The Trauma of Facing Deportation
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Thanks to Rachel Aviv - The Trauma of Facing Deportation for this essential framing of the true cost of Othering. - ed.
"In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children have fallen unconscious after being informed that their families will be expelled from the country."
Not just in Sweden. There is somatic clarity here, tremendous psychological evidence, and a colossal lack of political will on the part of adults with power around the world to do what is clearly best for children and, thus, for humanity. The Golden Rule is called that for a reason. If you were the child, the refugee, the Other in the story, fleeing a life of fear, how would you want be treated?
"For nearly two decades, a political question—What should we do about migration?—has played out through the bodies of hundreds of children. The number of new cases of apathy declined in 2006, after the Migration Board took a more lenient approach, but the illness is still being diagnosed in dozens of children. Last year, some sixty children lost the ability to move and to speak. There is now universal consensus that the children are not faking, but no one knows why the illness is particular to Sweden. I spoke with more than twenty Swedish doctors who had either treated apathetic patients or written about them, and none of them had an explanation; most were hesitant to even propose a hypothesis. Björn Axel Johansson, a child psychiatrist at Skåne University Hospital, in southern Sweden, who has treated twelve apathetic children, told me, “I’m not convinced that this is only happening in Sweden. Maybe it’s only being documented and discussed and published in Sweden?”