Lee Sang-jae (Korea Migrant Workers Human Rights Center)
Factories are busy to secure orders ahead of summer vacation. In an economic crisis like these days, it would be nice to still have work, but in the middle of summer in an industrial complex where air conditioning and ventilation are poor, being in that space itself is a humiliation. The center on the other side of an apartment-type factory in the industrial complex is no exception. So, the number of migrant workers visiting the center at this time of year has always decreased. This year, it is even cooler to see old furniture replacing people’s seats overlapping with the center’s move. In particular, the vacancy of those who have known each other longer than the old furniture in the center, who shared their current situation with a joke or two rather than a consultation or program, is engraved in my heart.
It’s not just factories that are busy. The task of deporting illegal migrant workers who have already passed their expiration date is also busy to fill the first half of the year ahead of the heat wave. Commuting to work, late-night workshops, weekend shopping, and even sleeping in the middle of the night. Their sympathy also makes our footsteps busy as we leave. Over the past few weeks, I have had to deliver several return packages containing my years of living in Korea in one 25kg bag. It is a place that is absolutely necessary for work and has to meet frequently, but there are places that you want to avoid. For us, the immigration office or the foreigner detention center are those places. It was the same way on the way to meet Hakim.
Kanbir Hassan Hakim. Born in Bangladesh, living in Korea for 13 years, the team leader of the night team at the injection plant, age 29, bought a house in the capital city of Dhaka with the money he earned so far, and paid for the tuition of his two younger brothers. In The Seventh Man, John Berger describes the migrant workers who came to Europe in the 1970s as “heroes are the people who leave the city and come back with success.” Hakim will also have a presence as a hero in his hometown and in his family. But the hero is trapped. He hasn’t shaved for several days, so his sparse beard represents the hero’s current appearance. I can’t imagine many more Hakim’s trying to follow the young hero who left his hometown village in his teens as a teenager and flew to an unfamiliar Korea, not a big city in Bangladesh, to feed his family and even set up a home in the capital Dhaka. Maybe you never want to imagine. “But his immigration is like an event in someone else’s dream. Like a character in a dream that a stranger has in his sleep, he seems to act automatically, sometimes in an unspoken way. But everything he does – unless he rebels – is determined by the dreamer’s mental desires (p. 47).” Hakim’s actions are not unique to Hakim. It is a pity that it is not the last appearance of the hero returning home wearing the newly purchased suit, not with one 25kg bag, but with another bag full of gifts for the whole family and villagers. To him and everyone who looked at him.
On the day Hakim was cracked down, I was still hating Hakim and his friends. It’s because I haven’t seen them for two months after talking about fundraising before the center. There are many people who visit the center at 10 o’clock, but there was a part that I was expecting in my heart, saying that they had been interacting with more than others, but they didn’t answer the phone. According to the response of each individual visiting the center, “the intention of the immigrant is already permeated with a historical necessity that neither himself nor anyone he meets is aware of. That is why his life seems to be dreaming in someone else’s dream (p. 47).” Let’s not measure the issue of migration, so let’s not see it as an individual’s problem, and we promise to be polite and kind to the historicity, but it’s not easy in reality. So, the way to visit Hakim was more difficult. In fact, they are not the only ones who have not been able to relax their minds in the end.
Hakim wasn’t just a hero to his family and the people of his hometown. He was a hero for us too. “It is not the humans who emigrate, but the machine janitors, the janitors, the diggers, the cement workers, the laundry, the parks, etc. This is only the meaning of temporary relocation (p. 62).” In Korea, which never accepts permanent immigrant workers, all migrant labor is temporary labor for a short period of three years. All are imported as machines, and if the deadline is exceeded, they will be deported. However, Hakim became a human, not a machine. It was poetry that he chose to be treated as a human being. He is a poet+ who debuted in Korea. Through 『Writers』 No. 18 published by the Incheon Writers Association, he informed Korean society of his sensibility, of migrant workers, and of migrants. Presence and sensitivity as a human being.
He smiles as he enters the meeting room. Counseling matters, including delayed severance pay, should have already been discussed with our counseling team, and the only remaining process for me was to confirm my existence and absence as a human being. He speaks with a serious face. “Mystery There are a lot of immigration problems here.” As if I was trying to fulfill my position until the end, I became even more serious about myself taking one step closer. “I was arrested at 9:30 p.m., and these people don’t serve me until lunch the next day. If you work at night, you have to eat dinner at 12 o’clock and eat the next morning, but it’s really hard because you’re hungry. People can’t do this. Mystery, please make this a problem.” I feel lighter. so we laugh Hakim’s dream and the reality he is stepping into. “That’s why his life seems to be dreaming in someone else’s dream” (p. 47).