The hundreds of Central Americans who come to the border to ask for asylum do not yearn a big house, a juicy bank account and a dog to walk through the park … that is not their longing – yet. Their American dream, is simply to survive.
They arrived because the fear was stronger than any obstacle. They arrived because they were not moved by a dream, but by necessity. They arrived, not by willpower, but by hunger, that wretched hunger for food and peace. They arrived because they had no choice but to believe that they would arrive. They arrived because where they come from, staying was a death sentence.
These are the hundreds of migrants that finally arrived this week in Tijuana, Baja California, with the hope to find refuge in the United States or in Mexico, anywhere but their own land. They are the Central Americans who left in a caravan of migrants and mounted themselves in ‘La Bestia’ — The Beast, knowing that with the cameras over them, there would be no kidnappings, robberies or rapes in their journey through Mexico; they took advantage of the fact that from a distance Trump kept an eye on them and that, ironically, did not feel chastised, but made them feel safe. They wanted to cross Mexico in the public eye, because also – silently – they were afraid to stay.
Their ordeal to the north became a political battle that crossed the borders they wanted to cross. The tweetsdo not have to go through immigration or to be inspected by the government … but they, who are flesh and blood, who bring children on the back and chest, they do. So, outside the talks and the bickering they went on, each with an ordeal in their brain, because the heart, was crushed for everyone.
On television they talked about them like a homogeneous pack united by pain; in the press they described their thirst for the “American dream” idealized to the point of satiety, but only in the photos, in the near images, the eyes spoke the truth that those migrants shouted … they do not want to cross to live better, they only want refuge to survive poverty, violence and their governments! Nothing else.
And we have prostituted the phrase of the American Dreamto squander it for the best owner. Only one who is a migrant, who has suffered the process, who has lived without realizing, trying to prove value to a homeland that is not his, can understand it.
Everyone has a different American dream. For some it is a large house, with two luxury cars of the year in the garage, three blond children and a dog; for others it is the freedom to play baseball without having to return to the shortcomings of a utopian communism distorted by a false idea of humanism; for others it is to be able to shine in the sciences, in the arts, in the cinema, in the desk without another of their own people trying to put his foot in to get a scholarship or an ascent; for some it is to be able to work for a decent salary without begging pennies for what they know; for thousands more, (like many of those who sheltered from the caravan) is simply to sleep without the fear of being shot or stabbed, is to give the daughter the chance to reach 15-years-old without being raped or that their children arrive at 12 without being dazzled by the narcobills; is to be able to do without paying the right to flat, sleeping armed or hiding from the “recruiters” of gangs to which you pay them because you pay them.
We all have a dream, American, Honduran, Salvadoran, Mexican or Guatemalan; some more humble than others, but dreams in the end. We also have nightmares and we quiet them up. So, let’s stop generalizing and when we talk about that damned dream, let’s always say who and according to whom.