The Diaspora From the Northern Triangle: Who Will Help the Dispossessed?
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Photo: Pedro Pardo

The Diaspora From the Northern Triangle: Who Will Help the Dispossessed?


There is a darkness to the USA's lack of public humanity emerging towards the thousands of people coming out of Central America's Northern Triangle. The poor, the working people, and the children leaving the villages, the plains and mountains from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are not part of an  insensitive, deliberately depersonalized term called a “caravan” as the American media — and in fact much of the global press —  portray them, but are brave and disciplined asylum seekers — the dispossessed, a people of hunger, a people who want to work and earn their daily bread, but who knew when they left their homeland,  if they had stayed they would have been murdered, tortured and made into manual slave labor or worse.  Surely, then, they left on their feet to cross the southern border into Mexico. They knew they had nothing to lose but their lives, just as the Syrians who left Syria during the first years of the civil war there also knew that being on the road or living in wretched tents in Turkey and Greece was far better than becoming nothing but cannon fodder between opposing armies.

The so-called “stable genius” who happens to be the current President of the United States of America in the year 2018, has been successful in calculating and controlling the American people with incremental desanitizing of common human values. With such a deadening of ordinary emotions, with the death of the American language due not only to the manipulative and chilling rhetoric by the would-be Demigod-in-Chief, but also in the way Americans have slid into the abyss of indifference, and by rationalizing their own Fascistic behavior towards those who have fled from their countries with corrupt leadership only interested in profit and the endless accumulation of wealth on the backs of Central American labor.

There are of course some few millions of Americans who do have human empathy for the plight of the people of Honduras who make up the majority of those walking, taking buses or riding or trucks, when the opportunity presents itself to reach the border between Mexico and the United States. Following the North Star in finding their way on dirt roads and deserts, it as if their very Diaspora is a metaphor for humankind in this tragic age of indifference. As one Honduran asylum refugee, Luis Puerto, 39, of Colon, Honduras, said in English to an AP reporter “I am not going to stop. I don’t care if I die.”[i]  What we should understand, however, is millions of Americans simply do not care if Luis Puerto, 39, of Colon, Honduras lives or dies.  In Gustaf LeBon's definitive and enduring study of mass behavior and group-think, THE CROWD:  A Study of the Popular Mind,  published  in 1895, there is this chilling reminder: "The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim." Not only that, a crowd of people, no less than an individual, under the most stressful and tragic circumstances about the human condition may consent readily to a social transformation with either high emotions or no emotions at all, and then “… the crowd is always intellectually inferior to the isolated individual, but that, from the point of view of feelings and of the acts these feeling provoke, the crowd may, according to circumstances, be better or worse than the individual”[ii]

And so, in our recent moment in history the worker from Honduras attempting to escape starvation or death in his home country is wiser than all the American media commentators in their naiveté who attempt to explain human circumstances they have never lived, and the American people and their self-styled “Nationalist”-inspired President, all part of this meaningless charade, are also engaged in endless exaggeration and disingenuous observations of their shallow, materialistic lives.

The USA was conceived out of immense contradictions since the end of the American Revolution. With the Monroe Doctrine, which on one hand warned European nations not to interfere with the politics of the Americas, and at the same time, the leadership of the United States vowing non-interference and preferring to remain keeping to itself with the existing colonies of that time, all those declarations eroded into genocidal wars against the emerging South America, Central American and Mexico independent countries. Particularly from the 19th century to the 20th century, the United State with its troops, navy and air forces have forced those countries of South America, Central America and Mexico to submit to the rule of conquest by the harsh blood-whip of American capitalism.

Even into the early 21st century, the so-called leadership of the United States is loath to admit its purpose to interfere in the governments of those regions I have just enumerated has nothing do with “Democracy and Freedom” for the Latin masses, but rather, the political subjugation to American imperialism. In the contemporary crisis of the exodus of thousands Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans walking with very little else besides the shirts on their backs, who in their desperation to escape endless, undying poverty, physical and psychological abuse including murder and sexual assault— they have come out of the Northern Triangle like others before them in history who attempted to escape the drudgery of brutal hard labor, class and racial discrimination and even internment in death camps.    

Recently commenting on the issue of annihilation of peoples, British scholar David Tollerton noted after visiting a Holocaust museum, “In the Americans of the Holocaust exhibition, there are sharp and sustained criticisms of refugee policy during the era. One especially remarkable display records opinion polling in the US from November 1938, which logged 94% disapproval of German treatment of Jews combined with 71% disapproval of allowing more Jews into the United States. At the heart of this disparity is a sentiment that resonates with the contemporary determination that, as Trump put it: 'The United States will not be a migrant camp,”[iii] and this comment goes to the heart of the matter about some similar ways present-day Americans have revealed their intellectual backwardness and even emotional primitiveness in accepting the racist and bigoted rhetoric by the very man who governs a declining United States.

One could even say without being timid about it that the American people show behavior very similar to the kind of behavior the German people displayed with respect to the slow, meticulous but deadly laws created by the Nazi regime to isolate and eventually destroy the German Jewish population as well as beyond their borders. The irony in our epoch is that those fleeing social, economic, and class discrimination in Central America and Mexico are naively attempting to enter a country going through its own catastrophic political circumstances — the insidious development of an emerging Fascist state.

However with a warning or caveat of not drawing emphatic and direct parallels to past horrific extermination of whole human populations due to the “new dogma” as Gustave Le Bon used the term, then 'the crowd,' that is, whole segments of society, takes in the dogma and it “… becomes the source of inspiration whence are evolved its institutions, arts and mode of existence The sway it exerts over men’s under these circumstances is absolute”[iv]—-Hence, the strategy wherein reaction against human empathy becomes the norm, while sliding into totalitarianism.  The so-called free press, even the most daily ability to talk with energetic and interesting and communicative language, becomes non-existent, so therefore even for a people to have a slight empathy, a modicum of sympathy, for those thousands of displaced fellow human beings, the Central American refugees, the mothers, fathers, and children seeking solace and normalcy in their lives, will not find it in the United States of American, until the Americans themselves are able to face who they are and who they are becoming, and finally summon the courage to transform their own country — OUR COUNTRY — regardless of the consequences.  As David Tollerton, the British academic who visited a Holocaust museum, would go on to say “When it comes to an event as ultimately extreme and emotive as the Holocaust, we should of course be wary of blunt and counterproductive comparisons… It is the task of historians to draw parallels, however uncomfortable. Nazism didn’t immediately descend into fully fledged terror in the Germany of the 1930s, it came in a series of legal and policy shifts. There were those, in Germany as well as in rest of the watching world – who strongly objected from the start to the laws that took away Jewish rights and protections and continued to oppose Hitler and his supporters as the nightmare unfolded. But there were also many people in whom Nazi rhetoric found all-too fertile ground. A similar dynamic is in operation today. The gradual “othering” of migrants to the US – and, indeed, of refugees in Europe and elsewhere – has the same feeling of an incremental downward spiral in the public’s humanity…”[v] 

Indeed, the Pentagon is dispatching hundreds of American troops to the Mexican and United States southern border. This is interesting, and has the potential to run counter to the Posse Comitatus Act, signed by the Secretary of Defense in 2013, which  specifically forbids the United States Army or other American military from acting as a police force in local or regional US law enforcement activities and disputes on American soil. Whosoever uses American armed forces  in such a way faces imprisonment.[vi]

Now we shall speculate upon how those fleeing Central America's Northern Triangle will be treated once they are upon the gates of North America.  How will these brave people be met at our borders? Who will help them? Perhaps it is fitting to quote Thucydides when describing these brave men and women, these old people and children who have trekked across borders to find a better way of life, whatever that life may be to them: “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”      

And now I am wondering: would I, or any other ordinary American, be brave enough to walk these hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of miles from the Northern Triangle, we, the Diaspora, walking day after endless day, hungry, cold, thirsty, tired out, sleeping at night on chilly cement floors or outdoors along a muddy road in the rain, without even a blanked to warm us? Could I, could you, could we, join these men, these women, these children, living on contaminated water, taking food wherever we find it,  and if we are fortunate enough to keep moving toward our new land, our nueva tierra, sometimes even eating spoiled scraps, anything to keep us going, tossed at us by impoverished strangers in some Mexican village or plaza.?  And, when we finally arrive at the very gates of America's border, could you, could I, could we finally face the  border guards, the soldiers, the unsmiling troops?  Could we?

Author: Luis Lázaro Tijerina