The Nazis are unquestionably the easiest, and most often selected narrative enemy thought out history, and for good reasons. Their systematic policies of genocide and ethnic cleansing gave crimes that western civil civilizations deemed to be crimes against humanity a disturbingly modern connotation. Countries like the US and Britain spearheaded military tribunals against Nazi personnel that, especially given the US’s past relations with natives, recent policy of racial internment, and Britain’s imperial history, smelled more of revenge-like victor’s justice than a genuine concern for persecuted minorities. If this is the case then what is it that separates the nationalist/nativist paths that the US and Britain currently find themselves on from the path that led the Nazi’s to their monstrous crimes?
The film Children of Men shows us a Britain void of any toleration for foreigners but keeps the final destination of these foreigners as an abstract concept until the end of the film. During the subtle build up to this reveal, the undesirability of being labeled as a foreigner is reinforced through the feverish demand that British citizens present citizenship documentation to the militaristic police and the willingness of immigrants to resist deportation violently. Resistance to the deportation of immigrants, however, is shown to be a purely foreign interest, with none of the average, unaffected citizens ever even mentioning the removal of immigrants from British society, as if it is just another boring government function. The end of the film, however, shows the process to be a violent traumatic process that entails immigrants being beaten, shoved into animal cages, and executed by the dozens before the survivors are shoved into crowded, dirty ghettos as they await the transport to their unspecified next stop. This imagery violent imagery calls to mind the genocidal practices of the Nazi régime and portrays the ease with which the ‘civilized’ British people accepted them as necessary for societal survival. b.
Does this imagery of immigrant families being separated, sometimes violently, speak to the national othering of immigrants in modern day America and its possible destination if we do not learn to accept immigrants into our society?