Hate, Loss and Love in two days

These are emotional times… what’s happening in the UK and the US politically is deeply affecting me. It’s hitting home because I love so many things about these countries and it’s painful seeing that fear and intolerance are taking over there. I also wonder what that means for my own country which is dealing with some of the same issues and could take it’s cue from the US and the UK. We have elections coming up soon and I am very afraid for the outcome. Today, January 27th,  is Holocaust Remembrance Day and everyone says “oh, we must never forget the lessons of the past!” and yet the Western world seems to have forgotten already! I was reading a piece in ‘The Independent’ newspaper about Holocaust Memorial Day and the rise of antisemitism and xenophobia now and this quote struck me especially:

“The Holocaust didn’t begin in the death camps. It began with words. It displayed the most destructive of human behaviour – indifference, ignorance and greed. The choices made by ordinary people contributed to the deaths of millions.”

I visited Auschwitz this past summer, it’s one of the most sobering and heartbreaking experiences and a very powerful reminder of where hatred against certain groups of people can lead. In the US it’s starting already with immigrants, refugees and Muslims being ostracized officially now by the Trump administration, with a ‘me first’ philosophy prevalent and an attitude of building walls over bridges. I am afraid that it can not be stopped, I am afraid of who else will follow suit and I am afraid where this islamophobia / xenophobia and ‘me first’ philosophy will end… Now is the time to speak up against this, now is the time to try to act against xenophobia, before it is again too late. German anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller once said this…

martin-niemoller-first-they-came

I have been reading in certain places about people not understanding why opposition to Trump is so fierce right now, of being scared of that fierceness and wanting to give the man a chance first. I, on the other hand, can not understand why people of good will are hesitant to oppose him. After a first week of Trump presidency I am starting to almost be paralyzed with dread for the future by the words I hear coming from the Trump administration; I have not seen a single action I can even remotely support! I just now read the White House’s statement to commemorate this memorial day and part of it reads…

“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

and I honestly wonder how this statement rhymes with all the executive orders we have just seen signed in the past week. I see no love or tolerance in any of them! All I see is prejudice, the bottom dollar and ‘me first’. I ask you – which alternative is worse: peaceful yet loud opposition to Trump and his policies or allowing people to be ostracized by Trump and allowing human rights and basic freedoms to be endangered? I can’t allow the latter so I have to choose oppostion… and this is coming from someone who hates conflict…

January 27th is not only Holocaust Memorial Day, it is also the birthday of my father. He would have been 83 years old today, it’s the second birthday without him after he passed away. He dedicated his life to combatting antisemitism and islamophobia and if not for myself I at least owe it to him to oppose this hate mongering in any small way that I can. I still keenly feel the loss of my father but I am so happy he does not have to witness these political times, he’d have been horrified…

Luckily the world is not only filled with hatred… it helps to remind myself that I am blessed with a lot of love in my life! Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of when my husband and I got together.

25-years

The picture on the left was taken when we were a week into our relationship, the other picture was taken yesterday by our daughter. We’re definitely older and larger but we are still very happy together. With all the turmoil in the world, this love is something to hold on to even more closely as we try to stand up to all the harshness out there in the world.

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8 thoughts on “Hate, Loss and Love in two days

  1. Happy birthday to your father, may his memory be for a blessing.

    It looks like there will be a number of lawsuits against the most recent executive order (not least b/c they are enforcing it immediately rather than waiting the required 30 days). There are people in court as we speak. I am not sure what effect it will have but we have to try. I feel it was no coincidence that this was timed to Holocaust Remembrance Day, that is just the kind of cruel, evil parallel that people like Steve Bannon (white supremacists, anti-Semites) enjoy.

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  2. Hi Esther, Thank you for your lovely and moving essay reminding us about the Holocaust Remembrance Day. I will share its link and the Pastor Niemoller poem image in a comment to my post today rejecting the U.S. Muslim refugees and immigrants ban. It seems that we must be ever vigilant to advocate for decency by our government leaders and others, “or evil will flourish”. Hugs & Love! Grati

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  3. Such moving words, Es. Happy Birthday to your papa! And Happy Kissaversary to you and Marcel! 🙂

    So many of us are sick and disgusted and worried over what’s happening to our country. We’re standing up in what little ways we’re able, hoping it can be enough.

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    • Thanks, Ames.
      And yeah, these are very tough times. I try to remind myself of this quote when I despair:
      “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

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  4. […] After Gregory Peck and Richard Chamberlain I fell in love with a real life tall, dark, handsome, smart and caring man (and luckily he fell in love with me) and I’ve very happily hung onto him for the past 25 years… […]

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