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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

The Land of Milk & Honey

April 13, 2005

We just watched the most depressing movie ever in Spanish class today - El Norte. It was about these kids Rosa and Enrique, a brother and sister from somewhere south of Mexico whose family just got killed by a bunch of soldiers and had to flee their home town. Their options were San Pedro, which wasn't much of an option since everyone there was living in poverty and dangerous circumstances, or they could flee to that most magical of lands: El Norte aka the United States.

They got this dude Ramon, a "coyote", to help them cross the border illegally, crawling through miles of shit tunnel complete with rats galore in order to end up in the U.S. Once they get here, dude takes 'em to this other dude in LA who helps them gets jobs. Within a week of being there, Rosa loses her job when the immigration police raid the sweatshop where she's been ironing clothes, Enrique loses his job when some dude calls the immigration police on him, and in general, everything sucks.

Rosa gets a job cleaning houses with Nacha, where she is unable to figure out how to use the washing machine so does 'em the old-fashioned way, thus getting in trouble for her extra work. Then Enrique gets offered a job as a foreman in a factory in Chicago but there's a catch - No family allowed. So Enrique says no, Rosa vacuums instead of doing laundry.

Just when you think things might start to not suck for our fair heroes, Rosa gets some weird rat-disease just as Enrique decides that moving to Chicago without Rosa is the way to go. Enrique's about to sell out his sister for a green card when Nacha tracks him down and tells him that Rosa's in the hospital and might die. Enrique says "Look, biznitch, I gotta take this job." Alls well that ends well - only not so in this case cuz Rosa dies of the rat-disease and Enrique doesn't take the Chicago job and ends up begging for a crappy awful job. Great.

This movie was so freakin' depressing because it illustrates something I've been thinking about a lot lately - in America, we have EVERYTHING. We want for nothing (except, maybe, a little health insurance so that a trip to the dentist doesn't mean skipping the rent payments for two months or so). We live in clean (mostly) houses with an ample (too ample) supply of food. Everything we could ever need is right at our fingertips.

We don't have to worry about soldiers kicking in our doors while we are sleeping at night, killing our families, raping our sisters, kidnapping our younger brothers. We don't have to work like slaves for pennies a day (we might slave but we're getting more money than lots of people around the world - and our idea of slavery, me with my office job, is a lot different than toiling under the hot sun, sweat pouring down our faces, hoping that we'll still have a job tomorrow.) What did we do to deserve such niceties?

This troubles me a lot - why am I so damn lucky??? For example, I have a laptop computer. For what I spent on that computer (which, I'll be honest, I rarely use since I have a desktop computer as well as access to fine technology both at school and work), a third world country family could live for a week? two weeks? a month? three months? What gives me the right to be so lucky?

Go ahead, try to answer that question. I dare ya.

Moira at 10:24 AM :: Comments (0) :: ::
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