Helpless, Guilty, and Confused

Reading “The Crossing” left me with a very similar experience to watching The Burning trailer in class for the first time. There was an immediate pain and empathy that I felt for the boys whose stories both pieces followed, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness, guilt, and confusion. I felt helpless here in the United States, doing absolutely nothing to help, while so many people are struggling for their lives on a daily basis. I felt guilty for being born here, for the fact that “an individual’s right to mobility is strictly defined by the political constraints of that individual’s birthright” regardless of how deserving or undeserving one might be. Guilty also because young girls are working so hard, so much harder than I ever have, to receive an education that pales in comparison to what I have never had to question, and for the young girls who had to “realize that the only way [they can] ever escape would be by breaking the law” when all they want is to be “the best student” and “a good daughter.” At the same time, I also felt confused because as I sat there for what felt like forever, trying to wrap my mind around the severity and scale of these issues I couldn’t think of how to help them. For the European countries who simply don’t have the resources to take in all those seeking asylum, and for those who come from countries like the DRC stricken with civil war, there is no simple solution. They are stuck in Morocco, “a kind of purgatory for those trapped there,” similar to what Nikolaj depicted in his art installation. In his article on the installation Welch described them as being “like ghosts, [that] occupied a liminal space between surface and depth, at once present and absent, material and fleeting, visible and invisible, fixed and mobile, past and present,” just like the hundreds of young boys hidden behind the trees in the camps scattered throughout the hills of Morocco.