Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Does the SS St. Louis Mean Anything to You?

I have been hesitant to weigh in on the tragic mass murders in Paris.  It strikes straight to the heart.  I saw many postings on Facebook why the world wasn't as upset by the murders in Beirut and Nigeria.  I've thought a lot about that.  I don't think that it is a simple answer.  Partly, I think that so many Americans have been to Paris or seen so many films showing life in Paris that there is a deep connection.  The romanticism of life in gay Paree has been well documented in cinema that we have a true relationship with Paris.  There may also be deep cultural reasons for the complete disregard for Beirut and Nigeria.  The "other."  The Russian plane alleged bombing we can clearly understand.  That story has flowed in and out of our consciousness, but we can relate to the tragedy.

Okay, so now we are five days since the mass terrors in Paris.  The news is still focussed on the lives lost, the hero stories, the investigation and the questions linger on....Now, there's much talk about the Syrian refugees flowing en masse into Europe.  Could a terrorist sneak through?  Well, you don't have to say much more than that to get the USA Republican Governors to declare they're not accepting any Syrian refugees, if they are Muslim.  Wow, how helpful.  How perfectly christian.  Most of these Governors that have declared blockage of taking in any refugees are self-proclaimed Christians.  Well, I have news for you:  A) that isn't a Christian act
B) it's not Constitutional.  Many have stated that we never turn away refugees, but now is the time.  We have to protect ourselves from all the Muslims that want to  come here and kill us.  

I get the fear, but the lack of knowledge and history slaps me in the face.  The Governors refusal feeds the hate, it doesn't help.  AND it isn't true that we never turn away refugees.  May I remind the Governors and all the people that the United States of America wouldn't accept, turned away, and sent a ship load of Jewish refugees back to certain death in 1939.  The SS St. Louis left Germany with about 1000 German Jews trying to escape the Nazis.  They paid all the money they had to board this ship and to find a new life in Cuba.  Cuba wouldn't accept them, so the ship's Captain tried to get the US to let them dock and disembark.  No go. "We have hit our quota of Jews."  So with few supplies left from their cross Atlantic travels and subsequent limbo, this boatload of desperate and terrified German Jews were refused.  What another great moment in American history.  So, Governors, we've refused mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers before.  We've done that.  We know how that ended, don't we?  

Look, I understand that there are concerns, but you can't possibly speak out of both sides of your mouth.  You can't say you are christian and proclaim that you aren't willing to help families and people in desperate need.  It isn't the "American" way or is that all just BS.  Recently, it seems that way.  Leave it to a Presidential election season to bring out all the hate and fear mongering.  Democrat or Republican alike, if you speak out of your ass before knowledge, you are playing right into the hands of all terrorists.  Too bad that you don't flip out when white American males shoot up schools in this country.  Oh, how you segregate and compartmentalize all the hatred.  Where are all the leaders?  We need people all over America to stand up. I know it may be scary, but somehow so many American citizens and leaders have forgotten that we are a Nation of immigrants and refugees.  

My head is swirling with so many thoughts about too many connected topics, but this is a blog and not a tome.  I will end with this.  I love Paris.  I will go again, but I will wait.  I think that we are adjusting to a "new normal." We may always have to be more cautious and more aware forevermore.  This is how the people of Israel have lived since 1948, and they have thrived.  We can too, if we don't let all the fear take us down. 

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