I have a dream

Prabesh - Arlington, Massachusetts
Entered on March 12, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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“Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do “, goes a line from the famous song Imagine by John Lennon. Although, most likely to be dismissed as a pipe dream at best, I believe that our society should work towards building a world without borders.

I came to the United States when I was nineteen from a society that was still grappling with the ills of caste-ism, thus had almost no concept of racism. I had arrived here with preconceived notions about various races, that i had learnt from movies, or folk-lore.

I had to broaden my horizon quickly, and while doing so realized that the extent of our horizon seemed to stop at imaginary lines drawn across the population by individuals over time to expand their sphere of influence.

Let’s step away from Lennon’s ultra liberalism for a bit, and look at Dr. King’s speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”. Now lets replace the phrase “color of their skin” with “locale of their birth”, and read it again. What makes racism so hideous is the fact that people are being judged and treated, based on something they had no control over. We have as much control over being born a citizen of a nation as we do being born of a certain race. So, how is the idea of countries any different than racial segregation ?

Ever since our origin from Africa, we have constantly migrated. But today, there is more restriction on our movement than ever. The entire Gaza territory is termed “world’s largest prison”. I must have valid “transit” visas just to switch planes at international airport terminals on my way home and back. Even in America, the country with the greatest history of immigration, a plan to build walls around its edges had almost succeeded. Recently President Obama signed the bailout package, and it states that companies who receive the bail-out money cannot hire workers on an H1 visa, the working visa for non US residents. The path towards permanent residency through H1 is particularly long for citizens of China and India, applicants have been waiting for 8 or so years. These are people who have been working the entire time, have complied with all the rules, some who have started a family and now are raising their kids, for whom this is home. They have paid just as much tax as any citizen, and are now being told they cannot apply for a job in a company that is being rescued with their own tax money.

Just like how we’ve realized the injustice in racism and have worked hard to combat it, I believe that we will be able to see the absurdity in treating people differently based on which side of an imaginary line they were born in.