Brave old world
Growing up, I didn’t know any Jewish people. I barely knew any Catholics. Racism was incomparably more common that anti-Semitism. In college, I don’t remember knowing anyone who was Jewish, but I learned much more about how Israel became a state and read the Maus books about the holocaust. My friend (and former DC roommate) had a boyfriend for a couple years in college who did not believe in the holocaust. I thought this was laughable. Come to find out, his entire family was very German-Catholic and very anti-Semitic.
I thought of all this when I heard a report on NPR about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling the holocaust a "myth." He said it was used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes my stomach turn.
I studied in Israel over my winter break during my freshman year of college. Israel is a beautiful country from the hills of Jerusalem covered in limestone buildings the lead up to the sacred Dome of the Rock to the acres of olive trees to the windy and salty seas. But the people there are angry and oppressed. I know everyone cannot win. But, it is also strange when it feels like everyone is also losing. I have had more than my fair share of debates about this conflict, and both sides have equally convincing arguments. One that particularly resonates with me is the fact that America has chosen a side, armed that side with Nuclear and other deadly weapons and is coming in at the last minute trying to mediate with little creditability.
There is this other world out there. A world where leaders of countries don’t believe in the holocaust. Where people see little use for their own life than to blow themselves up for a God that has done nothing for them. Or maybe we are the other world? My biggest worry is that the line at Starbucks isn’t too long that I am late for work (that was actually my exact worry this morning). Sure those concerns are clichéd by every first person essay written by every freshman in high school, but I do believe Americans are in a protective bubble, and I’m a part of the bubble in the bubble in this brave old world.