This post is about every depressing horrid world ending thing happening in the news and how hopeless I feel, and the Holocaust. It’s all bad.
Every morning I wake up from another Holocaust nightmare. I taught myself how to forget my dreams years ago, as studiously as others strive to remember. I can’t recall the details or what comes before, just the moment of waking. Yesterday it was the words, “It’s not safe to be Jewish.” Today it was the image of a big gray building whose sinister purpose I knew. I feel the Holocaust rising around me.
I am not the only one haunted. People are already dying. Two men died and another was critically injured last weekend in Portland defending girls from a racist assault. Another young man died hours after his high school graduation while defending his friend from misogynistic street harassment. A 16 year old girl brutally murdered her Uber driver, seemingly in cold blood. But these weren’t the first deaths of this new murderous era of hate. They were the latest.
There was the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June 12th, in which 49 people were killed, the largest mass murder of LGBT people in the history of the United States. Then there was the fire that destroyed the makeshift workspaces and homes of the artists living in an Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship last December. 36 people died from the combined forces of capitalism, racism, homophobia, and indifference. No gunman was required to snuff out their lives.
2016 was the deadliest year on record for trans women, the most likely of all LGBT demographic groups to be murdered, and 2017 is not looking better. Four transgender women were murdered in a single week. This was matched with proposals for bathroom bills criminalizing the public presence of transgender people (but especially trans women) in sixteen states, as well as the successful passage of such a law in North Carolina.
There have been nearly 150 bomb threats made to Jewish Community Centers in 2017 alone, to 48% of all Jewish Community Centers in the country, from Florida to Alaska. Preschool classes have been evacuated, again and again. Jewish people cannot afford to ever take these threats as pretend. Too often they are not. According to the Anti Defamation League, there was an 86% increase in antisemitic incidents in the first quarter of 2017 from 2016, and even that saw a one third increase from the year before.
The anti immigrant rhetoric and legislation have had real world consequences. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are choosing “low hanging fruit” like parents and taking their children to school, not criminal gang members to detain and deport, purposefully invoking terror in immigrant and Latinx communities and tearing apart families. The “childcare facilities” we are placing them in are ghettos and concentration camps, and the conditions sometimes kill them. If an undocumented intimate partner violence victim reports abuse, legislation that once protected them from deportation is now used against them.
There is more but I should not need to go on. We are not living in the lead up to a holocaust. We are living in the opening chapters. Trump has already been elected. He is in power. The brown shirts are slitting throats already and the GEO Group is busily constructing for-profit camps. It looks this disorganized and chaotic and messy in real life. The grand events only form a cohesive narrative and timeline afterward. I promise you, this is history in the making and we are living it right now. We are no longer in the preamble. This has started. The time is now.