by Meridith McKinnon
What would I do if I were born stateless? Does this answer why I wrote The Thai Wife?
I risk being repetitive about why I wrote THE THAI WIFE but I feel I haven’t answered this question adequately. Bear with me one more time for those who have asked me this question and for the answer I may have given, I fear it’s not enough. So let’s try again.
Why did I write this book? What is my message? Who is it about? ...
Displaced people have become increasingly on my mind. I have experienced living amoung them, met them and watched them in everyday life. For over 30 years I have memories and scenes embedded in my mind that I actually began to wonder if I dreamt some of them. But the internet is a marvellous thing and as it came of age and it entered my life I realised I could research what I thought to be true and found many accounts and recordings of stateless people which brought validation to what I had known for decades.
Stateless people do exist, continue to be persecuted and remain displaced even after decades of exposure to human rights groups and even greater exposure in the world news and the internet. So why is it that displacement of minority groups continue to increase and why are people still starving and remain isolated not only in countries like Myanmar but also North Korea, Laos and China?
Statelessness strips the very being from a person. It takes their sense of self and destroys self -worth and value. Everyone deserves to belong and every human being deserves a sense of self. This is why I wrote this book.
But I have learnt over the years that some people quickly tune out of issues that firstly, seem so far removed from their everyday life they seem improbable and secondly, affluence often creates complacency of issues that appear too complex and insolvable. And yes, the subject of statelessness is so far removed it is difficult to imagine and yes, it such a complex and difficult to solve problem. But if we continue thinking like this as a society we too loose our sense of self and what we should be doing to help our fellow man. I fear that one day, with shock, we will wonder how this ‘problem’ has gone on from decades to centuries.
And so the idea of writing about statelessness in a non -fiction form was not an option if I wanted to create awareness and capture people’s attention. The brutality of Burma soldiers is real. The torture of women and men is real. Stateless men are murdered, women are raped and children captured for mine sweeps.
THIS. IS. REAL.
It is ironic that in a world that has never been as connected with technology as now, that stateless people remain so disconnected, displaced, persecuted and lost.
And then I ask myself, what would I do if I were born a stateless person?