The holidays are a time for families to gather and share in one another's company. In Guatemala, many have relatives that have migrated outside of the country for better opportunities and as a result, many are not able to return to Guatemala or deportations have separated loved ones. For those that are able to and choose to return home, the sights at airports are memorable.
One of the pro-migrant bloggers is a remarkable young man, named Kyle de Beausset, where on his site Citizen Orange , he compiles several views on migrant issues. He answers the question: Who is a migrant, what is it all about?
For the last two years, I generally characterized migrants as a sort of “them”. Even though its accidental, as many of these systemic ways of thinking are, I have been separating myself from the migrants whose injustice I want to bring to light. I've always talked about the fear other migrants have been dealing with and the injustice other migrants have suffered. I've meant well, of course, but in seperating migrants from myself I've given into the forces that seek to define migrants as others. More importantly though, I ignore the fundamental truth that if another migrant lives in fear — I live in fear; that if another migrant suffers an injustice — I suffer an injustice. This is because we are all one. An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are all migrants. We move somewhere everyday. Whether its something as simple as going to work or school, or it's something as significant as moving half a world a way, we all move in someway or another. That is what it means to be a migrant, to migrate. The problem here is that millions of people, for one reason or another, have been criminalized for the simple act of moving.
Wise words of blog Principios [es], on his post Born, Never Hiding.
Emigrar, a pesar de los peligros y riesgos que enfrentan, representa un renacer para quienes el presente gris ofrece un futuro negro, ausente de color. Aunque algunos llegan a pagar la osadía de desafiar a los gobiernos de los países desarrollados con su propia vida, todos esperan encontrar un mejor mañana en tierra ajena. De otra manera, nunca se arriesgarían.
To migrate, in spite of the dangers and risks that one faces, represents a rebirth for those with a grey present and a dark and colorless future. Even though some, who challenge the governments of underdeveloped countries, pay with their lives, all of them hope to find a better tomorrow far from their homeland. Otherwise, they wouldn't risk themselves.
The holidays bring about reunited families of those that have migrated. Emotions at the airport are shared by blogger Homo homini lupus [es], describing his experience sharing the plane with migrants coming back home on his post “el futuro de Guatemala está en los mojados“
Ellos, traen dinero, regalos, maletas y más maletas. Los otros, se emocionan al ver pasar a quien es potencialmente “el Pedro” y corren a ser los primeros para abrazarlo. Mi avión venía repleto de potenciales “Pedros y Marías”. Más de cien asientos estaban cargados de inmigrantes que hablan mal inglés, visten como inmigrantes de pocos recursos en Estados Unidos y estrenan sus mejores vestidos para regresar a Guatemala. Copetes sensuales, blusas con encajes, botas vaqueras lustradas, brutales radios como equipaje de mano, tennis Nike nuevitos y brillosos, maletas y más maletas. Una lluvia de emociones, sentimientos y pasiones. ¡Mujeres que lloran al tocar tierra guatemalteca, abrazos y gritos al atravesar la puerta de salida!
They bring money, presents, suitcases and more suitcases. The others are really excited to see a potential “Pedro” pass by and run to be the first one to hug him. My flight was crowded of potencial Pedros and Marias. More than hundred seats were occupied by migrants, with their poor English and their clothes typical of underpaied migrants in U.S., who dress in their best clothes to come back to Guatemala. Sexy hairstyle, blouses with laces, shiny cowboy boots, wild music players as hand luggage, brand new Nikes, suitcases and more suitcases. A shower of emotions, feelings and passion. Women crying because they are on Guatemalan soil, hugs and screams at the moment they exit the airport.
It is important for everyone to be at home for the holidays, you can see the airports busy, a lot of lost suitcases, and many warm welcomes at the airports around the world, and Guatemala is not an exception. But, for migrants, home is a relative concept, according to El Toronteco, a guatemalan blogger in Canada:
No, I am not catching a plane at the last minute to visit my family, my beloved family, in the warmer (everything is relative) Guatemala, my motherland. Neither have I bought a “home” a marketing term for a “house” (Aeronica, the Nicaraguan national airline, had a nice slogan: “Your origin, your destiny”. Another great example of the marketing of this “blessed word”) . What I am doing is making a conscious decision of staying home. Settling down is a phrase that comes to my mind, though not in its common use. The Spanish term “sentar cabeza” literally means “to seat your head down”. That is what I am doing, putting my head on the ground and calling whatever piece of ground I am standing in HOME. Home is a high commodity. It trades at inflated prices particularly around the end of the Gregorian calendar year. After getting my citizenship in 2005 I decided to visit my family as soon as work let me. I compared ticket prices for traveling at the end of December, against traveling in February, for Reading Week. The ticket was a third cheaper for Reading Week (OK, it was approx $400 less but 1/3 sounds more dramatic). In that time of my life, coincidentally, I was still saying “home” to refer to my motherland, little did I know that I was near the end of a period of denial of my Guatemalan identity.
Luchas Libres y más [es], on her post Sin documentos:
…han regresado 16,890 guatemaltecos que fueron deportados de Estados Unidos. Casi un avión diario regresa a Guatemala con los sueños en pedazos de hombres y mujeres que han dejado parte de su vida en las cocinas, campos, y construcciones estadounidenses. Muchos de ellos incluso tienen familias que se han roto por estas constantes deportaciones. Niños que se quedan sin padre, madres que se que quedan sin hijos, esposos separados, abuelos sin nietos, toda una sociedad fragmentada por el único pecado de querer salir adelante sin pensar en fronteras. ¿Qué ha hecho Berger por acabar con esta situación? ¿Qué resultados puede mostrarnos Marta Altolaguirre? ¿Quién defiende a los migrantes de tantos abusos?
.. there have been 16,890 Guatemalans deported from U.S. There is almost one daily flight back to Guatemala with the dreams of women and men in pieces, dreams left in kitchens, fields and construction sites in the U.S. Many of them even have been separated from their families because of deportation. Children are left without fathers, mothers are left without their children, separated couples, grandparents without their grandchildren, a whole society separated and fragmented with their only error was the desire to progress without thinking about the borders. What has the President Berger done to end this situation? What are the results that Marta Altolaguirre can demonstrate? Who defends the migrants from so many abuses?
During the holidays nostalgia for the place we call home is in the air, because sometimes “home” is a country, sometimes is a person, or a mixure of both. Migration increases the complexities but also makes us realize that actually a city, a country, the whole planet can be our homeland. And as Mr. De Beausset said, “we are all migrants, dreamers, with a home, somewhere, always waiting there for us.”