Alexandra Erin Profile picture
Jun 17, 2018 28 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Boy, I'm glad this is being reported, but the bloodless "waiting" here is going beyond the passive voice. It's making the children the active agents. They're waiting. If their patience runs out, will they stop waiting and leave?


Because they're not waiting. They're held.
The construction also elides the obvious question: for what are they waiting? I think the obvious conclusion would be "their parents" but there's no mention here about any plan or timetable for reuniting them. So what are they waiting for? Trials? Deportations? A final solution?
Let's please not forget that "concentration camp", now considered too harsh a label to be used lightly, was originally a euphemism. Nothing about the phrase itself speaks of genocide or death. Just a way to... concentrate a population in one area.

"The children are waiting."
Let me tell you something else about that report that I don't know if everybody will have picked up on. I know some people who would, because they're sensitive to it for similar reasons to me.

Go read the article again. Do you notice something odd about the way it's written?
Actually, it's short, so let me give you the text in full. Do you see it?

Children, children, children, them, children, their, teenager, child, they've, their.

All the nouns and pronouns in the text that refer to the children in this facility, in these cages.

All ungendered.
It is so weird and so rare for someone writing in the English language to skip all gendered referents. Even if it's a mixed-sex facility, one of those "children" would have been "boys and girls" just for variety, and because the cis get uncomfortable when they don't see gender.
So my immediate thought when I read this is, were there some unusual conditions required in exchange for being allowed to see the facility?
If the reporters saw any girls in this facility, they haven't told us. But they also haven't told us that they didn't see any girls.
Like, at this point, if a reporter sees a holding facility with girls in it, that qualifies as a scoop. That's breaking news. It's of immediate public interest. There would be no reason for them to not mention it.

But the regime has a strong interest in defusing that interest.
I feel several kinds of ways about referring to a news report that mentions twenty children held in a cage as propaganda, but... I think this piece represents a very carefully negotiated dance. I can't imagine how else it would have come about.
The framing of children "waiting", the fact that all traces of gender have been scrubbed from it.

And maybe there were girls there. Maybe the regime's concern is that mentions of girls in cages would sound the wrong kind of unsavory, stir too many sympathies.
I just can't imagine the decision to not gender the children in the article came from the reporter or the news agency, and not from the regime.
The thing that worries me is the babies. Young children, "tender age children" as they're called, the ones under 10, but especially the babies. There was no large-scale solution in place for infants and toddlers. And creating one quickly is not an easy task, for people who care.
Parents have been told "You're never seeing your baby again." The people doing this see their victims as animals, not even human.
The limits of what one human being will do to another are basically twofold:

1. How much trouble they imagine it will cause them personally.
2. How much of themselves they can see in the other person.
So imagine Trump's DHS. The number of infants they are taking away is non-trivial but also a small percentage of the total. From their point of view, it would be a lot of effort to actually *deal* with the infants.
I just... I have a lot of concern for the youngest. I'm trying to imagine the people who are doing the stuff we've seen actually spending the time and money and attention it would take to care for them, and I'm failing. It doesn't add up.
And when you contemplate if an atrocity is happening, the question you should ask... well, it goes back to Ayn Rand: who would stop them? What would actually stop them from doing this horrible thing?

And again, I'm failing to imagine what would stop them.
Keeping an infant or toddler in custody would be orders of magnitude more expensive than keeping a tweenaged child, and from their point of view, I mean, you see how they grumble about they get no credit for how nice the kiddy jails are.
So from their point of view they could spend a ton of time and money make the nicest baby holding facility you could imagine and people would still act like they were monsters who put babies in jail the first time it was photographed.
Or they could spend way less money and do the one thing that ensures nobody ever gets pictures of a baby prison. Why not? They're animals. And it's just not cost effective.
If the girls "waiting" in custody and the children under 10 including the infants and toddlers in custody are being taken care of, then it is in the government's interest to tell us. It is most certainly in the public interest to know.

So the longer this stretches on...
...the worse the feeling in the pit of my stomach gets.



The most compelling reason the regime could have to not answer these questions definitively is if they know the answer would horrify us and alienate their allies.
Well, the story has been updated since I posted the tweets above. It now has more details. Including the fact that there are girls and babies there -- and that this is where the initial separation occurrs. They stay there for three days.…
After being held and processed at this facility, they are turned over to "shelters" like the one reporters previously visited. So we still don't know where the girls and the young children are sent.
According to the updated story, one young child still in diapers was placed out with a relative (an aunt). It is *possible* that this is how they're handling the lack of previous facilities for small children. It would be the best outcome given the nightmarish circumstances.
But even if it would be comforting to imagine, we should take nothing for granted.
So, in conclusion, I'm still asking:


Where do they go from this facility?

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More from @AlexandraErin

Oct 8, 2018
So, electric kettles. Let me see if I can't convert some other white US-born people over.

Here are some reasons:

1. You can set specific temperatures, not just heat things to a boil. Get closer to the ideal temperature for your tea, spend less time waiting for it to cool.
2. If you need boiling water to pour into or over something, not just like a single serving for instant whatever, you've got it in a nice kettle with a spout and an insulated handle.
3. You never have that thing where surface tension has stopped the water from actually boiling even though it's at temperature, and when you move it and disturb the water it explodes all over your hand (Google it, if you don't know this thing.)
Read 10 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
Twitter's specific policy on Dehumanizing Speech is better than I had feared; it's more specific, covering only comparisons to animals (vermin, pests) or tools for a specific purpose. You can give feedback here. Mine focused on implementation.…
The Dehumanizing Speech policy being specific is important because if (let's dream big here) it is enforced as written, you can avoid getting suspended for talking about TERFs by saying their beliefs are garbage or their actions are garbage.
My feedback focused on the unequal way in which Twitter's existing policies have been supported. White guys making clear references to genocide, murder, stalking children, etc., get "We have to look at context, this was clearly not serious" replies while their victims get banned.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
For the record, I do hope Brett Kavanaugh's life is ruined. I hope his marriage has been irreparably strained. I hope his social life is in the toilet. I hope he feels no joy at his win. I hope he only stops waiting for the other shoe to fall when it does, like a guillotine blade
My ~*preference*~ would be that he suffer some sort of institutional consequences, even if it was merely not being confirmed to a lifetime position on the highest court in the land, where he will have power over millions.

But the right decided that's off the table.
I hope anyone who comes before the SCOTUS who is even tangentially liberal, left, or Democratic makes an issue out of his participation in the case so that he has to spend his whole career justifying and defending his presence on the bench.
Read 8 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
Well, @RadioFreeTom thinks saying "No problem." implies there's a problem so forgive me if I'm not crowning him a king of situational analysis. What he's calling Trump's "rhetorical excess" is largely projection. The idea that we win by *not* pointing out what they're doing...
...just gives Trump and his party the full benefit of that projection, in that they get to smear their opponents while being insulated from accurate accusations. We've been ceding control of the narrative to them for decades now and it hasn't worked.
The reason @RadioFreeTom wants the Democrats to settle down and be good little children is because up until two hours ago HE WAS A REPUBLICAN and when this is all done he hopes there's a slightly more couth and presentable version of the Republican Party that's still in charge.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
We've got GOP voters talking about drinking liberal tears with their beers, we've got a GOP president lying his backside off to his rally and then telling Jeanine Pirro he wants to hold women "liable" for talking about rapes... I don't see the centrists asking them to be civil?
Isn't it weird how absolutely no pundit wrote an editorial saying that Lindsey Graham's fire and brimstone sermon isn't going to win over the middle? Isn't it strange that no one tells Chuck Grassley that his angry interruptions are going to hurt his party?
There was a lot of talk about whether or not Kavanaugh's vitriolic testimony would hurt him but I didn't see a lot of neutral or centrist-identified people saying that it *should*.
Read 5 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
So let me tell you another reason we need to not back down, not sit down, not be quiet: coward that he is, Donald Trump is at his most dangerous when he feels like he's on top of the world.
The horse race headlines are saying that Donald Trump had his best day as president, and I'm sure he felt it. He just came through a knock-down, drag-out fight and won a battle that people had been telling him to drop for weeks, so right now no one can tell him anything.
If he gets it in his head that maybe he should fire Rosenstein? No one's going to be able to talk him out of it. He might even do it just to extend the high, or see how far he can take it.
Read 8 tweets

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