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I wish to comment on the “Hostile unto Death” letter regarding the “Hostile Terrain 94” article in the Independent on January 30. I understand and recognize the points the writer, Stu Sherman, is making in his letter. However I feel it important to respond to his closing statement: “Those who perish in the process of illegally entering the U.S.have brought about their own deaths. “
Whatever the political or legal status regarding the people who have died attempting this border crossing, I do think it is important to still recognize that these are human beings who are perishing and some compassion and empathy is in order.
I have tried to study some of the great breakdowns of groups of humanity toward other groups, such as Nazi Germany, Ruanda, or slavery. It seems to me, that the very beginning of these horrors is when the humanity of one group is somehow seen as less than the other.
It is a complicated situation and there are no easy answers to the factors that drive persons to take on dangerous risks to try to seek betterment. The world is a very uneven place. If my place in life were somehow switched with these persons, what would this mean?
If I did something foolish or risky and endangered my life, what would it be like for a hospital to say, “Well, it was your own fault” and refuse care and stand by while I died?
Whatever solutions may be sought regarding issues of the border and illegal immigration, please let us feel some level of empathy that these are human beings whose lives are ending.
Secondly, I really appreciated the article by Brain Tanguay, Alabama Bound. I have recently watched the docuseries by Ken Burns on the Civil War. It was a very thoughtful and reflective series that I would highly recommend. I learned so much that was especially poignant as we seem to be heading into a political and social climate of division, hostility, and inability to hold civil discourse and reach productive solutions as was also true of that time period.