Reading Wiesel as Protesters March Outside

I’m glad we’re talking about refugees, immigration, and what loving our neighbors means in practical terms. I hope all of this becomes perpetual opportunities for the gospel, the life-transforming gospel, not just some shell of good wishes.

On Sunday in New York, a large group met at the Jewish Heritage Museum to read from Elie Wiesel’s Night to remember the Holocaust at the same time other New Yorkers were protesting the US administration’s policies on immigrants from terror-watch countries.

“By the end of the [Rwandan] genocide I lost my entire immediate family, my parents, my siblings, most of my family members,” Jacqueline Murekatete told the audience. “As any child of that time, I witnessed a lot of horrors, people being killed around me and losing my family…but I was fortunate that I had an uncle that lived here [America].

She said Wiesel inspired her as a teenager. Night “became a catalyst for the genocide prevention work that I do now.”

There cannot be a 1:1 comparison between Holocaust or Rwandan genocide and what is happening in Syria and other countries. We live in a different world now. I could understand if President Trump were to say, “We are working very hard to provide safe passage to select Syrian communities who are being targeted and have nowhere to run, because frankly, people, we went over there and made a huge mess, a gigantic, stupid mess.” But that’s not his stance today for reasons that should be completely understandable to everyone. There are enemies among us.

But perhaps Wiesel would not agree. In his Nobel acceptance speech, he said,

Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.

7 thoughts on “Reading Wiesel as Protesters March Outside”

  1. But that’s not his stance today for reasons that should be completely understandable to everyone. There are enemies among us.

    The reason for his stance is not necessarily understandable to me. Should they be? And it’s causing my own children a great deal of grief. And it’s put at least one friend of mine from work to a great deal of loss and expense (he was planning a trip back home, but he’s a green-card holder and his immigration officer told him not to risk the trip. Not from a travel-banned country but with all the uncertainty it’s deemed to big a risk).

    1. I understood green card holders had no trouble with this, though over the weekend apparently people were thinking differently. Has he ever had any trouble from his immigration officer?

      Honestly, I think the uncertainty is in large part due to those who refuse to see where the admin could be coming from, and I guess that’s what I mean by their reasons being understandable. We have enemies trying to reach into our country in every way they can, and they appear to have already taken advantage of the refugee crisis to work in Europe. No doubt they want to do it here too. They want to do everything they can do, so we’re all in a difficult situation made worse by political pundits. Does that make sense?

  2. “I understood green card holders had no trouble with this, though over the weekend apparently people were thinking differently. Has he ever had any trouble from his immigration officer?”

    Well, that’s a personal question I’m not going to ask him. He’s a good worker.

    The President sprung an EO on everyone with no warning. Of course people who are not American Citizens, even if they are uber-vetted like green card holders are, have a right to be nervous.

    I wish so badly that I could be sanguine about everything going on. I can’t.

    I don’t want the President “ruling” by EO. Other Republicans didn’t either, until they got their guy in. Now it’s *great*!

    One of the many, many reasons why I am no longer a Republican and I repent of ever having been one. I just can’t go where Trump is taking us.

    I want Congress to make the laws. The President to *faithfully* execute them. The Judiciary to faithfully adhere to the Constitution in interpreting them. Instead, we get a Congress that only obstructs when it’s the other guy, and only bows down when it’s their guy. We have a President who may not even understand the Constitutional order ruling by fiat. And we have a Judiciary that legislates.

    On that note, I do like the Supreme Court pick. That was a good one. Credit where credit due.

    Agree to disagree. Sorry for being so disagreeable in your comments threads, Phil

  3. Drat, I forgot to answer your original point. How well or not well this new EO is working depends on which biased news source you want to listen to. Conservatives traffic in just as much disinformation as liberals.

    I know the guy. Lost all the money on tickets and can’t go see his family until this dies down. And he’s from India. He’s thinking of taking the risk anyway.

    Put yourself in his shoes. Would you leave the country if there was a chance another EO could come down that “temporarily” suspended ALL immigration? I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility.

    I’d stay put.

  4. It’s fine to disagree. Don’t worry about it.

    I’ve long thought immigration policy and procedure needed to be revamped, but I doubt all immigration will be shut down. The whole country would shut DC down. It’d be crazy. I can’t go with you there, and I think many media outlets are encouraging the wildest thinking on what Trump and his people are capable of doing.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have blogged about it, but I don’t believe our most senior and prominent media outlets are irresponsibly hostile to the president and are encouraging a climate of doubt. Soon none of us will believe any of us, and the media will start decrying how stupid we all are. They are fighting for their political lives and need to be confined to a corner until they’re willing to behave.

  5. Well, we actually need immigration as a country. Our economy needs immigrants. In my industry hardly ever even get a resume anymore of a non-immigrant IT person. I don’t know why – American kids aren’t getting computer science degrees anymore? No idea. But I absolutely depend on guys and girls from places like India among other places. They are hardworking, polite, extremely competent.

    Vast, vast, vast majority of immigrants aren’t criminals.

    Immigrants are being shamelessly othered by the current powers that be. Trump keeps conflating, for example, “refugee” with “illegal immigrant”. Not true.

    I have fears. Every well-designed authoritarian rule needs a common enemy. I fear the GOP is sliding into that mold – less and less about freedom, more about the will to power. Demonizing foreigners seems a fundamental step. This is not what I signed up for. I’m not an open borders guy. Want good, sane immigration policies that are based on facts. How many refugees have perpetrated terrorist acts in our country?

    Man, this past year has been brutal. For me at least.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent a bit.

    Regarding news outlets – the current tone also is very troubling. I know all about liberal bias – it is real. But so is conservative bias. A touchstone of authoritarianism is the crushing of dissent, and the gaslighting and undo criticism of a free press if chilling. Many of our people only get their news from a couple of talk radio hosts and one or two conservatively biased media sources. And from Trump himself via Twitter. This is not healthy. The fallacy has been that only the MSM (however that’s defined) is biased. I used to think that too. Now you have the President publicly thanking news organizations for being nice to him and publicly insulting and denigrating news organizations that haven’t given him the kind of coverage he wants. This won’t end well.

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