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The Mexican-Iraq Border

Cautious note: Today's entry could incite tender and sensitive feelings. It's intended to provoke them, but only to the extent of challenging thought about them...not to emotionally inflame. Please read it from that perspective, and I'll try to write it the same way. Thanks.


"Americans know as much about Canada as straight people do about gays. Americans arrive at the border with skis in July, and straight people think that being gay is just a phase. A very long phase." - Scott Thompson, Canadian comedian, and member of comedy troupe "Kids In The Hall"

"We are limited, but we can push back the borders of our limitations." - Stephen Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and motivational speaker.

"Faith crosses every border and touches every heart in every nation." - George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President

Today is May 1st. On April 30th, 1963, when Russia was still a communist 'enemy', and the Iron Curtain was built higher than the Berlin Wall, my parents had just landed in Moscow as 'visitors of the State'. Dad was presenting some papers at an international congress of entomologists. It was an honour and a privilege, but, given the political situation, there was also uncertainty. Back then, May 1st was a mandatory worker's demonstration and military demonstration in Red Square of the might and right of the Soviet Union. Fidel Castro was in town. Mom lucked out and happened to get some pictures of him going past in a motorcade at one point, while being berated by a Russian police officer that that was a big 'Nyet!'. She pretended to not understand, fearing that she was going to be swept away to the big ugly Gulag in the bowels of somewhere, but the international ice melted with a smile, and they both sort of shrugged their soldier shoulders, and an international incident was prevented.

They were people, at the people level. They weren't easterners and westerners. They weren't imprisoned and liberated. They weren't us and them. They weren't the enemy. They were us. And we were them.

Today, in the United States there are going to be country-wide rallies by Mexican workers. I won't go into the politics of the situation...everyone knows why the events are happening and have their own, frequently very strongly held and fairly intransigent views on the whole issue. And what pompous right do I have to sit here in the toadstool comfort of Canada's innocence anyway and pass judgement? Absolutely none, for two reasons. Firstly, we're not innocent...far from it...have you ever seen the way we treat aboriginal people in this country? Or our inner city citizens? We pass bylaws banning panhandlers, in case they muss up tourist pictures, for God's sake. We fine panhandlers... figure out the logic in that one! Secondly, judgement is not the birthright of anyone. So let's remove finger-pointing and judgements from the discussion, and keep it at the level of heated, civil observation and debate.

Sooner or later, I believe, globally we're going to have to re-adjust our old mentality of what a border is for. Is it really to segregate people from each other? Or, if I may use an analogy, is it a convenient way of dishing up servings of 'mother earth' to be managed by different tribes in different ways? If we are building barriers, we are jailing ourselves as we build prison walls around ourselves. I believe that is the incorrect approach to seeking peace. It is, however, the correct approach to seeking war (even if the war takes the form of hatred, misunderstanding, prejudice, and bias instead of violence and war-murder-killing). So that's the first decision --- war or peace? Or can you have a 'bit of both'? Can you just partially hate someone?

We don't live in the isolationist world that my parents grew up in. Airplanes didn't move people around the globe commercially, we didn't have free trade agreements and 'out-sourcing' (Geez! I hate words like that...why don't we say what we really mean...sharing, helping), instant satellite communication was a thing of science fiction. Cripey's landing a man on the moon? Preposterous! The very tool I'm using here now, the internet, has probably done more to render political borders neutral than any single other tool we've developed so far. It has helped to bring down governments as well as establish them, and spread messages of both peace and wrong-doing, almost instantly. It won't be long before the controlled restrictions that China is so desperately trying to maintain in managing the message will be circumvented. I'm confident of that.

We'll still pick and choose the stories and events we want to read and support. But my point is that we are inexorably and constantly moving towards a blending of differences. It's the Second Law of Thermodynamics in global action. The energy in a closed system will spontaneously move to a state of dispersal rather than stay concentrated. If there's a hot object in a room, it'll cool down all by itself. If an ice cube is left on a counter, it'll 'heat up' and melt. Pots rust, liquids blend. Shit happens. People move, and blend, and mix and take care of each other.

You can build the highest walls you want between the U.S. and Mexico. You can build the highest-tech prisons to keep criminals in. You can arm and amass the most powerful fighting forces in the world. But none of it.......NONE of it......will solve the problems they were sent out to solve.

There is no difference between an illegal Mexican in the United States and an illegal American in Iraq.


The answer to any and every conflict is fairness.

Don't just walk a mile in my mocassins to understand me. Demand that I walk a mile in yours simultaneously to understand you. And then both of us demand that we walk a hell of a lot further than just a mile.


That is a wonderfully written post Rick. You definitely have a way with words.
There are no easy answers in these situations.
I agree with you on our aboriginals in Canada. I feel we have made them what they are. We have crippled them with giving them so much with no questions asked.

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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