Given current events in America involving refugees at the United States Border, I have been rattled to put it lightly. Being put in cages strikes a horrific nerve. A genocidal fear that was instilled in me while growing up as a Jew in America. My family and Hebrew School taught me it was not a matter of if there would be another genocide involving Jews. It was a matter of when.
When Donald Trump became president of the United States, I had a social media meltdown. I lost my mind and started post-doomsday level statuses. It was horrific that a man who so clearly adhered to Fascism had become the leader of the Executive Branch. I feared the worst, and in doing so, posted that I foresaw a new Holocaust on the horizon. Admittedly, I was guilty of using strong language such as "The Jewish people have forgotten"
At the time, the supporters of Trump that I knew talked down to me like I was a spoiled child. They reminded me that it was liberals that caused the Holocaust. After all, the Nazis were called National Socialists and Socialists were in line with the Communist Liberals. I ignored the fact that these people did not know their terms or history at all since I was so enraged.
Incidentally enough, many of my friend and family who voted against Trump told me that I was in the wrong too. "It won't happen here" I was assured by family and friends. The United States will not allow this sort of hate to spread. Oh, how I wish they had been wrong.
Fast forward to today, and we have children being locked in cages. We also most recently have had a push for due process of the law to be abolished. This last part is what scares me the most. For now, its only one group of undesirable that is being rounded up. But with no way for people who are captured to defend themselves in court, I imagine it is only a matter of time.
This leads to the conversation I had with my family. Crying and upset in equal amounts, I straight up had the "I told you so" conversation with them. For a change, they did not argue the point and agreed it was very concerning. Luckily, my family has kept their head in the game a bit better than I have. I was reminded that though things are bad now, we have a chance to fix them this year. However, given that the rounding up has begun, they cautioned and agreed that there may come a time where running might be needed. Notably, the moment that current citizens of the United States are seized and their rights as a member of our country are stripped away, that will be the time to run.
However, I fear that this time might come soon. While the Far Right is distracted by the word Socialist, they are embracing the word that the N in Nazi stands for - Nationalism. This idea that where you are born makes you superior is a key factor that allows for genocide. This "animals" labeling invokes thing theory. Once Humans are stripped of that title, there is all manner of horror that can commence. Should this occur and undesirables began to be put in cages, I will consider running away.
Sadly, I do not know where to flee. Liberal America is not kind to Jews because of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Europe poses the same problem. I personally do not think I am capable of assimilating into any of the different cultures in East or Central Asia. Israel might be my best option. But there are serious problems in Israel. Given that my beliefs run contrary to Orthodox Judaism, I may not be considered a Jew at all. Judaism makes me living somewhere in Africa impossible. That leaves potentially Australia as one of the only remaining safe havens. And this country still poses many of the same hurdles as Europe.
For those wondering why I did not list Canada or Central America, the answer is simple. They are too close to the United States. Many Jews that fled Germany ended up in France. This did not end well for them. If America starts a war, Canada is the most logical country to attack first. Especially considering the countries' Prime Minister has stood up to Trump multiple times.
One other point I must make is that there are Jews within my friend circle even now in denial about this. Every day, I can simply log onto Facebook and watch them display their ignorance. Such notable examples include a person who posted that "Comparing this crisis to the Holocaust was an insult to the survivors." To throw salt further on this post, many individuals brought counterpoints that the survivors of the Holocaust were among the most vocal ones claiming that genocide was on the horizon. Once this evidence was brought to the table, the original poster as well as those on their side moved the goalpost and proclaimed: "Just because they survived the Holocaust does not make them eligible to identify whether this is the same"
Newsflash: Yes it does! Second Newsflash: There were many Jews that voted for Hitler. There were also many Jews that voted for Trump. The Jews in both groups tend to believe the same things. And just like what Hitler did to these Nazi supporter Jews, once Trump no longer needs them, they will be discarded.
I'll end this with my own version of a very famous poem about why standing by in the face of genocide is deadly:
They came for the asylum seekers and I did not care because I was not an asylum seeker.
They came for the illegal immigrants and I did not care because I was not an illegal immigrant.
They came for the Latinos and I did not care because I was not a Latino
They came for the Muslims and I did not care because I was not a Muslim.
They came for the mentally ill, and at that stage, they got me, because I am considered mentally ill.
They came for the Jews and they would have nabbed me then, but I was already dead.