Time to open my mouth.
I am not a political blog, but I find that I cannot stand idly by anymore and not put my two cents forth anymore. After not even being able to post a picture of me and my deceased father on Instagram without receiving mean and hateful comments, I find it challenging to keep my normally big mouth shut any longer.
As I write this, my body shakes with a multitude of emotion ranging from fear to anger. The past 3 weeks have been filled with fear, worry and also pride. Fear for my people and my religion, worry that we are stepping back in time to 1939, and pride because no matter what may happen, I will never stop supporting my religion and my country.
It is hard to find the words to convey how I feel about the conflict in the middle east, because there is so much that I wish to say. But for the sake of not rambling, I will stick to the one thing that bothers and offends me to no end, which is the label of genocide being attached to this war. THIS IS NOT GENOCIDE! Genocide is what my grandmother was lucky enough to survive. To those of you who are comparing the death of palestinians to the death of 11 million people, you obviously do not know much of the Holocaust, so I am more than happy to enlighten you.
They say you are a product of your parents, and that could not be more true. I was raised by a mother who was a product of hers, and I would like to think that she has passed the way she was raised onto my sister and I. She was taught to have a character that includes being strong, proud and loving beyond measure, and she got that all from the strong woman that raised her, my grandmother, affectionally dubbed Ruta by our community. While my mother is product of her parents, she is also a product of the Holocaust, a survivors child.
My grandmother was the strongest woman I ever knew, and no matter how tragic her life was, she would never let ANYONE suffer the way she did. She did not wallow in what was taken from her, instead she took her experiences and shared it. She made it her goal in life that no one should go hungry or suffer the way she did. I am eternally grateful that Hashem spared her, because not only was she a gift to me as my bubbe, but she was a gift to everyone that ever met her.
My grandmother was born to a Jewish parents inPabianice, Poland. She had a older brother and sister, 12 and 10 years older than her. Like me, she was the baby of the family. Her world was turned upside down at the age of 4, when the Nazi’s started their first part of exterminating the Jews, and raided their home and took everything. At the age of 13, her father and brother were taken from her and her, along with her mother and sister were taken to the Lutz Ghetto. They stayed there for a while until they were taken to Birkenau where she was taken in one direction, and her mother and sister, the only family she had left, where taken in another. My grandmother was now alone. Since my grandmother survived, I doubt it needs explaining what happened to her mother or sister, or what the direction they were pointed led to, but in case it does, it led to their death, the gas chambers.
I find it incredibly offensive when someone tells me what is going is genocide. You see, what my grandmother experienced, along with 6 other million Jews was genocide. Israel is not gathering people up and forcing them to live in rooms the size of a bathroom with 5 or more people. They are not marching them through the streets, and forcing them to wear a symbol that identifies their religion. They are not tattooing numbers on them and erasing their identities. They are not taking all of their belongings, their teeth if they have a gold filling, shaving they’re hair off, and melting it down to jewelry or sewing it into clothing or blankets. They are not forcing them to work and then starving them in hopes that they slowly die off. They are not loading them onto cattle cars hundreds at a time to be transported to their death. They are not sending them to the gas chambers before they even have the chance to fight to survive, they are not sending them to gas chambers at all.
We seem to forget these days how much weight our words carry. While the things that are happening in the middle east are terrible, we cannot try to make the event more important or make it people more aware by attaching words that mean something completely different, and in truth, hold no comparison. You cannot compare this conflict to the Holocaust, because it does not even come close to those atrocities. 11 million people that never got to finish their life, children who never got to grow up, teenagers who never go to experience first love, parents who never got to see their child graduate from college, and grandparents who never got to see their grandchildren be born. For all of these people that died in the Holocaust, it is not our right to take their voices away from them, and diminish their stories.
I said earlier that I was filled with a multitude of emotions as I wrote this, and one of those emotions I felt was fear. I was raised hearing the stories of what happened to my grandmother, from my grandmother. She told us of her time in the ghetto, in the camps and then after when she was liberated. My grandmother had a tragic life, and she suffered from those events till the day she died. I knew my grandmother always carried mental unease after the war, she often slept with the TV on all night, a habit my mother and I picked up from her, and she always slept with a bat by her bead for fear that the Nazis would come back, no matter how many years went by since the war. However, last year I learned that what I thought was a product of being in the camp, went much deeper than just being a prisoner. My grandmother was one of Dr. Mengela’s patients in Aushwitz, she was experienced on. This was something that only added on to the fear that I had always carried, that the Nazi’s would come back for me too. When I was a little girl, whenever someone mentioned the Holocaust, I would not be able to sleep for days. In High school, when it came to reading Anne Frank or Night, I was unable to do so because I would get nightmares that were so vivd, I wouldn’t close my eyes. With recent events in our world today, those fears return, stronger than ever.
This war started out because 3 boys were kidnapped, and after years of rockets being thrown at them, Israel decided to take a stance. It was a war between countries, but it has been turned into a war about religion. But you see, its not just a war anymore, its an epidemic. Anti-semitism is on the rise again, and I for one am choosing not to be naive about it. Being naive is the reason my grandmother and her family stayed in Poland. Reading headlines that Jews are fleeing Europe, that people are yelling through the streets, “Kill the Jews! Gas the Jews!”, is not just people participating in a protest or people standing with Palestine, its people wanting to start a movement, another Holocaust, and it holds more fear than some will ever realize.
I agree that Gaza should be freed, but I am not so ignorant to think it is Israel they should be freed from, it’s Hamas. We say never again, but now that the time to make sure that it never indeed happens again, we are again standing alone. What I wish for people to see is that, if there is no Israel, then there will be no Jews. Its that simple.
A comment on my Instagram might have been the final straw for me to finally say my piece, but I’m sure it will not be the last. Whatever one takes away from this blog post, is up to them. But I will take away this: It does not matter if you are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, we all have a right in this world to believe what ever it is we believe in, and no one has the right to tell you it is wrong. My father taught me to always stand up for what I believe and for what I believe is right. I believe in my faith, I believe in my people, and I believe in Israel.
The history of Middle-earth ~ 2/3 Elves
Maedhros was one of the princes of the Noldor, the eldest of the six other Sons of Fëanor. When Morgoth killed Finwë and stole Fëanor’s beloved Silmarils, Maedhros was the first son to take the terrible Oath of Fëanor to recover the jewels. The Oath took Maedhros, his father and his brothers to Middle-earth during the First Age where they established realms in exile, waged war against the armies of Morgoth, fought their own Elvish kind, and eventually brought ruin upon their House.
Driven by the Oath, Maedhros attacked Doriath to reclaim the Silmaril inherited by Elwing. The Noldorin princes killed many Elves and captured Elwing’s sons Elrond and Elros in the sack, but she and her husband Eärendil escaped to the West with the jewel. After the War of Wrath, he and his last surviving brother, Maglor stole the two remaining Silmarils taken by the Valar from Morgoth. But because of the evil deeds committed by the brothers to regain the jewels, they burned in Maglor’s and Maedhros’s hands. Unable to bear the suffering, Maedhros cast himself and the Silmaril he carried into a fiery chasm in the Earth.