By Steve Pavey
Listening to the Presidential Debate from the perspective of those waiting on the crumbs from the table . . .
You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table
- U2, "Crumbs from Your Table"
I visited the comedor (dining room) of the Kino Border Initiative last weekend, October 15. Everyday, here at the border wall in Mexico, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist provide a basic meal, basic clothes and access to a free phone to 60-80 of the more than one thousand people deported daily from the US. Upon my arrival, I stood next to a woman on the phone sobbing as she tried to explain where she was as much emotionally as physically after being deported to Sonora, a city in Mexico just on the other side of the border wall of the US town of Nogales.
The majority of those who show up here have been deported after being picked up on the dangerous journey walking through the Sonoran desert. I listened to the stories of others including one man who was migrating from Honduras seeking to cross into the US because there are no other options for him to work to feed his family. On the wall is a map made by Humane Borders documenting 2,793 migrant deaths between 1999-2015 in the Arizona desert. Many more have died and are suffering waiting on the crumbs from the table of the wealthy.
Neither presidential candidate, neither the Democrats or Republicans, see or listen to those like Lazarus left to die at the margins of society. The important issue before us is this unequal table, of the social relations that produce the wealthy and the poor. And the answer is not to feed the poor, but to destroy this divide between the rich and the poor to recover our shared humanity at a common table!
We are given a clue to what blinds us and what might liberate us just prior to the telling of this story of Lazarus and the Rich man:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
But that’s just it, isn’t it? We love our money so much more, so we remain blind to Lazarus and our liberation.
"Might the authority of those who suffer bring the diverse cultural and social worlds together?"
- Johann Baptist Metz
Steve is a documentary photographer, applied anthropologist and contemplative activist, all of which come together in the vocation of cultivating a way to see, in order to bear witness to the world both as it is, and as it could be. You can see more of Steve's work at www.stevepavey.com and to get in contact with Steve email him at email@example.com. Steve works with Hope In Focus, which bears witness to the world as it is and as it could be through activist photography committed to walking alongside the world’s oppressed and marginalized, finding hope together in the collective struggle for human dignity and justice.