I try not to let the current political situation intrude upon my blog (historicals are quite another kettle of fish). However, I cannot be silent about where I stand any longer. I denounce the current concentration camps set up in Texas, where infants and children are separated not only from their parents, but from teachers, pediatricians, and dentists. And I use the term "concentration camp," which was coined in 1868 during the 10 years war in Cuba deliberately. It was also used during the Boer War in the 1890's. Concentration camps refer to forced detention where a group is targeted based on their ethnicity or politics. Hence, concentration camps in Texas. Run by the Government of the United States of America.
It breaks my heart to think these children have no access to soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, let alone clean diapers and clothes. This is a prelude to diseases unknown in the civilized world--typhus, cholera, not to mention diaper rash, sepsis, tooth decay, heart disorders.
Every person can resonate to the lack of basic supplies. In my entire life, there was only one occasion when I could not brush my teeth before bed. Once. As an adult. And I was unconscious after an accident.
This is a crisis. No one should profiteer off a crisis. I call upon soap manufacturers to donate soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, etc to the camps. This is actually sound corporate policy. Eventually, these children will be free and yet, still want to use dental and hygiene products--they're remember the gaily colored gifts and swag bags they received which cheered them up at the nadir of their existence--long term corporate consumers.
I call upon those companies which engineered the Holocaust to donate equipment to the camps. IBM equipment and technology enabled the Nazis to systematically keep track of all prisoners. Shoe companies used slave labors to test shoes bound for the German military. Hugo Boss used slave labor to outfit the military. Surprising, even the Ford Motor Company used slave labor. Opportunity to atone.
Some psychologists are filing reports with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, as mandated reporters in child abuse/neglect cases.
I hear the spirit of Ann Frank screaming in my ears at night. The Franks, as most know by now, applied for asylum in America. They had relatives in California with whom they would stay. They had a branch of their import/export business over here. Otto Frank spoke English. And their claim for asylum was rejected. Ann and Margot Frank died of typhus, due to the unhygienic camp conditions.
Who wouldn't want people like the Franks in this country. They actually fit the current guidelines. English speakers. Had money. Could create businesses.
However, the term Jew at that time was synonymous with "socialist" and "terrorist." (See my prior sections on Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman). So they rerooted themselves in the Netherlands. The rest is history. Everyone rejected the Jews. The United States wouldn't allow for a kindertransport, although England did. Hence, Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
And now nobody calls out the United States. Nobody wants these refugees. Nobody wants to help their countries thrive so that their citizens stay put. Everybody equates being an ally with turning a blind eye.
In 1938, Roosevelt denounced the Nazi regime for demanding huge bribes in order to allow Jewish emigration. So Hitler declared, "Fine--any Jew who doesn't like it here is free to leave--as long as they have a country willing to allow them entry." Deafening silence. And then the troubles really began--no one wanted to raise a voice for Jewish survival.
The majority of these asylum seekers are from the Honduras and El Salvador--the two most lawless countries in the universe. They leave because their lives are in danger. They leave because armed gangs roam the streets and commit robberies and kidnappings at will. They leave because armed gangs roam the streets and execute citizens at will. They leave because they don't want to join the gang or want to leave the gang--so they leave the country, feet first. The stories of the asylum seekers echo the Frank's, who after breakfast, dressed, left the house untidy, and disappeared. If friends and business associates didn't break the laws by making black market food cards, the Frank's couldn't have survived for two weeks, lets alone three years. These friends who broke the law to assist the Franks are hailed as "righteous gentiles." In the US, those who break the law to assist asylum seekers are known as "criminals" and incarcerated.
As Churchill said, "You can count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else."
Let's not wait for "everything else." They are here. They are us. They are us. They are us. Is anybody out in Whoville listening? A Jew is pledged to speak out against atrocities against all vulnerable people. Tikkun olam. Gather up the sparks and speak out.
I wish to be like the Ten Boom sisters. Like Miep. I am sending packages of linens, clothing, shampoo, etc to the nuns who work with these unglicks. Saving lives should never be against a law. Showing kindness should never be against the law. Being a humane, human being should never be against the law. Where are the rest of you? Why aren't you as horrified as I am? Why aren't donations pouring in to the border?