…we are doomed to repeat it.
What have we learned? Nothing apparently.
My biological French maternal grandmother told me many stories about what life was like during World War 2, her second husband was a soldier who returned to tell about it, and human rights are something I am passionate about. I had no idea that over the last couple of days I would be reliving the exact stories she told me. Ironically it was just a few days ago that I wrote about a movie called Immigrant that touched me greatly. Yesterday I watched Twitter explode with protests and this morning I’m shaking my damn head.
What the #&%@ just happened here?! First it was racist rhetoric about Muslims having to be added to some national registry to keep track of them, then mass-deportations of illegal immigrants and yesterday he wanted to get rid of green card holders too! American citizens were being detained at airports, families were separated, hopes for the future were shattered. I watched in horror as it unfolded right before my eyes, and I was seemingly powerless to do anything about it but then I remembered something that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said:
So I did like millions of others and took to Twitter to voice my anger, frustration, despair and shock at this insanity. Seeing the entire world (to the exception of mindless bigots and trolls but thankfully they were few and far between) come together like that gave me so much hope that we have more in common than what makes us different. The truth is, without diversity in this world we wouldn’t have all the amazing things we have today. You love that iPhone of yours don’t you? Steve Jobs’ father was a Syrian refugee. Your other high-tech toys? They were most likely made in China. That shirt you’re wearing? It’s probably made in Bangladesh. And oh, you’re not Native American? Then at some point you too came from a pair of immigrants. That’s the vast majority of us.
Not only is the Muslim ban in itself incredibly discriminatory, other events surrounding it only infuriate me more. We all saw that empty brain Mike Pence at the pro-life rally didn’t we? I could seriously punch that guy in the face right now (and I’m one of the most non-violent people I know) for going up on that stage and preaching that unborn babies have a right to life, and basically that women have no rights to their own bodies, yet has zero regard for the life of innocent refugees trying to escape circumstances more horrific than anything we here in the West could ever imagine. And yes, most Islamic scholars permit abortions before the 120 day mark (when the soul enters the body) and under certain other circumstances. There is no single Muslim-majority country that completely outlaws abortions, yet the most powerful nation wants to strip women of their basic rights to their own bodies before turning around and calling us terrorists? I’m just about to throw my laptop out the window right now.
And I’m just getting started… Did you know that Trump passed that executive order on Holocaust Memorial Day? Adolf Hitler took power in 1933 and The Final Solution came about around 1941 or so, before the Nazis decided that they wanted to wipe out the Jews from Europe completely they planned mass deportations, much like Trump is currently planning. What Trump wants to do to Muslims, refugees, Mexicans and other vulnerable people seeking a safe-haven in the United States is exactly what Hitler first planned to do to the Jews. When that didn’t work killing factories like Auschwitz (among many others) came into operation. On days like this I thank God that America does not have a totalitarian government and that the Supreme Court has blocked this order, at least for the time being, but I think the damage has already been done.
The White House deliberately omitted mentioning the Jews in their Holocaust address, and they sure don’t want to hear the stories of Muslims who saved Jews either. You can view more stories on the Yad Vashem website, and for that matter, some Nazis even saved Jews! We all know about Oskar Schindler but there’s also Gerhard Kurzbach, an SS officer only known as Alois, and Major Karl Plagge, among many others. We also all know the story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who has captured the hearts of the world with her journal entries during the Holocaust, but what many ignore is that she could still be alive and living in the United States has it not been for turning away refugees escaping the Nazis.
Have we learned nothing? Have we really let the world come back to this? The American people were once people I had the utmost respect for, now I question how such a great nation could elect someone as vile as Donald Trump. I’m Canadian, I was born here, but my entire family, both the biological one and the adoptive one, were once immigrants to this nation. My maternal grandmother’s family came here after WWI destroyed France and my paternal grandfather’s family arrived after WWII destroyed German. The people of Russian heritage who adopted me came to escape the totalitarian and brutal Soviet regime. People have more rights and freedoms than ever so how did it come to this?
The scary thing is that people loved Hitler too. So where is our Oskar Schindler in all of this? His name is Justin Trudeau. He’s my prime minister. He’s my hero. He’s my hope for the future. Even now I am still baffled and will probably be for a very long time. I am just a bit older now than my grandma was during WWII and like her, I will be able to tell future generations that I witnessed a tyrant rise to power, his regime falling, and heroes coming from all walks of life. What will be different in my story is that we will not have let the oppressors carry out their plans.
I still don’t know what the future will hold, and my grandma told me yesterday that WWIII could still start tomorrow, but yesterday’s despair has been replaced with hope. I suppose this won’t be the last time I write about this subject, but for now my tears are clouding up my view of the screen too much to continue.
In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. ~Anne Frank