The Presidential Wall Game is an ugly celebration of Trumpian nationalism and has no place on NZ shelves, argues Emily Writes.
Toyco is selling a board game that encourages children and their parents to build a wall – a wall that more than anything is a symbol of the xenophobia and hatred that is central to Donald Trump’s border policy. Think of the “Presidential Wall Game” as a kind of racist jenga, I suppose.
Here’s the description: “It’s time to make a wall, it’s time to break a wall. Trumpty Dumpty is on his wall and now it’s time to see if it will stay put. This re-implementation of the classic stacking game is a politically humorous time.”
It’s debatable whether anyone not rich and white thinks this time in the US is “politically humorous”. Toyco says the game is aimed at kids aged “nine years and over”. It’s a two-player game that includes a “Trump figure” and bricks. The maker of the game, Holdson, suggest players: “Set up the Wall, then take turns to push out the bricks one by one. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? The LOSER is the player who makes Trump fall!!”
That some people might want to buy this game isn’t really surprising. But do we really need it in New Zealand?
Auckland mum Victoria Tupou was shopping with her son at St Lukes when she came across the “game”.
“I just thought it was really poor taste to promote the wall as a ‘game’ where essentially the building of the wall is to keep “others” out. My son is eight and he said ‘Isn’t that racist?’ So really if an eight-year-old can figure out that a game might not be OK, than I really question what the hell Toyco were thinking when they decided to stock it.”
If you only know about asylum seekers and refugees from what that orange chode Trump says, you might not have a handle on what’s actually going down with this wall. The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is a leading research and advocacy organisation advancing human rights in the Americas. They’ve got heaps of info on the issues facing asylum seekers and refugees.
They say that migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have to flee violence and insecurity every day. They are seeking protection in the United States for themselves and their children.
El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are facing unparalleled levels of violent crime and all three countries continue to rank among the most violent in the world. Impunity rates for homicides in the Northern Triangle countries hover above 95%. This means that 19 out of every 20 murders remain unsolved, and the likelihood of being caught, prosecuted or convicted for murder is practically nil. According to the World Bank, 60% of people living in rural areas of these countries live in poverty.
You know those women and kids you’re keeping out in this shitty wall game? WOLA says El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are some of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman. In Honduras, 468 women were killed in 2016 – one every 18 hours. Being denied asylum or being deported can be a death sentence. Although the United States does not have a comprehensive database of migrants who were killed after being returned to their countries of origin, the Global Migration Group at Columbia University has so far recorded more than 60 people who had been deported to their deaths or to other harm.
The group Border Angels estimates that since 1994 about 10,000 people have died in their attempt to cross the increasingly militarised border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection themselves, 7,216 people have died crossing the U.S-Mexico border between 1998 and 2017.
While we do our Christmas shopping and choose whether or not to buy our kids shit like this, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin will always be seven. Just after midnight on 8 December, this year Jackelin died in a Texas hospital, with a swollen brain and a failed liver after being detained for eleven hours without food or water by US border security. Her family will mourn her forever from their home in Raxruhá, Guatemala.
Enjoy your “game”, I guess.
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