Doors. Borders. Thresholds. Who holds the keys, letting some in and leaving others out?
These questions, and the idea for Trespass, were inspired by Harsha Walia’s Undoing Border Imperialism. As I planned the issue over the past year, the title of her book seemed at once current and timeless. It came to mind when Vancouver marked the one-hundredth anniversary of the Komagata Maru. The phrase “border imperialism” made a perfect alternative headline for recent news stories about Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and a chillingly accurate caption for pictures of refugees in ports around the world—Tamils in Canada, Eritreans in southern Europe, Rohingya in Southeast Asia.
Walia posits that deeming a human “illegal” is a logical impossibility. Instead, she suggests in the book, borders—and the countries they define—are illegally created. In my interview with Walia, she describes how capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy collude to draw arbitrary borders that are maintained through violence.
Trespass is a tribute by and to humans who assert their legality in the face of a world order that seeks to exclude them.
In Nigit’stil Norbert’s cover art, Red Destiny, the weed affirms its place on the threshold, growing despite concrete surroundings and a closed door.
Doretta Lau’s story, “Best Practices for Time Travel,” stands on several thresholds of its own. Her subject matter crosses pop music, porn, scatology, philosophy, and literature. The genre is a mash-up of literary fiction and academic pondering, with a touch of science fiction. Thematically, she explores the double-bind of racism and sexism.
These three contributors set the tone for the fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and art in this issue. Step over the threshold with them.