Accounts of “Borderscape”

In the article, “The Caribbean Roots of European Maritime Interdiction” by Jeffery Kahn, I was first struck by the hook he opens with to capture his audience. It reminded me of the technique we have seen in critiques and in the first few media sources Dr. Alexander showed us of placing for example, a young English girl in the shoes of a Syrian refugee in order to invoke a deeper sense of empathy from viewers. When suddenly the issue we have been reading about all semester was placed on US borders, I began to sit up straighter in my chair almost subconsciously. The article also emphasizes how the administration “moved the border-screening regime out to sea and beyond the judiciary’s purview” in order to “shrug off the shackles of domestic law’s constraining legalities,” just like the UN pushed their duties off of European land and onto African countries like Morocco. Perera has a name for this in her article, she called them a “borderscape.” In her context, Suvendrini is talking about the limbo in-between the ocean and Australia’s shores, as the article puts it, “a mobile, unstable racialized border zone, traversed by the tortuous itineraries of castaway boats and bodies,” once these boats are intercepted in this zone, those aboard are forced into unsinkable lifeboats, as Perera eloquently puts, “the very image of a living death” which reminded me of the purgatory view of the documentary that was critiqued last class, and then back to the start of the article and the poem written on the wall, how there is no escaping the purgatory, and there is no heaven on the other side, no matter how pure or deserving a soul is. Even the first two lines of this poem, written on the walls of a detention center to young Aylan Kurdi, make me want to cry because it starts out as innocently as a lullaby to sing a small baby boy to sleep. Something that should end in an uplifting message as most of them do, telling the child how loved they are or they are your “sunshine,” and yet this one ended with the complete opposite – that no one was even there to care if you lived or not on the other side of the ocean. Dr. Alexander’s article “The freedom to move isn’t a basic human right. It depends on where you’re born,” ties into the ending of Perera’s article with her explanation of the awful treatment of refugees as prisoners even with accounts of waterboarding on these small islands off of Australia. After reading that I was so aghast and honestly, at this point, I don’t know how I can still be this naïve reading these articles, but once again Dr. Alexander brings me back.  Reminding me of the sobering fact, through the narrative of Najia, that “the only way [one can] ever do better in life would be by breaking the law,” this naïve belief that I somehow still carry, that good does indeed beget good, because without that instilled belief that I was brought up with, I have absolutely no right, less of a right compared to the women like Najia, to be where I am right now, a student here at Emory.