This morning in the south of France, a young Jewish mother — not unlike me — got a call that her 30-year-old husband and their 3 and 6-year-old sons — along with another mother’s child — had been shot dead outside of their synagogue en route to school simply because they were Jewish.
Actually, it seems that in the broader sense, they were killed simply because they were not “white.” USA today is reporting:
News that the gun was used in attacks last week around Toulouse fueled suspicions that a serial killer is targeting French minorities, and not only Jews. The dead and injured in the earlier attacks were paratroopers of North African and Caribbean origin.
In 1999, at the Jewish Community Center in my Valley neighborhood, a hateful man walked in to a sunny Friday morning session at Summer Camp and opened fire on a bunch of six-year-olds and their counselors, injuring five, including my friend Mindy who was sixteen when she took two bullets in the leg for nothing she did at all.
On his way out he murdered a Filipino postal worker for being there and having brown skin.
I learned horrible lessons about the world that day and this morning’s attack brought them flooding back in crimson color. Blind hate is real. It’s real and it’s close by, and it masquerades under our noses every day. And it’s dire. Today, right now, entire families are being murdered on their way to school and gay people are denied basic rights for NO REASON AT ALL and THOSE ARE JUST FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.
As humans, as parents, as children, as people with loved ones — all of us who know what it is to LOVE, we have to squash this passed down tradition of hatred NOW.
Martin Niemöller (a Lutheran pastor who supported Hilter in his early days before leading a charge on the anti nazification of the Protestant church) famously wrote:
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up with hate in their hearts.