Updated date:

Foreign Body, a Social Commentary and Poem

John is passionate about human and animal rights, social justice, equality, and the environment, and likes to convey that in his writing.



When we look at the world today and the constant fear of terrorism and hence a fear of allowing refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants (or whatever we choose to call them) into our community it bears remarkable similarities to how our body rejects foreign bodies introduced to it.

Our fear of allowing others into our country is understandable due to the amount of terrorist activity around the world which heightened greatly following 9/11, but our governments and media have often used our fear as a tool for their own agendas.

Before jumping to the conclusion that all foreigners, or those of a certain race or religion are bad, we need to look inwards and we will soon see that much more of the evil and crime is cause by our very own fellow countrymen.

I am not deliberately focusing this on the USA but due to the easy availability of information and statistics and that most of my readers are from there I have used it as the example.

Foreign Body Rejection

Our immune systems fight off harmful substances as they enter our bodies. People who are allergic to cats, for example, may experience sneezing, itching, and watery eyes after petting a cat. The immune system recognizes those harmful substances and produces an immune response. Foreign body rejection, or FBR, works in a similar way.

When a foreign object is placed in the body, the immune system recognizes it as not only foreign, but possibly harmful. Because the foreign object remains, the immune system continues to produce an immune response. As a result, white blood cells begin to attack the object, causing complications such as infection, bowel obstruction etc in an attempt to reject it. These natural responses often result in causing more serious complications than posed by the actual foreign body. (www.impactlaw.com)

The foreign body is not always something that may otherwise harm the body like splinters, thorns, cancer cells etc. It can be such things as artificial hips, breast implants, hernia mesh and the like that are used to repair or enhance.

The same can be said from foreign bodies who seek (for whatever reason) to enter or society or country. But fear and uncertainty often lead us, or our leaders, to reject or try to blame these so called infiltrators for all of our society's woes. Most governments are experts at blame shifting and turning our focus away from things that they are doing that they would rather us not notice. Instilling fear is one good way of doing that.

Foreign Body, a Poem

We often fear what we don't know,

There're monsters in the dark.

It's east to believe the hype,

But, the bite's worse than the bark.

Our governments use smoke screens

To disguise domestic woes,

To hide their shady business deals

And screwed financial flows.

They paint Muslims as evil,

Play the terrorism card

To take the focus off themselves

And the media plays their part.

Good and bad are everywhere

But we all have basic needs.

No matter where we live on Earth,

We all want to be free.

So, extend the hand of friendship

To those from other lands.

Welcome them with open arms,

Against bigotry take a stand.

Don't be frightened by their looks,

Their culture or beliefs,

They'll usually keep to themselves

And won't cause any grief.

Just like a foreign body

That your white blood cells reject

They're more useful than dangerous,

So, treat them with respect.

Real terrorism starts within,

Much closer to our home,

So don't let racist media

Become a bugging drone.


White American Men Are the Biggest Domestic Terrorist Threat

When President Donald Trump signed his (since-revised) executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, he claimed it was to protect Americans from “radical Islamic terrorists.”

“We don’t want ‘em here,” Trump told reporters at the Pentagon, where he signed the order in January, 2017.

But in the time since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed in attacks by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.

Radical Islamic terrorists inspired or directed by groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda do pose a clear threat to the US. There is no question about that. And ISIS-linked militants have killed or injured dozens of people in countries like England, France, Canada, and Australia.

But, in the United States, the bigger threat has come from a very different kind of attacker, one with no ties to religion generally or Islamist extremism specifically.The white American male.

A Brief Summary and Some Examples of Home-grown Terrorism

I will not go into the Gun Debate here, and a number of these incidents did not even involve guns, but these are just a few of the attacks that occurred within the first eight months of President Trump taking office.

  • October 2017, a 64-year-old white man from Nevada opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 and wounding more than 200.
  • August 2017, a 20-year-old white Nazi sympathizer from Ohio sped his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman and injuring at least 19 others.
  • June 2017, a 66-year-old white man from Illinois shot at Republican Congress members during an early morning baseball practice, severely wounding several people including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House of Representatives Majority Whip.
  • May 2017, a 35-year-old white man from Oregon named Jeremy Joseph Christian began harassing Muslim teenagers on a train in Portland, telling them “We need Americans here!” Two men interceded; Christian then stabbed and killed them both.
  • March 2017, a 28-year-old white man from Baltimore traveled to New York City with the explicit aim of killing black men. He stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death and was charged with terrorism by New York state authorities.

During 2017, the U.S. in fact saw a total of 346 mass shootings.

Another 307 mass shootings had occurred around the country by October 27, 2018, In the vast majority of these the perpetrator/s were white American males.

*mass shooting/killing is generally when four or more people are killed by a single person (occasionally two)

Another interesting statistic is that also, according to a study by New America, between 9/11, 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists. (sources: abc Action News; Wahington Post)

Off the Shelf

The book title I chose as inspiration from my shelves this time was "Foreign Body" by Robin Cook.

I must admit that Robin Cook is one of my favourite authors. I have so many books written by him I have lost count. Being a qualified doctor, he is to the Medical Thriller genre what John Grisham is to Courtroom Drama, and a number of his books have been made into movies. These include "Coma" starring Michael Douglas.

"Jennifer Hernandez is a fourth-year medical student of UCLA ....whose world is shattered during a break in an otherwise ordinary day. While relaxing in the surgical lounge of LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, she half-listens to a news report on medical tourism, about First world citizens travelling to Third World countries for surgery.But when she hears her beloved grandmother's name mentioned her heart nearly stops: the CNN reporter says Maria Suarez- Hernandez has died a day after undergoing a hip replacement in New Delhi's Queen Victoria Hospital."

Husband and wife New York City medical examiners Laurie Montgomery and Jack Stapleton rush to India to help the UCLA student investigate her grandmother's death and in the process uncover a sinister global conspiracy.

Foreign Body by Robin Cook

Foreign Body by Robin Cook

© 2019 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 12, 2019:

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, Mia. I am glad you agree with my views, and you are right we need to have an active dialogue about these issues if we are ever going come to any sort of solution.

Mia Rose on October 12, 2019:

I agree with everything you said. This is what people need to talk about. These are the more important things to discuss. You are a very talent writer. The poetry was excellent too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 20, 2019:

Hi Renee, nice to meet you. I am touched and humbled by generous comment and I promise not to stop what I am doing as long as I hae appreciative readers.

I will certainly take a look at your poetry here at HubPages. In fact I'll do that right now. Thanks again.

Renee Daniella Smith from Canada: Brampton,Ontario on May 20, 2019:

Wow. Your poetry is astounding and I can tell that your poems come from a very passionate place from your heart keep on doing what you are doing seriously, I am a fan already. :) OH! And it would mean the world to me if you can ....Please follow me right here on Hubpages :)


I, as well have written a few poems on here and would love it if at least read some of them too. :)

By the way the introduction was great and my favourite line is

"Don't be frightened by their looks,

Their culture or beliefs,

They'll usually keep to themselves

And won't cause any grief."-John Hansen :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 19, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Tim, it is never too late. I am glad you found this insightful and interesting. Your comment is greatly welcomed and appreciated.

Kind regards.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on May 19, 2019:

Great work, John. I've been wanting to read this for some time, and I am glad I did. Insightful poetry and on the mark with your facts. Fortunately, some of us here in the U.S. care about the facts and appreciate our brothers and sisters from across the world, such as yourself. Thanks again.

Respect and admiration,


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 19, 2019:

Thank you Brother Sean, it is good to have you back at HP and having time to read and comment once again. I am glad you agree with me here, and you are right..”Love is the answer.”

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on January 19, 2019:

Excellent work, my brother! I humbly bow before you! I loved your allegory about the immune systems, and yes, the reaction some people have against the "foreigners" is so much alike the allergies! I am 100% with you. Only Love is the answer!

Respect to your noble Heart!


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 14, 2019:

I greatly appreciate that comment, Alyssa. People need to be made aware of the "fear tactic" if they aren't already. Thank you for reading another of my articles and your encouragement.

Alyssa from Ohio on January 14, 2019:

Fear is a great motivator and a great distraction, and it's being used every day. The world is a mess right now, especially the U.S. People are being used as political pawns, and there's the ridiculous mentality, "us vs. them," in many ways. This is a powerful article, a powerful poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2019:

Thank you for sharing that, Jo. We have to think back to the values our countries were founded on and consider if we still hold to those beliefs or if our country and values have changed and become something totally different. You are right that often seemingly dark times happen for a reason and to initiate change.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on January 11, 2019:

As a child in America I grew up learning the quote on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore." I've always been so proud of my country and what we stood for. But we also brought slaves over on slave ships.

There is and always has been a struggle here about who we are and what kind of country we want to be. I believe our diversity is our strength and I'm hoping our better angels win out. It seems like a dark time in our country, but these times are often times for growth.

It's good to know you are thinking of us. Beautifully done.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 10, 2019:

Thank you DDE, I much appreciate that.

DDE on January 10, 2019:

A great message here and you shared with an open mind.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 09, 2019:

Hi Shauna. I am sneaky aren’t I :) ? From 9/11 and George Bush Jr’s “War Against Terror” and the invasion of Iraq because of “the weapons of mass destruction” that didn’t exist a campaign to instil fear into the people has been underway. Al Quaida, the Taliban and even ISIS were initially enlisted and armed by the West to overthrow or help defeat other entities and in every case it eventually backfired.

So, we, the people are left fearing foreigners (especially those from the Middle East) and the Governments have taken advantage of that fear to place the blame for everything on the shoulders of refugees, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants etc and direct eyes away from their own failings, bad policies, and internal social problems.

You are right, there are not many of us that were not originally from ancestors from elsewhere on Earth, so without immigration none of us would be where we are today. I think the title “The Land of the Free” is a thing of the past. I hope it can be resurrected again.

Thank you for reading and for your great comment.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 09, 2019:

John, once again you've taken me by surprise. I had absolutely no clue that this is an "off the shelf" article!

I love the fact that you presented facts along with your own commentary in what has become a very hot topic worldwide. The fact that you have the courage to put it out there says a lot about your character.

I think what our leaders - at least Trump - have forgotten is America is the melting pot of the world. We're a nation made up of immigrants who came here to start a new life generations ago. I don't think there's an American alive who doesn't have ancestry from Europe and many other nations across the globe. WTH? Shoot, Trump's own wife was born in Yugoslavia for crying out loud! Where does he get off trying to keep people from coming to the land of the free?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 09, 2019:

Thank you MsDora. I hope it is discernment ... it seems like common sense to me but why is it so hard for our leaders to see? I hope they open their eyes to the truth before it is too late.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 09, 2019:

Liz, thank you. I wish the politicians would read it but I doubt it would have much effect on them.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:

This is a very topical and thought-provoking poem. Maybe the politicians would be well advised to read it.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 09, 2019:

As an immigrant, I appreciate this expression of discernment, and the appeal for common sense. How we long for the days when America and its leaders would really understand and act on the last verse of your poem. Thanks!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 08, 2019:

Hi PoetikalyAnointed. Yes, I like that. Let's "cut our 'love' on" and leave it on. I rarely watch the news, anymore, and have actually drastically cut down on TV viewing altogether. Now I pick and choose what I read on the Internet. I chose to only be notified of "good news" stories.

PoetikalyAnointed on January 08, 2019:

Great job, John!

I liked the points that you made here. It is time that we cut the news off with its purposeful fear tactics and cut our love "on." It should never be switched off like a light. We see how differences are deemed "bad" in movies, tv shows...commercials etc. Once we learn to see through the b.s. with our hearts, humanity will have a chance!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 08, 2019:

Hi Rinita, yes I guess it could open a can of worms if you chose to discuss many of the points I mention here :)

Thank you for your tactful and kind comment.

Rinita Sen on January 07, 2019:

This opens up a plethora of topics to discuss, but I don't wish to get into any of that. I will just say that with your unique, flowing style, you managed to paint an apt picture of the world we live in today.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 07, 2019:

Bill, I am not sure what to say in regard to your president. I don't like our leader either, but he doesn't have as much impact on the rest of the world. We do need intelligent people with compassion running our countries though. I'll be patient.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 07, 2019:

I am so tired of our President, John! As a compassionate human being, I apologize to the rest of the world for his behavior. We will end this nightmare soon. Just be patient with us.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 07, 2019:

Hi Patrick, you make some good points, and it is sad to see people have to flee their homes for other countries. We need to put ourselves in their shoes to realize how bad that would be.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 07, 2019:

You make good points Mary. It is a pity our leaders don't learn from history. Thank you for reading.

Patrick from Nairobi on January 07, 2019:

There have been many instances of internal conflicts/violence in many parts of Africa. For the most part, many people have no choice but to flee to other African countries to avoid the killings. So it always pains me to see genuinely needy people being turned away when they really have no other alternative. Just putting myself in their position makes me feel their pain. You can only imagine the fear that children, in particular, have in such circumstances.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 07, 2019:

This is a well thought out article and I agree with the points you raised here. It is easier to put the blame on what is foreign and history has many examples of past leaders who have done this. What is sad is we continue to rally behind this fear of the foreign.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 07, 2019:

Venkatachari, I appreciate you reading this and confirming my article with your fine comment. I agree totally.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on January 06, 2019:

A very great message and a timely one. I appreciate your points and the emphasis on the fact that it is not a foreign body but the own genes and mentality of some people that are creating all this havoc.

Our governments and the politicians (including the media) should accept this fact instead of baffling the public and inculcating prejudice in the society.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Hi, Paul. Thanks for pointing that out that Obama started the Muslim ban. As an outside looking in I miss a lot or can only only go on what I have read. I guess it doesn’t really matter who instigated it, just that it is wrong. And the fact that most serial killers are men..maybe men are just too sensitive and get their feelings hurt more than women lol...or something to do with testosterone levels. Yes, I wish we could all just happily coexist. Thanks for the great comment.

Paul Neglia from Poughkeepsie, NY USA on January 06, 2019:

Im with you on all of it John, except the piece on the "Muslim Ban." It was not Trump who start that. He maybe a knucklehead for the most part, but Obama put that in place, restricting travel from 4 countries and then his Homeland Security dept. added 3 more. I do find it funny as someone else pointed put that a majority of serial killers are usually male. It is a strange phenomenon. Nice work my friend. Dont get why we cant just exist.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

My eyes are now wide open, Clive. Yes, Bob Marley is the man!

Clive Williams from Jamaica on January 06, 2019:

You have been awaken John. And Bod Marley song is a must!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Hello Linda. It isn’t just the USA who has those viewpoints now Linda. Many in Australia and other countries have the same feelings. Yes, we are all foreigners in one way or another if you look back far enough.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Wow! Thanks for that compliment Tabouche. Some people are just afraid of everything that is a little different and believe everything they are told without question.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Thank you for reading Kim, my friend. Don’t think too hard...I find that hurts lol.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Yes, Eric you give some perfect examples. Your wife, and who without you would not have such a wonderful son Gabe, and that all children are conceived by a foreign body haha. Oh, Huey Louis you are oh so wise. It is hate we need to get rid of then all these problems would be solved.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

Yes, you are right Flourish. One of the major complaints against immigration or accepting refugees is “They are taking our jobs!” So yes if unemployment is low and there are plenty of jobs nationals don’t want to do, that argument at least holds no weight.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 06, 2019:

If the land between the Tygris and the Euphrates was the birthplace of civilization, then all of us are foreigners. I am thankful that 120 years ago we did not have such viewpoints about immigration to the U.S.

Thank you for a very thought-provoking article. Well done.

tabouche amin from alger on January 06, 2019:

one of the best I have ever read . Some people are afraid of the truth

That is why they believe the obvious lies

ocfireflies from North Carolina on January 06, 2019:

Interesting piece. Gives one lots to think about. Nicely done my friend.

Blessings Always,


Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 06, 2019:

I have a fun one - at least to me. Two cancers 20 years apart. First one without question caused by radiation poisoning from fallout from White Sands testing. Second one from things like Sodium Benzoate and the like in my foods.

On the other hand my wife is a foreign body - Immigrant from Vietnam. And aren't all babies the result of a foreign body?

Really cool stuff here. And as always great poetry.

I like your statistics -- yet it makes me ponder. Mass shootings by deranged as opposed to 9/11.

Hate is the crime that leads to violent death. We need a new drug that makes us not hate (Huey Lewis reference intended)

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 06, 2019:

You have to wonder what people are actually afraid of, especially if unemployment is low and we need people to fill certain jobs that Americans don’t want or won’t do.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 06, 2019:

thanks for your insightful reply Mr Happy. you are right about cancer not really being a foreign body but it can usually be cause by an outside influence such as the sun with melanomas or cigarette smoking etc and usually causes mutated cells and spreads as a result of our other healthy cells trying to attack and drive out the cancer cells.

Yes, how many artificial parts, prosthetics etc can we accommodate before we do become "cyborgs" as you say? An interesting thought.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on January 06, 2019:

"Our fear of allowing others into our country is understandable due to the amount of terrorist activity around the world which heightened greatly following 9/11" - Stattistics from Interpol show that during the 70's and 80s terrorist activities around the world were more common than since 9/11. I was too young in the 80s so, I do not remember how people acted back then but where they all hung-up on immigrants then too?

"The foreign body is not always something that may otherwise harm the body like splinters, thorns, cancer cells etc" - Now, from my little knowledge, cancer does not come from outside. Cancerous cells are just regular cells which undergo a mutation. They are still our cells, from our body.

"It can be such things as artificial hips, breast implants, hernia mesh and the like that are used to repair or enhance." - I have been asking myself lately, at what point do we stop being human if we keep adding non-human parts to our human body? Things like You mentioned: breast implants, artificial hips, perhaps heart monitors, hearing-aids, prostetic limbs, etc. Do we not become cyborgs at some point and stop being just human? Are we not there already?

"The white American male." - Here's another question I ask myself: why are most terrorists, or people who go beserk in public, generally male? I don't see many women going on a rampage. There's something about men. We got some issues to solve.

"During 2017, the U.S. in fact saw a total of 346 mass shootings." - Can't tell You how glad I am that I live in Canada.

Thanks for your article: food for thought.

All the very best!

Related Articles