I hate filling out forms, especially the ones that limit me to checking off boxes for categories I don’t even identity with. Place of birth? Germany. But I’m not German. Ethnicity? I’m Vietnamese, but I’ve never been to Vietnam. However, these forms never ask me where I was raised or educated. I was born in Germany, my parents are Vietnamese, but I have been American raised and educated for the past 18 years.
On application forms when I come across the question that asks for my citizenship, I rebelliously mark “other” and write in “the world.”
These are the words of Tam Tran (far right in the picture above from USA Today) as she spoke of her situation in Congress and testified on behalf of the Dream Act.
Tam Tran's family fled Vietnam after her father spent time in a "re-education camp" due to his anti-comunist activities. They eventually lived in Germany, where Tam and her brother were born, and came to the US when she was 6 years old. The family applied for asylum here, but were refused. And Germany would not give them travel documents to return there. Since then, the family has been checking in with immigration officials yearly to receive work permits.
But the story doesn't end there. Three days after she testified, Tam's family (her father, mother and brother) were arrested as "fugitives from justice" and released only after Representative Lofgren intervened.
This story sent me to imagining a time in the future when those who are currently fleeing Iraq due to our shock and awful occupation there, will also be "world citizens" with no place to call "home."
The effects of this current war will not be over when/if US troops withdraw from Iraq. As with the Mexican War, the Vietnam War and all our other aggressions, we will be facing the issues surrounding our need for territories and hegemony in order to maintain our lifestyle and our borders. All while hundreds of thousands of families are left "homeless."
Oh, and goddess forbid these families ask to be recognized as human beings deserving of our attention...we will ruthlessly arrest and detain them as "fugitives from justice." We are truly living in Orwellian times when words like "justice" have been turned on their heads and not just stripped of their meaning, but used as weapons for the opposite of everything for which they once stood.
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