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Adventures of a Midwestern Jewish Woman Living in the Hill Country
Not Remaining Silent
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 • Posted July 14, 2009

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel is one of my favorite authors for many reasons. He writes darn well, has a lot of wisdom and survived unspeakable horror during the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews and other “undesirables”. He survived Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald and Gleiwitz camps. He echoes the sentiments that have rang true in my heart for the longest time: that the main thing that ties all of us regardless of our religion, color, sexual preferences, handicaps and other “divisions” is our common humanity. Wherever there’s suffering, it has to be called out – from the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories (of which the entire world is responsible for) to the suffering going on in Africa. Not just in Darfur, but in other troubled regions of the continent.

I read a book one time that talked about the theory of a revolution occurring in which dark skinned and light skinned people would be at odds with one another on many fronts. It’s a scary idea, but one that seems entirely possible if we keep going the way we are.

As Native Americans collectively still suffer the ravages of attempted genocide against them, Africans also struggle with similar impacts. The European nations hold large responsibility for the shape of the world today. We have heard of the struggles in Darfur. Well, let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on there:

Since the eruption of conflict in 2003, Darfur, western Sudan, has been ravaged by killings, torture, destruction and rape since 2003. Despite international outrage and demands around the globe to end the brutality, the deadly conflict continues. Darfur remains one of the world’s worst human rights and humanitarian catastrophes. Source: Amnesty International.

Note the global outcry! But…..

The situation is still a humanitarian crisis:

As the conflict in Darfur enters its sixth year, conditions continue to deteriorate for civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, even by the most conservative estimates. The United Nations puts the death toll at roughly 300,000, while the former U.N. undersecretary-general puts the number at no less than 400,000.(1) Up to 2.5 million Darfuris have fled their homes and continue to live in camps throughout Darfur, or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. Based on Sudan’s behavior over the past five years, it is clear that unless the international community imposes additional political costs for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s intransigence, his government will continue to buy time by accepting initiatives only to backtrack later or impose new conditions that render them useless.


So what’s this have to do with Jews and living in the Hill Country? It’s relevant to me and all of us because we are so interconnected in this increasingly shrinking world because of the internet and the global economy. Judaism, Christianity and people of good conscience cannot sit idly by and watch suffering happen anywhere. We have global social problems that require the work of all of us to repair this beautiful world and our brothers and sisters everywhere.

For awhile, I’m going to write about conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world, share the Jewish response, my perspective and some history and how we can help make a positive difference – tikkun adam which is Hebrew for “partnership with God to heal humanity”.

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