An open letter to Theresa May
“But we also value something else: the spirit of citizenship. That spirit that means you respect the bonds and obligations that make our society work. That means a commitment to the men and women who live around you, who work for you, who buy the goods and services you sell. That spirit that means recognizing the social contract that says you train up local young people before you take on cheap labor from overseas. That spirit that means you do as others do, and pay your fair share of tax. But today, too many people in positions of power behave as though they have more in common with international elites than with the people down the road, the people they employ, the people they pass in the street. But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.” Theresa May, on the Conservative Party Conference 2016.
My full name is Tomás Alfredo Molina Petrocco and I’m a citizen of nowhere. As you said, I have no roots. When people ask me where I’m from I always hesitate with regards to my answer. Diversity has always been a constant in my life. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1994 and that is why I call myself a porteño. But as you may figure out, there are lots of people that don’t know where Buenos Aires is or what porteño means. That is why I tell them that I am from Argentina. Still, that is not completely true. Last year I became a Spanish citizen and by extension, now I kind of feel that I’m a European citizen as well which is also partially true because these last two months of my life were the first ones I’ve spent in Europe. So, why is it possible that I’m a Spanish citizen now? Well, the truth is that I come not only from a country that was built by immigrants, but also from a whole continent that had similar experiences. My great grandparents came from Italy and Spain respectively and that is why my two last names show that diversity. They came to the new American continent to find peace and a place to raise a family escaping from a continent that was devastated by war. They too had to cut their roots to grow new ones far from their home. Because of this, I also feel that my roots lie within the American continent. My reality is the same one shared by millions of people from that same continent.
But, as you said in your speech, I have no roots. I think that I may agree with your statement. The truth is that I really don’t know where my home is. See, everywhere I go, I feel a little bit at home. I was lucky enough to visit many places in the world and everywhere I go, I always seem to leave that place feeling that a part of me is leaving a small seed that one day may grow roots there. But for the time being, I have no roots; and for what you implied, I also have no will to care about other human beings. That sounds to me a little bit strange because even though I have no roots and I am a citizen of nowhere, I deeply care about other people. Not only I deeply care, but sometimes I also feel that I suffer as much as they suffer, something that is really strange considering that I am a citizen of nowhere.
I hope this doesn’t feel like a Spike Lee rant, because it definitely isn’t. Theresa May, I really care about people. I care about their sufferings and about their future. I care about their heartbreaks and their lives. I care about what happens to you as well as I care about the kid that dies in the US, shot by the police. I care about the people in Haiti dying in the middle of the hurricane. I care about the people in Venezuela fighting against their oppressive regime. I care about the people in Paris who died because of intolerance. I care about the people in Syria that seem to be suffering an endless war. I care about the Palestinians and Israelis dying everyday by numbers. I care for those who are persecuted in Russia or Cuba or any country that persecutes everyone that thinks different. I care for our earth, that we are still destroying day by day making it hard for us to live in. I care for every single soul that suffers because he or she isn’t given the opportunity to show his or her potential. Theresa May, I do care, and because I care I have the deepest roots. My roots are natured and groomed by my humanity. Theresa May, my values and my diversity have made me a world citizen, one of those that not only feels committed to his time, but feels committed to try to make this world a better place. Theresa May, I call Argentina, Spain, the United States, Venezuela, India, China and every single country and region in this world my home. As long as there is a human that needs someone to stand by his side, I claim that place to be my home. Theresa May, I am a world citizen and my roots are the ones of humanity.
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.” John Donne.
Tomás A. Molina