treating them as such is barbaric. I don’t think the children in these facilities are any more deserving of being separated from their families and thrown into cages than those Baltic children were deserving of being separated from their families and thrown into cattle cars.
Please, America, please tell me we are better than freakin’ Stalin.
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