Friday, November 7, 2014

Beat up at the border

The elderly man does not look like someone dangerous, with slightly drooping shoulders and a bit of a belly. He is soft spoken, gentle. He drives a car for which dilapidated is an overly positive description and lives in a cheap, run-down apartment.

He pulls the thrift store shirt out of his pants and exposes his side up to the ribs. These bruises, he says, and some on my arms too.

The immigration officers did that to you?

Yes, they took me to a room, put cuffs on me, threw me on the ground and beat me and kicked me, yelling we don't want people like you here. Then they put me in a cell over night and put me on the first flight out the next day.

He smiles as he stuffs the shirt back into his pants. Yes, that's how it goes. As a former criminal, that's what you can expect.

Will you file a complaint?

With whom? My government couldn't care less, and you don't believe the guys who beat me up have any reason to be afraid, do you?

I guess not. To me, this is inhumane, gratuitous, it bothers me that our government employs and protects people like that. Why can't they just say you are denied entry and send you home?

You are young, so you don't know what it used to be like. It's been getting worse. When I was shot back in the day and the cops arrived and found a pound of weed, they just told my girlfriend to flush it down the toilet. Today, they'd probably take it for themselves.

Will you try to visit your friend again?

To be beat up again, no, he smiles. It's just the way it is. When you go to prison and then get out after doing your time, it's not over, not by a long shot.

We parted with the promise to withhold this story until it could be classified as being of historic interest only. The countries involved? The names do not make a difference to this specific instance of violence.

If you are curious, tell us why, and we might share. Encrypted email in this matter only, please.

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