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Children’s Images: 1943 and 2018

Roy Morrison

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We’ve seen this before. Men with guns separating terrified children from their families to be taken away subjected to the tender mercies of the empire. It’s all legal. The men with guns and the bureaucrats commanding them are just following orders.

The children are criminal aliens, deserving of what the Nazis called “special treatment” or Sonderbehandlung which often meant execution. Donald Trump and Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly call it “zero tolerance” to repel the “infestation” of brown skinned immigrants.

Today they are the poor mostly brown skinned others. Criminal children of criminal aliens threatening our jobs, safety and security in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Yes these kids are being separated from deported parents both to face uncertain fates. That is not our problem. Granting refuge and asylum and immigration apparently is.

We are not sending these kids to a Treblinka death camp. Yet. The intention is clear at this white Nationalist moment: To torture children and to build our great wall to prevent the poor, the Muslim, the black and the brown from entering the new white nation.

Immigrants are the enemy. Internment camps and separating children from parents for now the means. The instruments of the U.S government are being used to serve sustained abuse of migrants and immigrants in the name of democracy.

Image on the left: The Warsaw Ghetto, 1943

A couple of historical references are appropriate. SS General Stroop who published the photos of his liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto and its children was tried by the Americans and the Poles after the war and hanged.

We are at one of those moments that Albert Camus described at the end of his novel The Plague.

“And, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”