Laila Lalami

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Dime si has oído esta historia antes

El guardia de fronteras estaba de pie junto a un pequeño edificio de bloques de hormigón, entrecerrando los ojos por la luz del sol. Desde donde yo estaba —el asiento trasero del viejo Renault de mis padres—, él parecía alto y daba un poco de miedo. Pero solo echó un vistazo rápido al interior e hizo un gesto con la mano para indicarnos que podíamos seguir adelante en nuestra excursión de un día a Melilla, un enclave español al norte de Marruecos.

Aquello fue en 1977, cuando quienes cruzaban la frontera eran en su mayor parte lugareños. Pero, a medida que creció la Unión Europea, también lo hizo la fortificación.…  Seguir leyendo »

To ‘Never Forget’ 9/11, We Must Remember Everything

The boy clings to the undercarriage of an evacuation plane leaving Kabul. He is a teenage athlete, a soccer player of some renown in Afghanistan, yet sees no future for himself in a homeland now ruled by the Taliban. His only hope is to leave. But as the American C-17 takes off, the boy falls to his death, a dot in the gray sky. The disturbing footage of his fall, which circulated online last month, echoed the iconic image of the “falling man”, who jumped or fell from the north tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The boy and the man may be separated by time, place and circumstance, but they are connected by a chain of events that began 20 years ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

Spanish Guardia Civil watch as would-be immigrants from Africa sit atop a fence after scrambling over two other border barriers on Spain's tiny north African territory of Melilla. (Jose Colon / AFP/Getty Images)

Can borders stop immigrants?

The particular border I have in mind looks like an obstacle course for mythical giants. To pass it, you would have to cross a 12-foot-wide ditch, climb a wall topped with blades, then scale three metal fences, two of them 20 feet high. You would need to elude surveillance cameras and motion-activated alarms, not to mention a multitude of well-equipped guards.
On paper at least, the border surrounding the city of Melilla seem unassailable. Like Ceuta, 200 miles west, Melilla is an anomaly: It is politically a part of Spain, but it is in Morocco, a holdover from medieval Spanish incursions along the African coast.…  Seguir leyendo »