As a child, I always had a recurring nightmare. It pops up now and again when I am under the excessive stress of being blessed enough to be alive now. Of course, I won’t get into all the odd details of that subconscious movie. The silhouette of it is that I’m running from a scary character, trying to get home, only to realize that I never will. I am never caught. I always wake up just before I am, but what’s more terrifying is that I never make it home. Always on this sort of conveyer belt moving forward, but never actually moving at all. I overlay that byte of my mind’s eye very usually when I am trying to understand an anomaly of my conscious life — quite often when I’m being kept up at night by issues that affect me and mine, as is the case now. I’m overlaying that story on closed borders. An episode on the series of the COVID-19 pandemic that is the most viewed and lived experience now.
Belize, like many other nation-states, has decided to close its borders in hopes of keeping the virus, the invisible Goliath, out, or in the least subdued. The hope was to make sure the super hosts of humanity don’t serve as the virus’ Trojan Horse. It’s a concept, theory and practice that makes sense until you start banishing your own to preserve the askew integrity of that ad hoc plan. We have soberly decided to close the borders to our own. Our own who had no control over where they would meet COVID — our students, our professionals, whose only reason for leaving the embrace of our home was to develop themselves and, as such, develop home. We have given them the frigid shoulder of “figure it out, son.” How woefully unfair is that? Leaving people who have sacrificed the most for us stateless and then on top of that criminalizing them for it. I’m trying to wrap my head around it in the same way that I try to understand in that nightmare why it is that I can never get home. The place where I am most safe, most comfortable, having a peace of mind that is almost untouchable.
The reason is maybe that we simply do not have money to repatriate and quarantine? That’s a simple answer, but it doesn’t satiate me, because like a penniless child desperate for an ice cream cone, I know we can pay for whatever we want to pay for. Is it that we want to maintain our statistically stellar COVID-19 record? More convincing because I know many times we are driven by line items and accolades. Is it just carelessness? Conveniently forgetting the principles on which nation-building itself is cornerstoned by? Principles that say that the people, your citizens, are the most potent, inextricable piece of the puzzle. Now that is most satiating and believable. I wonder at what point we lost that ideology. I wonder was it when we allowed oppressors of one time to came back as investors. Was it when they planted the seed of divide and conquer in our social psyche? Sometimes I don’t recognize this place at all. It’s nothing like the stories I am told by my elders, nothing I want to imagine raising children in. I feel like a foreigner in my land, but I guess I can count myself as lucky, because some people aren’t even getting the opportunity to be embraced by the land of the free. When do I get to wake up and say, “Oh, it was just a nightmare.” Stay Curious.
“It comes as a great shock to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you.” -James Baldwin