To Valeria

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By Antonio Rodriguez

We know the water between the fear and the dream

We wish we didn’t though

We know the parenthood that forces you to choose between bad and worse,

We wish we didn’t

We know the heartless borders

We were forced to know the smugglers

We never trusted them, but we didn’t have the luxury to choose

We carry the burden of our official papers

We carry the burden of your wrongful fear

“We are not a threat” !

We keep telling you, while dying at your doors.

We can be good workers,

Then They will say we are here to steal your jobs!

Can we just be safe? while trying to learn your language!

Then they will say we are lazy and not working enough like the rest of you!

We are not statistics in your economy,

neither positively nor negatively! we never wanted to be.

We are not the “Crisis”,

We are not the “success stories” of integration

We are the topic of your political debates
We are the audience that takes your wall jokes seriously,

And has nightmares of forced return

to a country we barely survived

We relive our story at every closed border,

While other Syrians are trying to cross into the nearest safe haven

And guards shot us there

While other Syrians are trying to cross the sea, and drown there

Or apply for visas at embassies that “don’t accept Syrians”

or countries that created a “Ban” to get rid of us.

But regardless of all our trauma

We find in our broken hearts a lot of empathy for Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and his daughter, Valeria from El Salvador.

We try to understand the world we live in

where Valeria, a two-year-old child may be a threat,

and we fail to have enough hatred to do so

We hug our anger proudly with our compassion

We find in our survival enough faith to pray

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