A New Alhambra

Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb at the Poetry Foundation:

When last June we heard about the kids arriving in New York from the Southern border—the first moment the child separation policy flared into the public eye, the first I knew of its systematic existence—we raced to LaGuardia to witness, to support, to stage something visible, at least. We made posters on the M60 bus. I passed around fat sharpies, brought extra neon poster-board. No one knew what to write, or who to address. The children? Their captors? The news cameras? It maybe wasn’t a great decision. The couple of kids I saw filing out of side doors were so little and tired and quiet. I’m not sure a phalanx of screaming adults helped, though it gave the TV cameras something to show other than their tiny bodies. Some stubborn questioners managed to get information about where the children were being taken in the unmarked vans.

This emergency airport-going has been a thing these last two years. I like it. It is good to disrupt these spaces of fear and docility with liveness and spontaneity and too much mess and song and language everywhere. To show up and clog up and drown out “bags unattended” announcements with the people’s mic. And in my family, you always pick up at the airport in person. We don’t mess around with this “I’ll meet you at home” business. At Qaid-e-Azam International Airport in Karachi, my uncle and grandfather would meet us on the tarmac.

More here.

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