Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Glenn Tucker | Personification of cruelty

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2020 | 12:09 AM
In this July 9, 2019 photo, immigrants line up in the dinning hall at the United States government’s newest holding centre for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
In this July 9, 2019 photo, immigrants line up in the dinning hall at the United States government’s newest holding centre for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Glenn Tucker
Glenn Tucker
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I do not have the capacity to hate people. In fact, from an early age, I was taught that hatred was really just self-abuse. And further, it was highly unproductive.

United States president Donald Trump, however, seems to awaken in me certain emotions that I think would shock my late parents. He appeared on the political scene about a year before the 2016 presidential elections as a candidate. In fairness to him, he spent the entire campaign period showing Americans his uncharacteristic mannerisms. On the other hand, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was without doubt, qualified to become the president. She was, however, rejected by Americans, and Trump became president.

From day one, he did not disappoint, going about getting things done his way. But it was something else that evoked in me something feeling like nausea.

I may have been about four years old when I started badgering my parents about allowing me to spend some time with my aunt who lived seven miles away. They finally agreed and took me to her home to spend a few days. All went well during the visit. Then they started to say their goodbyes. Then things started to go horribly bad. They said goodbye to me, too. As they turned to go, an unbelievable panic overtook me. What transpired next need not be repeated here. And I am sure there were exaggerations. Suffice it to say, I was reunited with my parents that same afternoon.

When it came to my attention that children were being separated from their parents at the US border. I found this to be deeply troubling. I went to great lengths to find out what exactly was going on. I finally made a link with a woman associated with an international organisation who was willing to talk to me. On her first visit, she had to walk about 80 yards to the place the children were being held in cages. What first struck her was a sound similar to that coming from a large beehive. She was then told to put on the mask she was given. The sound was that of children.

She was told that this group was screaming and hollering for a few days after the separation. Now, what she was hearing was a sort of “throttle”, as they no longer had the strength to scream. She said that it was the look of terror mixed with hopeless desperation on these children’s faces that this woman claims she cannot get out of her head – even in her sleep. She removed her mask sometime on the first day and immediately understood why she was told to wear it. According to her, sanitary facilities – soap water and tissue, even toilets – were in extremely short supply. The smell of urine and faeces, she said, could “knock you out”.

In response to my queries, I was told that they were reportedly following specific instructions. The plan, it is alleged, was that separation would discourage immigrants from coming. Many of the parents were already deported, and the likelihood of reconnecting with their children was remote.

SINKING LOW

For me, this was the lowest that any person, any government could sink. But was it? Recently, a registered nurse, Dawn Wooten, at one of the facilities that housed young female immigrants, started to complain about conditions at her facility and was demoted. She became a whistle-blower and decided to speak out about inhumane activities taking place in these facilities. Among them were horror stories of young women and girls having hysterectomies being performed on them without their knowledge or consent. The more inquisitive ones were told that cervical cancers were discovered. They subsequently discovered that this was not true.

Staff attorney with Project South, a charitable organisation, Priyanka Bhatt, said, “… our coalition has heard from several women who have either had hysterectomies done or have talked to other immigrants who have had it done.

“When I met all these women who had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It is like they were experimenting with their bodies, said one immigrant”, Bhatt said.

Immigration authorities say they will investigate. However, they cannot divulge any further details or the individuals involved. According to The Washington Post, lawyers who represent women at the jail said their clients have been taken to a local gynaecologist named Dr Mahendra Amin. Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, said in a statement that he was confident the doctor would be cleared of any wrongdoing. Amin was previously accused by state and federal authorities of falsely billing Medicare and Medicaid in an investigation that led to a $520,000 settlement in 2015.

A sizeable number of US senators are attorneys, and many of them are millionaires. Yet, they have sat silently and allowed these inhuman acts to happen.

Glenn Tucker, MBA, is an educator and a sociologist. Send feedback to glenntucker2011@gmail.com.