Migrant Caravan (Christian Faith & Exodus)

caravan

Did the writer of this article which you can read here in the New York Times intentionally write this story about the caravan of migrants working en route to America to read like a religious event, or is it simply “in the nature” of the event itself, or is this simply how a story like this gets structured in a Christian culture through the lens of biblical paradigms? All the elements thread throughout the story: God, faith, miracle, suffering, and exodus, the movement of a people.

Here’s what I picked out:

Thousands of migrants — men, women, entire families — had wandered into town the day before, many on foot, and turned the humble commercial district into a vast makeshift encampment. They had filled every square foot of the plaza, including its bandshell, and jammed the sidewalks and storefronts, sprawling on cardboard, blankets, plastic sheeting and spare clothes. “This is straight-up biblical,” said Julio Raúl García Márquez, 43, a Guatemalan traveling with his wife, their 1-year-old son and a cousin. They spent part of the night on sheets of cardboard in the central square.

[…]

Josué Rosales, 28, from Honduras, said that he was unsure whether the caravan would make it all the way to the border and be able to cross into the United States. Still, he felt he had no choice but to try: In Honduras, he had no steady job and he’d been robbed in the streets. “If God’s willing, the president will give us permits to work in the United States,” he said.

[…]

“The bottom line is, most people in Honduras frankly could not care less about elections in the U.S.,” said Oscar Chacón, the executive director of Alianza Americas, a Chicago-based network of American immigrant groups, who was meeting with advocates in Central America this week. “When you are desperate, you believe in miracles,” he said. “They truly hope that by making this show of collectiveness, by joining this caravan, somebody’s heart will be touched and a miracle will happen.”

[…]

“We are not going because we want to,” read one flier he shared on Facebook. “The violence and poverty expels us.” Many participants joined the caravan on impulse.

[…]

Most, it appears, are heading to the United States for the first time, though a sizable contingent are deportees trying to get back. Many said the decision to leave their homeland, even if arrived at quickly, was aching. “It hurts me,” said Kilber Martinez, 26, a Honduran migrant, riding in the back of a pickup truck, overpacked with more than two dozen young men. “The land where you were born is like the mother.”

[…]

Despite attempts by the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to impede its progress, the caravan has continued, moving organically like this, without any apparent master plan or declared organizers, and slowed only by human frailty.

[…]

In the central plaza, migrants strung up plastic sheeting for shelter between trees and lamp posts, just in time for a light rain. Others prepared for the evening by seeking shelter in a covered outdoor basketball court, in a Catholic church and in the shuttered doorways of shops throughout the central commercial district. A group from a Christian radio station brought huge pots of spaghetti, beans and rice. A preacher showed up, and some migrants knelt around him.

[…]

Some migrants bathed in a nearby river, including Kinzinyer Gabriela Hernandez, 17, a Honduran migrant who was traveling with her 2-year-old daughter and 16-year-old sister. “My husband knows that we’re on our way, but not exactly where we are,” said Ms. Hernandez, who said she was named after Henry Kissinger, the former United States secretary of state. “God gives me the faith to keep going.”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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One Response to Migrant Caravan (Christian Faith & Exodus)

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    Exodus is Old Testament, right?

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