First they came...

I usually don’t writer personal things on this blog. It’s mostly professional, mostly about technical problems or solutions, things that help out folks new to the industry or managers trying to be better but the last week has left me heartbroken, speechless, scared, and worried. I am trying to figure out how to put all these emotions into words but it ends up just being a series of thoughts, phrases, and fears.

I am a Syrian Jew. Generations ago part of my family was in Poland and part were in Syria. My great grandparents came from Damascus and Aleppo to America to make a life for themselves. My grandfather, who recently passed and was given the honor of a military funeral, was a proud Syrian Jew. He fought with his brothers in World War II, where the Polish half of my family perished in the Holocaust. My great grandmother made it into the country a few years before the borders were closed. All that remains from the rest of her family are old photos and the dribs and drabs of information we have been able to track down from various trips to Yad VaShem and the Holocaust Museum.

I fear for my friends who have dual citizenship and may never be able to leave the country again. Their families who are also put in this impossible, tearful situation that separates people. Those holding green cards or visas with the hopes of having a better life in America. The ones who ACTUALLY have a life in America and are suddenly unable to return. What do I even say to those I know? There is nothing I can do to make this better for them in this moment. I simply can’t believe how many people are probably terrified right now. Thinking of all the parents making gut-wrenching decisions about their children and watching pictures and reading of these dilemmas, I just can’t imagine the pain they’re experiencing because of this person who is the “leader” of our country.

I am saddened at the world it is looking like my son will grow up in for the next few years and the affects that will be felt for years after. After the election, I watched news stories of swastikas showing up everywhere. I realized that I will have to have that conversation with my son earlier than I ever imagined. Explaining to him what a swastika is, what it means, and how that relates to him as a Jew. I will try my hardest to make sure that he grows up treating all people equally and valuing human rights but it feels as though my job is getting harder and those conversations will come earlier than they ever did for me when I was a child. And at the same time, as a parent, I want him to see the best in the world and know that not everything and everyone is bad… also something that is seemingly more difficult, especially on days like today when I find it so hard to parent as I attempt to deal with all the things I am feeling.

Finally, at the same time I LIVE in the DC area. My sister works at the capital, my husband downtown. We all take the metro numerous times a week. Will the people resisting remember that there are innocent people who live and work in the city? Will I need to start worrying about them when they leave the house?

I can’t imagine four more years of this. In one week, the government has managed to make me feel more negative emotions than I have in years. I’m afraid for my family, my friends, and our nation. Who or what will be next? What will the country be like over the next few years? We watch, wait, protest, resist, and hope for better.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.