Why Aren’t We Doing More?

So I spent a lot of today driving, which means hearing a lot about Syrian and Etrurian refugees.  I know this is going to be an uphill battle because Etrurian isn’t even a word.  Hearing what these people are going through is rough.  It’s especially rough because, while I didn’t expect to have a lot of sympathy for them; I find I do.  The reason I feel sympathy for them is the strangest thing.  It’s because I’m Jewish.

Because I’m Jewish I know a lot about the Holocaust.  I know how the world turned a blind eye to everything that was going on in Nazi Germany and how they were executing Jews, and Poles, and the Roma people, and Slavs, and Homosexuals, and Dissidents.  I know about the experimentation, the starvation, the forced labor, the humiliation, the abuse, and the endless, endless executions.

Because I’m Jewish I know a lot about how the Jewish people after the war were shifted from place to place as “DPs” who couldn’t return home for fear of “retribution” and who couldn’t go anywhere else because there was no place to go until Israel was formed.

Because I’m Jewish I know a lot about how so so many refugees tried to escape before the war started, before things got SO bad and were turned back time and again.  Particularly heart wrenching, although not at all unusual, is the plight of the passengers of the S.S. St. Louis.  These people were trying to get into Cuba temporarily while they were trying to get full asylum in the U.S. Cuba reneged on the deal, the US blocked any attempt to land there, and finally they returned to Europe where most of them ended up in Belgium, France and Holland where their refuge was temporary; some escaped to Great Britain to find a final, useful refuge.

I’m afraid I don’t know a lot about Etruria but I’m a lot more confident talking about Syria.  Al Asaad and Al Baghdadi are awful people.  They are the kind of people that could give lessons to Atilla the Hun, Stalin, and Hitler.  Al Asaad is using chlorine gas and indiscriminate bombing on his own people, and the depredations of ISIS are well known.

These refugees are risking life and limb, entrusting their lives to criminal gangs in a desperate hope of not being gassed, or beheaded, or forced into a war they don’t want to fight, or being burned alive, or being raped to death, or having these things happen to their wives, or children.

So I asked my Rabbi, why aren’t we doing more?  We are giving money, we are giving aid, but we should be opening our doors.  We should be pressuring our leaders, our congressmen our senators, our governors to act, to say “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”  When we were desperate, when we were alone in the world, when no one in the world wanted to help us, when the only ones we could trust were ourselves, we promised we would never forget.  When it was over we said Never Again.

It is time to honor that promise.  It is time to say “When we asked, you didn’t help us.  Now we ask again, help them.”

No, it won’t be cheap.  Good things aren’t.  No it won’t be easy.  Good things aren’t.  Yes our enemies will try to use this against us.  That’s why they’re enemies, but at the same time we will be showing the hollowness of their “morality”.  We will be saying “We will fix this, we will help you, we aren’t the same as you but once we were and we remember when no one wanted us, we remember when we were the outcasts, we remember when there were no doors open.  We will open our doors.”

Because Never Again should MEAN Never Again.

About Corelin

An Eve playing Fool who occasionally writes about the shenanigans he and his minions get up to.

Posted on April 23, 2015, in Things I think I think, Things You Should Know About. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is an excellent post . I’ll reply, but fear I won’t be able to manage to convey my feelings as clearly and powerfully as you have conveyed yours.

    Having now written the post, I find myself somewhat unwilling to publish it. It is political, blunt, strident and somewhat rude. Consider this a warning :).

    The events that happen as I type this, in Syria and the Levant, and in the Mediterranean, are some of the saddest things I have heard in my short life. I cannot even imagine how desperate I would have to be, to risk my life on such voyages.

    There are bitter truths that I now conceive: that for all our supposed posturing and ‘remembrance’, we have forgotten the reality of the the myths that we have told ourselves. Lessons that were etched out in blood have been ignored, Lessons that were embedded by war have been eroded. We have forgotten ‘Never again’.

    I am not Jewish, I am not threatened. These things don’t matter. I want to live in a world which cares for refugees with compassion , not with condescension. I, and my family, are lucky enough to live in a country where we will not be persecuted for our beliefs, nor punished for our culture. It is not too much, to commit ourselves to building a better world for everyone, not just for our children.

    The shameful, honest truth is that, in the United Kingdom, accepting refugees is a politically suicidal action. I do not doubt the moral fibre of our politicians. They work harder than most people I know, to represent their constituents fairly and honestly. They are not the problem here.

    The United Kingdom is, sadly, filled with people who are more concerned with us , and less concerned with them. To risk considering the plight of refugees above the plight of citizens is to be hammered with accusations of dishonesty and heartlessness, delivered by political enemies glad to have something to hit you with. These are all believed by the small-minded people who cannot extend compassion beyond their own borders, no more than they can extend the ‘value of Britishness’ in their own borders.

    Perhaps there is hope that after this election, who-so-ever wins might consider the plight of refugees as important. They will face an unpalatable choice: accepting refugees risks the strength of their government (which will no doubt be shaky), rejecting refugees risks losing moral credibility, which is something that is hard to come by.

    There is a disagreeable trend amongst more xenophobic members of the public to dismiss all refugees as economic migrants,on their way here to perform what might honestly be described as indentured servitude. While I sometimes write this off as an attempt to ignore actual refugees, I do recognise the facts of this argument: People-smuggling undeniably exists, and is lucrative.

    Compassion, not condescension, should be our watch word.

    Rob K.

    (P.S: You’ve mis-spelled they’re in “That’s why their enemies,”)

  2. Fixed that. Thank you very much for the kind response. This is the kind of post that is more than a little unusual for my blog and I hope that you share it with others and make it a discussion with your friends. The UK is not handling this as well as I could hope, and while they are putting a lot of money towards the issue that isn’t enough. There are two kinds of help in this situation. Giving refugees a home and putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound. Right now everyone is lining up with band aids. We need to start giving these people a home.

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