It’s happening again.

First They Came For The Communists

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

-Pastor Martin Niemoller

It’s happening again.  We see Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland and European countries are, once again, turning their backs on people.

No one ever learns.  Never.  Why isn’t the world outraged?  Why does it take the image of a little boy, dead, washed up like so much hurricane rubbish to move us?  Isn’t common humanity enough?

In the United States, people opposed the Irish immigration, fearing “that element.” Then they opposed the “Swedes” (which is what everyone who came from Scandinavia were called), fearing what they would do or bring to this country.  Then the Western European Jewish immigrants along with the Italians came to American shores, and they were opposed because, well, they spoke strange languages, looked different, and wouldn’t do anything with the opportunities afforded.  They were poor and insular; you can’t trust that element.

The cries grew louder when the Jews came from Eastern Europe, fleeing the pogroms and horrific antisemitic attacks they faced. The discord grew louder when it was Sicilians than it had for Italians.  Both Sicilians and Eastern European Jews really spoke weird, strange, unusual languages, were dirty and unkempt, looked even more different than their Western European cousins and were found repellent.  We can’t trust those people, you know.

It’s a common refrain.  It happened within my lifetime as well.  When the “boat people,” the Vietnamese immigrants came, we opposed them too.  For many of the same reasons given when our ancestors came over.  The former immigrants, now an entrenched part of American society, said the same things as their opponents did when they came over.

Funny how that works.

And in Europe, well, I won’t go through all of European history, just focusing on the treatment of religious minorities.  The Albigenses were slaughtered after being driven from their lands in France and elsewhere.  All for want of worshipping as the Catholic majority did.  They weren’t allowed into other countries, but were forced to the hills and later murdered, almost in their entirety.  The Anabaptists were likewise persecuted – by their supposed Christian brethren.  Moving into the 20th Century, when Jews tried to flee the countries in which they lived, few were allowed entry into “safe” European countries.  America rejected them too, but other European countries pushed them away.

As they had for centuries.

What about Rwanda?  Remember that slaughter?  What about Bosnia-Herzegovina? Remember those despicable acts?  We turned our backs on them too.

And now we see people fleeing civil war and the Islamic thugs who call themselves ISIL or ISIS or whatever, seeking refuge from war and terror.  And Europe turns its back.  Again.

And America stays silent.

We are judged by how we treat the least of those among us, the people who are weak and have no voice.  The poor, the racial, ethnic, religious minorities, our military veterans, especially the war vets, and children.

My god, the children. Those poor babies, dying and for what?

Because their parents don’t worship in quite the right way, aren’t quite orthodox enough or devout enough.  And that’s in their country.  In our countries, they’re dying because we just don’t want to deal with the problem.

Oh my god, the children.  Think of the children . .

And the world stays silent, refusing to let people in or, once in, won’t let the people travel to those countries where they might find solace.

We remain silent.

We haven’t learned a thing.

“He who cannot remember the past is condemned to repeat it.”  Truer words have never been spoken.

We will not be well judged.

History will rightly condemn us.  We MUST speak out, we MUST do something.

Look at the faces of the children.  How can we turn our backs on them?  Because their parents don’t believe as we believe?

We remain silent.

We haven’t learned a damned thing.

And, for that, we will not be well judged

Nor should we be.


About flatpickingjd

Just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Yes, I'm a liberal. Proudly so. I see nothing wrong with that and wear that label with pride. Yes, I'm a vegetarian. I used to be fat, very fat. Then I started taking care of myself, lost a bunch of weight and found it easier to keep that weight off by not eating meat. Or cheese. Or eggs. Or any good stuff. Man, I miss pizza. And, yes, I'm a redneck. I like camping and fishing, listen to bluegrass music and live (from time to time) in the south(west). So, yup, I'm just your average, liberal vegetarian redneck. Serious details about me: I make my living as a lawyer. My practice focus is business law, but I've dabbled in other areas including personal injury, family law, real estate, and water law. I also hold three master's degrees with plans to earn a doctorate. I hope you enjoy your time here, and feel free to comment!
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