I am a Jew. I was brought up watching documentaries and reading books on the Holocaust and listening to the stories of Holocaust survivors. I have always been taught that we must continue to educate future generations about the past to stop history from repeating itself. Recent events at Mount Allison shook me to my core and I have been doing everything in my power to raise awareness of the fact that people with these anti-Semitic sentiments still exist.
I do not support Donald Trump. Nor do I condone his words, actions or opinions. I understand that in difficult times such as these we look to find the root of the problem, someone to take the fault, so that we need not place the blame upon ourselves. This blame has fallen on Donald Trump and, while his views and political motives are far from tolerable, I do not believe we should be giving him the credit for this unthinkable behaviour. Granting this man the culpability for these thoughts and actions not only intensifies his sense of power and control over the world, but hinders us from looking at the problems that existed within society before his campaign began.
The first time I experienced anti-Semitism directly was in the first grade, when a classmate said he would shoot me because I was Jewish. There was no political Trump then, so where did these words stem from? In cases such as these, too often we dismiss them as one-offs, give a small punishment and go about our lives as if nothing happened. The fact is that these attitudes existed long before World War II and persist today. We cannot put the responsibility for decades of animosity toward certain populations on one man who has come into the political spotlight within the last few years any more than on Hitler himself.
We must face the realit≠≠≠y that the individuals responsible for the recent incident on campus were simply looking for an excuse to act upon already chosen beliefs, penalize them for their actions and take the recent election results with a grain of salt. It is up to us to continue to inform and educate each other about acts of hatred and their repercussions before they move to a larger scale.
It is my hope that we can learn from this and that this episode unites us as a community. As is often said on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day: Never Again.