Sunday, October 27, 2019

Another year of hatred

By the book
London, ON
April 2011
This photo originally shared on Instagram
It's been a year* since 11 people were murdered in their suburban Pittsburgh synagogue, simply because they were Jews.

You'd think humanity would have long since figured it out, but you'd be wrong.

The massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue is merely another event in a long line of events that illustrate just how inhuman humans can be. We've normalized hatred, learned to make excuses for it, become adept at turning our heads away, in silence, lest we, too, inflame it still further and become victims ourselves.

But here's the thing: Silence accomplishes nothing. They'll come for you anyway if they've been listening to a particular dog whistle for long enough. All you have to be is different. That's enough.

We use words like "tolerance", as if grudgingly accepting someone else's right to exist is some kind of ideal for all of us to strive for. It isn't. We shouldn't merely tolerate differences. We should learn from them, celebrate them, enrich our own lives and the lives of our respective communities by immersing ourselves in them.

Instead we ignore the lessons of history. We allow xenophobes to occupy our highest offices, then do nothing when they spread the same extremist-baiting propaganda that fuelled previous genocides across the globe.

The synagogue in Pittsburgh remains closed. In any other synagogue, we wonder when some stranger with a gun will come for us, too, and where we'll run.

I'm under no illusions, as hatred touches us all. But for some reason, Jews stubbornly retain their spot near the top of the list of convenient targets, and after a lifetime spent looking over my shoulder, I still can't understand why.

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