When Pope Francis touches US soil, he will begin a whirlwind tour through the northeast corner of our vast country. As such, he decided to hold a virtual audience with several parts of the country he would not be able to visit during his brief sojourn here. Via satellite then, he spoke with students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s inner city; the homeless in Los Angeles and those dedicated people who work with them; and finally, parishioners from Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas, many of whom have led the country in efforts to show that the refugee crisis in the United States is a humanitarian crisis, not a political tool to be volleyed back and forth.
|By far, mothers and children are the usual type of refugees we encounter at the border in Texas|
Photo Credit, LA Times
The one-hour special aired on ABC News 20/20 on Friday, September 4th, at 9 pm CST. Moreover, it has been posted in its entirety in both English and Spanish on ABCNews.com.
When Pope Francis concentrates on speaking about the poor, about the marginalized, about the most needy and those who want from us, he never expected his words to be sanctioned. Indeed, he probably has no idea what was aired or cut from the show, as technically, his words were not abridged. An entire segment of the English language version of the show was snipped, however, one that might embarrass the American government.
Afterall, the news show belongs to ABC, so the programmer must have felt it was within its judiciary right to delete those couple of crucial minutes, even if it were deleting actual happenings at the church in McAllen, where hundreds of people experienced what was in fact happening, and what Pope Francis witnessed too.
So why did they do it? I guess we will never really know...
The idea of immigration and deportation, and how we are treating it as Americans, differs greatly when we look across the Atlantic. Interestingly, as people cry out scandalously at what Europeans might be doing, as they wag their fingers and tsk tsk the death of 3-year old Aylan Kurdi fleeing with his parents from Syria to a hate-filled Europe, we forget to see what we ourselves are carrying out at our own Southern border.
Thus, I was shocked to see the 20/20 special with the Pope.
Actually, I was shocked at what I did not see when I compared both English and Spanish versions of the supposedly same show.
The segment shown at the border to the Spanish-speaking population was not the same segment shown to the English-speaking public: the English-language version was “sanitized” and cut. In the Spanish version, minutes 35 - 37 (approximately) are deleted from the English-speaking version.
I wonder, if someone wrote asking ABC to explain their reason why, would they be transparent about their true objectives?
Is it that the American public cannot take seeing a refugee mother in shackles with her blind child? Is it that the for-profit prisons paid big bucks to have that segment cut when the journalist asked the Pope point blank what he thought of the monitor around the mother’s ankle? Is it that ABC might have financial ties to these for-profit mercenaries, and they did not want the English-speaking world to confront them with that supposition? Or is it that this was just too controversial to show — this is what the American government is now doing to all refugees coming in at the border — and it is not a pretty sight worthy of our eyes?
We do not need to understand Spanish to grasp what is going on during the deleted segment. BUT this section (minutes 35 - 37) is completely absent from the English version of the show.
So what is ABC saying about the Spanish-speaking public?
The worst insult is that it was not cut in the Spanish version, which means that it was alright for Latinos to see the segment — seemingly endorsed — as if it were either a warning for us of things to come, or a laissez-faire type of move: the Spanish-speaking public is too insignificant to bother with, so ABC does not have to "disinfect" the piece as it does its English-speaking counterpart…
It chills me to the bone every time I think about any of these various suppositions. Whatever they may be, what kind of world are we living in?