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Editorial

A Tribute to the Six Migrants Who Were Killed on the Bridge

None of the six workers repairing the bridge at the port of Baltimore, which collapsed like a house of cards when struck by a ship, were Greek. They were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. But they could have been from Greece. After all, there is a countless number of Greeks who have worked on bridges in America. Personally, I know about ten of them, one of whom was my fellow countryman from Lemnos, Nikos Trataros.

Climbing, like eagles, high up on the bridge’s peaks, in rain and wind, suspended by their belts or stepping on footholds, they repaired the cables, wood, and iron that kept them in the air, painting the rusted iron, giving the structures ‘life’. One misstep and they would fall into the net below… or into the raging waves of the river or sea below. Many have died.

The men who were killed were young and strong, with nerves and arms of steel, people with family obligations and dreams who dared to do these jobs because, due to their increased risk, they were paid better than others. And they needed that money.

“We’re low-income families,” said Jesus Campos, to the New York Times. “Our relatives are waiting for our help back in our home countries.”

Think about the beauty, dedication, sense of duty, but also the sacrifice that this statement contains!

These are things that we – and others – used to do. Some of us still do today, but the rest are immigrants from various parts of the world who arrive in America.

Because immigrants are the ones who do the jobs that Americans don’t do. And there were immigrants before them, now our fellow Americans, who usually own the companies where immigrants work.
But we forget these things.

Immigration is one of the top political issues in this year’s presidential elections.

And both major candidates, Biden and Trump, are demagoguing it intolerably. They promote positions and ‘programs’ for immigrants that if implemented, would be detrimental to the country.

Trump uses terminology so insulting and unacceptable – i. e. saying that immigrants infect America’s blood – that it should offend every human being, not just immigrants.

We forget that there are immigrants, like Trump’s ancestors, who are neither criminals, nor lazy, nor terrorists. But ambitious, smart people who sought an opportunity to work in order to support their families, or to escape religious or other persecution, and reached America. The Land of Opportunity.

And yes, some of them work on bridges, at midnight. Jobs that other Americans refuse to do.

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