Dec 10, 2008

International Human Rights Day

Three siblings, their sick father and other relatives were sitting in the white sand, under the shadow of a palm tree, enjoying the cool breeze of the so called “winter” in a tropical island.

They were busy. They were trying to catch up, amid language barriers, the twenty something years they have lived apart. The younger sister and the father in the Caribbean; the older brother and sister in an European country.

The visiting siblings –including their foreign born mother– were staying in a relatively economic beach front hotel; the natives used to live in a nearby working neighborhood.

The visiting ones would bring the Coca Colas and Cuban sandwiches, bought at the hotel grill, which their native relatives haven’t try in years. The native ones, by the way, were not allowed a step one centimeter beyond the hotel fence.

The elders were having a couple of beers.

But they were mostly talking. There were years of separated lives that they wanted to link together.

Then, the dark blue uniformed figure appeared in the scene. A police officer. His manners to address the family group were not educated at all, to say the least, less much professional. He asked everybody for identification.

Some pulled out foreign passports, some pulled out the local ID’s. The “professional” law enforcement office could not see the same last names in both types of documents. Illiteracy problem? Then he started, loudly and publicly, to accuse the females in the group of being jineteras engaged in illicit activities with tourists.

To make a long story short, the sick father grew angry. After all, those were his younger daughter and his younger nephew, both college students, straight A’s, good girls at the end of the day… and he protested.

While he was being kicked and punched in the abdomen –scarred by three surgeries due to a medical malpractice-, insulted, embarrassed, dragged as an animal to a patrol van, rushed to a police station while his children shouted, and shouted, and tried to explain to a zillion of police officers that came out of nowhere in a second they were all family, and tried to follow the van in order to know immediately where he was being taken… while all that was happening, the least thing those three siblings were thinking was in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Actually, the youngest one didn’t even knew what it was back then; and the two older siblings had been just introduced to it.

I know, I know... but memory tends to get foggy with time and unpleasant events. So please, allow me to walk you through some examples of what Dec.10th means for a certain group of people in this world:

-Let's cheer up claiming Human Rights for everyone!; well, except for some.

-Nevertheless, women are leading the fight.

-History is a tough girl to understand... and it will come back over, and over, over and over.

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