Country of origin, country of destination

I didn’t post yesterday, though I’m not going to count it as a missed day for my writing commitment (365 days starting October 1, 2014); I still wrote for my finals, as I have two papers left to go. Almost there…

Media literacy is an interesting topic that I’ve written about before and would love to study in the future. This week at CUNY I saw a simple, incisive sign that in little space spoke in important ways:

Screen shot 2014-12-11 at 10.25.28 PM

I interpret this to be a commentary on immigration. People who leave their countries do so often times because their lives or those of their loved ones are at risk; in countries like Honduras and Mexico, this is not so much a metaphor as a sad fact. For those who are not living under the shadow of an axe, there are still dark forces like prejudice and economic disadvantage that squeezes out dignity and freedom like a vise; this is true in Palestine and Kurdistan. Hence their problematic relationship with their country of origin.

These newcomers move to a new home – a place like the U.S., for example – in the hope of finding a way to build a better life for their family. Yet they are often stereotyped and demonized for bringing crime to their new communities or stealing jobs from native-born workers (both of which are untrue). Because prejudice is easily spread about strangers from a strange land who speak, look, eat, and think differently, society’s ills are cast onto their shoulders. They are easy targets for conservative officials that need a unified enemy to focus on, especially when homegrown problems trouble the country’s constituents; they are a useful distraction to draw fire away from poor decision-making and corruption at the highest levels of leadership. Thus the complicated and difficult details of their new life in their country of destination.

Simple, beautiful, tragic, effective. All in a little cartoon.


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