by Ono Kono
One year ago, I wrote this on Facebook. Today, I am not in tears, I am angry. I am angry, because, children are still being abused at our borders. Refugees who traveled long distances seeking refuge, are put in cages. Neglected, some dying, children are being abused. A year later, my heart is still sick. Many children are missing. Here’s what I wrote, a year ago today.
I need to write today, I have to write today — I have work to do.
I am sitting here inundated by a tsunami of tears. Last night I spoke to my friend Suzanne about the children, and I couldn’t stop shaking. I came home and watched Rachel Maddow reduced to tears and I cried uncontrollably. I made the mistake of opening Twitter this morning and was inundated with messages about the abuse our country is perpetrating on innocent children. I let that sink in. OUR COUNTRY. We are a country of monsters. If we do that to innocent children, we are capable of further monstrous acts.
An old memory came up that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I was a child in a large room filled with cribs and beds. My sister was also crying in a crib next to me. I remember her tears as she stood there holding the rails. I sat in my bed, frightened as I cried too. I didn’t know where we were, or why, and I have no memory of how we came there or how long we stayed. No one explained anything to me about that night. A woman came in and told us to be quiet and left.
I remember how scared I was, I remember trying to comfort my little sister. I am haunted by my memory of that large room and my own fright from that night of not knowing where my mama was. I know what these precious children are going through. They have no understanding about policies, or why those people took them away. All they know is they are alone and terrified.
It horrifies me that mothers are told their children are going for a bath, and never returned. I think about how these mothers left their homeland to save their children and themselves. I think about the long journey they traveled in search of a safe haven. I think about them arriving here seeking asylum only to have their children ripped away. I’m shaken by the thought of how that would have been if I went to a strange country and they took my baby away. It would be nightmarish not knowing when I would see her, if she would return, if she was safe, or not knowing her whereabouts.
There are many women, children, and men being abused by a policy — not law — policy.
If you want to come here and make excuses for these atrocities, do not. Instead, unfriend me because there is no excuse.
I want to talk about gardening. I need to think about the essence of flowers, but I can’t. It seems frivolous when children are being terrorized by our country. Us! We are the monsters.
I need to write today.