Mark Strickland

Where do you expect you would find these phrases?

“Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”

“Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

These are two items in the United Nations legal definition of genocide. Let that word sink in — genocide. How can we accept that our government is doing things that conform to the UN definition of genocide?

Now, you probably don’t believe me. Do your own internet search on the definition of genocide and then hopefully you can have the courage or an open mind to keep reading.

If you believe this behavior only applies to the serious evil actors in the world, then how can we accept this treatment of refugees at the border? Again, do your own internet search about the border station in Texas.

If you are honest with yourself, you must agree that these two points are happening. Mental if not physical bodily harm and forcibly transferring children from their parents is happening every day.

After doing your own research, you can decide why it took until June to solve this problem at just one facility in Texas. And now the center in Homestead, Florida, is in the news.

If you have the courage to read these stories you should be heartbroken, angry and outraged. You can read about the 12-year-old girl who, every day, was holding a toddler without a diaper trying to keep the child from crying yet wondering where her own mother was. Outrage may be an emotion that is too mild.

Also in June, did you know that the White House attorneys argued before a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit that toothbrushes, soap and appropriate sleeping arrangements were not necessary for the government to meet its requirement to keep migrant children in “safe and sanitary” conditions? Really?

In the Texas facility it was reported that the lights were left on all night. Lack of toothbrushes and soap is bad enough, but sleep deprivation is torture. How can we accept that behavior by our own government?

Do your own research. This is all well documented by multiple reliable sources. If you claim it is “fake news” then the only reason for your view is that you condone genocide or your mind is not open enough to accept the truth. Maybe you say this is “different.” How can we accept that this is different? They are humans — just like your own family members, your own children.

The border crisis is real, and it is a problem. But how can we accept actions that conform to the legal definition of genocide? There must be a better way. You need to decide if the leadership of our government should be voted out.

We need leadership with compassion. Compassion for children at the border. Compassion for our rural poor who simply do not have access to health care in almost any form. And compassion in general.

It’s your decision — our decision. We must all decide if we should accept this behavior by our government. If we do accept it, we are implicitly allowing genocide. If you think it is OK, maybe you can explain to your children how you can accept it and you keep voting the current leadership of our government back into office.

To borrow the last line of a famous poem I have written about before, “Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Mark Strickland is a software developer and amateur photographer. He has called Frankfort home for over 10 years. He can be reached at

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