What is Foreignness?

Foreignness is believing that human beings are “foreigners” and that “foreigners” are not entitled to the same human rights that all human beings share.

Foreignness is believing that our responsibility for the suffering of “foreigners” is less than for those who live nearby.

Foreignness is the slavery of today when it enables people in one part of the planet to buy cheap goods produced by children and adults working in slave like conditions in a supply chain that stretches across the planet.  And a certificate of citizenship becomes today’s certificate of manumission, when not having it, condemns a human being to a life of slavery.

Foreignness is the segregation and apartheid of today when it allows us to lock our borders against those seeking safety or a decent life for themselves and their children; and maintains that denial with violent force.

Foreignness is the racism of today when it denies human beings their humanity, labels them ‘illegal’ and allows us to imprison and exile them because of where they were born.

Foreignness is exploitation of labour when people are denied equal pay for equal work, because of the country where they live, or because they are foreign workers near where we live.

Foreignness is institutionalized discrimination when it denies people who have lived with us in our community, perhaps for years, an equal right to vote.

Foreignness is institutionalized chaos when it prevents us from working together to address shared global problems affecting the welfare of all human beings.

Foreignness is oppression when it keeps global institutions frozen in unrepresentative and unelected forms and when our conceptual models treat those institutions as theme parks for 16th century diplomacy.

Foreignness is undemocratic when people affected by the decisions of a government in another part of the world, have no right to vote in decisions that affect or destroy their lives and futures.

Foreignness is callous and inhuman when it allows us to warehouse millions of refugees for lifetimes; and forget that they are human beings with equal human rights.

Foreignness makes every one of us a foreigner in our own planet.

Foreignness is a threat to our very survival when it permits us to continue to see and use war as a tool of national policy.

Foreignness is any act by any human group which draws a boundary and oppresses, victimizes or subjects to hatred, those left outside.

Foreignness is a planet partitioned because we lack the wisdom to make it whole.

When in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed, we imagined a different future.

We imagined a future in which we would have a international and social order in which the rights of all human beings would be realized.

We imagined a world in which the spirit of brotherhood, not possession of citizenship papers, would guarantee our human dignity.

We imagined a world in which everyone enjoyed life and security, not one in which peace would be a lottery of birth.

We imagined a world in which social security, education and housing were the right of every human being.

We imagined a world defined by the flourishing of peace, culture, the sciences and the arts in larger proportions, everywhere.

We imagined a world in which our humanity, and our human rights, were not defined by where we were born, but solely by the fact that we were born.

The abolition of foreignness is the central human rights struggle of our time.

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