Four Articles and a Poem

2:40 PM

Weekly, I post four articles that I found significant and a poem. Our lives are enriched by seeing better. Each week, one article comes from the world of photography, a discipline that is about seeing. Another article comes from the world of technology, hence seeing something of the future. Another article takes up an aspect of our life together, seeing more clearly the other. Another article refers to faith, seeing the unseen. Finally, the weekly post concludes with a poem, because poetry is about seeing words whose arrangement allows us to see anew.

Here in the U.S., it is Labor Day Weekend. We have some additional time to renew ourselves, to spend some time with family and friends, but also to read.

  1. Teaching With Documents:Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor. I sometimes ask myself: "What story do my collection of images tell?" In honor of Labor Day, I would like to direct your attention to Lewis Hine, a New York City teacher and photographer, who believed that a picture could tell a powerful story. Hine felt so strongly about the abuse of children as workers that he left his teaching job and became an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. Likely, you have seen his 1920 image "Power house mechanic working on steam pump." Hines' images have re-shaped the story we tell about American labor.
  2. Migrants Deported from the United States and Mexico to the Northern Triangle: A Statistical and Socioeconomic Profile. This new report from the Migration Policy Institute suggests, if I may be so bold, that U.S. border enforcement shifted south, to Mexico's southern border. The U.S. and Mexico have apprehended nearly 1 million Central American migrants since 2010 and deported more than 800,000 of them, including more than 40,000 children. While the U.S.  apprehended more Central Americans from 2010 to 2014, Mexico has apprehended one-third more adults and children so far this year. Amid increasingly robust enforcement by Mexico, U.S. apprehensions of Central Americans have fallen by more than half compared to the prior year. The hardships once at our doorstep have been moved south, as many of those who previously would have made it to the U.S. border and been apprehended by the Border Patrol now are being intercepted by Mexican authorities, reshaping regional dynamics.
  3. Pope Francis and Migrants: Honoring Human Dignity, Building Solidarity and Creating a Culture of Encounter. Pope Francis will arrive on these shores in less than three weeks. Don Kerwin of the Center for Migration Studies has written a thoughtful reflection on the Pope and Migrants. Kerwin also wrote a shorter, similar piece on the Huffington Post: What Pope Francis Has Said on Migrants, Refugees and Immigrants, and What He Might Say in the United States. Both are worth your time.
  4. Renewable energy is not enough: it needs to be sustainable. Sustainability has been on my mind a lot lately. Thursday, for instance, I had the opportunity to visit the Land Institute in Salina, KS, with a tour by Duane Schrag and a conversation with Wes Jackson, the Institute's founder. Part of the tour precisely echoed this article from Marjolein Helder, Chief Executive Officer of Plant-e, published on the World Economic Forum website. We have a lot of work ahead to care for our planet.
Amid the reports of so many deaths of migrants in Europe, this haunting poem comes from Long Journeys: African Migrants on the Road (Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies). H/T to Kit Johnson of the ImmigrationProfBlog for pointing me to this poem. The author, Warsan Shire, is a Somali-British writer, poet, editor and teacher.

by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark

you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly

it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no on puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land

no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
mean something more than journey.

 no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father

no one could take it
no one skin would be tough enough (...)

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