An op-ed in the Guardian today explains what these children will carry for the rest of their lives. Trump’s evil has already deeply damaged these children.
Yoka Verdoner, a trained psychotherapist, writes about her and her siblings’ experiences being hidden from the Nazis during WWII because they were Jewish. They were fortunate in some ways. They had loving foster parents who risked their own lives hiding them from the Nazis. But the trauma was there nonetheless.
Here is a link to her post: “Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime” Please read the entire article. It’s short.
I will excerpt a few points here:
I know from experience that the Trump-sanctioned brutality at the US border with Mexico will scar its child victims for life.
The events occurring now on our border with Mexico, where children are being removed from the arms of their mothers and fathers and sent to foster families or “shelters”, make me weep and gnash my teeth with sadness and rage. I know what they are going through. When we were children, my two siblings and I were also taken from our parents. And the problems we’ve experienced since then portend the terrible things that many of these children are bound to suffer.
[The Nazis invaded and the children were taking into hiding by families who risked their lives to protect them from the Nazis]
This is my brother writing in recent years. He tries to deal with his lasting pain through memoir. It’s been 76 years, yet he revisits the separation obsessively. He still writes about it in the present tense:
“In the first home I scream for six weeks. Then I am moved to another family, and I stop screaming. I give up. Nothing around me is known to me. All those around me are strangers. I have no past. I have no future. I have no identity. I am nowhere. I am frozen in fear. It is the only emotion I possess now. As a three-year-old child, I believe that I must have made some terrible mistake to have caused my known world to disappear. I spend the rest of my life trying desperately not to make another mistake.”
Even so, he is almost 80 years old now and is still trying to understand what made him the anxious and dysfunctional person he turned into as a child and has remained for the rest of his life: a man with charm and intelligence, yet who could never keep a job because of his inability to complete tasks. After all, if he persisted he might make a mistake again, and that would bring his world to another end.
[She discusses the trauma and its effects on her sister and herself.]
My grief and anger about today’s southern border come not just from my personal life. As a retired psychotherapist who has worked extensively with victims of childhood trauma, I know all too well what awaits many of the thousands of children, taken by our government at the border, who are now in “processing centers” and foster homes – no matter how decent and caring those places might be. We can expect thousands of lives to be damaged, for many years or for ever, by “zero tolerance”. We can expect old men and women, decades from now, still suffering, still remembering, still writing in the present tense.
What is happening in our own backyard today is as evil and criminal as what happened to me and my siblings as children in Nazi Europe. It needs to be stopped immediately.
This is done in our names. God damn Donald Trump.
Are we now the “Good Germans” who averted their eyes?