Monday, October 07, 2013

The Importance of Being Dominican, A Trivial Comedy for (not so) Serious Citizens

Just recently, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic issued controversial opinion (to describe it politely) establishing and regulating the concept of nationality in the country. Opinions have been polarizing, and the future is bleak at best for those affected by the decision.

First off, my family (The Lightbourne's) are a set of cocolos from the Turks and Caicos (or The Bahamas, im really not sure yet) who probably came to the country at the turn of the century when high migration numbers were registered by citizens of other islands due to the sugar cane industrial boom in the 1900s. Given that my grandfather was born around 1913, and his mother was already here by then, I'll go ahead and play it safe to say that my family is, in fact, dominican by blood and land right, given that none of us remember anyone in the family NOT being dominican.

But that's just it: I might not be Dominican enough. The Courts decisions establishes that a registry for foreigners is to be established for people born as far back as 1929, thus enforcing the Constitutional rule that people in transit who give birth during said time do not get citizenship rights for their newborns. The effects of enforcing such a rule within such an absurd period of time are mind-boggling to anyone who has spent whatever time studying law in any language, where the first thing they teach you is that laws (much less a Constitution) cant be dictated for the past, except when it benefits the subject affected by the new rule.

Imagine waking up any given day and being informed that you do not have a legal citizenship status anymore. Fun stuff, right?

I'm not gonna go all into the legal implications or analyze every bit of detail of the 147 page abomination (you'd have to provide an unknown amount of alcohol to me, so there is a slight chance i Might do it if your offer is attractive) but as a citizen of a country where immigration is a very sought after fact of life (In many cases an impossible dream that is highly costly and deadly to fulfill) I am amused by the idea of somebody giving more than one fuck about people crossing over here for a better life... its ironic at best.

Politicians have made it so that all the statistics show how prosperous and well off our country is doing on paper, but have been incapable of translating said wealth onto real living, breathing humans, making the richer much more richer and the poor more fucked up. So even with all of this going all, people should feel flattered someone wants to walk into your fucked up country and make a living here, working for you in your homes, building your luxury towers, plowing the land you eat from and taking care of you while you sleep. Instead we get a so called "nationalist" attitude which seeks to promote the idea that these people cannot be here because they are illegals, take our welfare and overload the provision of our own public services. Which is bullshit if you consider services are fucked up beyond whomever uses them, indistinct of they nationality. Not to mention most of those services are being denied to these people anyways because of their racial background in some (most) communities.

The sole idea that we are being invaded and that these people want to take over is absurd. I understand the sentiment given that we haven't always (never) seen eye to eye with Haitians, but they are a very necessary part of our own development and to deny them access to our country is to acknowledge and consolidate all of the weaknesses and the corruption that stands behind the Haitian issues that the Dominican Republic currently faces.

I'm not saying we should open the borders, but i think closing them is definitely not an option. The Dominican establishment has to come up with a solution that is not exclusive to those who already have rights under international law. To strip someone of their identity and to throw them into a state of legal limbo with no choices only reminds me of a certain set of laws dictated by a certain country a few years back.

I think we should be talking about a more constructive nationalism, one that foresees the necessities of the nation and is inclusive to those who want to (legally) benefit from the development of the country and contribute to everyone having a better life. The building of a country in the XXIst century cannot be planned thinking only of the people who are born to a certain group of a specific ethnic origin, the migratory movement is a reality we need to accept and explore and find ways to benefit from. Instead, we are now breaking hearts and stealing dreams of people who just want to make themselves better in life, in the country they were born in, just because they belong to the wrong family.

Also it would help if us Dominicans stopped thinking of ourselves as european imports: grow up and get over it.

I seriously hope things in my country will start being properly debated.