Friday, March 7, 2014

The White Rose, the Jews and Me

I have been thinking all week about what to write about Ezra Levant's trial.

If Ezra Levant loses, it is my estimation that there are many people out there, just regular people with opinions, who will have to think very carefully about what they write-not just about Ezra, but about everything. That's something that I think people just don't get.

Or perhaps they just don't want to get it.

Other bloggers and one major news outlet-the National Post, (and shame on the mainstream media for not covering it) have been doing a pretty good job of updating the proceedings so I am not going to comment on the specifics of the trial because anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I stand with Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn on the issue of free speech. I'm a free speech absolutist.

So I will offer some rather general thoughts about freedom and responsibility, battles and prophets and offer some questions.

It is disturbing to me that time was spent in a Canadian courtroom discussing the finer points of the definition of jihad and jihadist. I have been thinking about that. 

As a free citizen, I am entitled to have any opinion I want about such concepts, and to express my opinions on these subjects. Theological thread-splitting has no place in the secular courts. Again, I'm no lawyer, I'm merely a citizen expressing an opinion. That's my right and I do not need anyone's permission for that.

It is only in countries that are run according to sharia that there are intricate discussions of the meaning of jihad and I would prefer that it remain that way. I'm rather fond of the legal tradition grounded in the Magna Carta and as far as I know, Canada has no tradition of litigating or arbitrating blasphemy cases.

I have been thinking about Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn as they do a lot of the heavy lifting on the free speech battlefront. So have Kathy and Arnie and the Fourniers.

Most reasonable people would say-of course, but it is their choice to do so.

But then I wonder to myself, how much choice is there?

Two people might be involved in the same type of conflict.

One chooses to walk away, and one chooses to fight.

But how did their particular lives, and their particular personalities or talents lead them to these battles?

Perhaps they were chosen for them as well?

Two people can look at the same situation and not see the humour in it. One chooses to walk away from the joke, and from the joy.  The other points out the joke, and laughs, humour being the most humbling and natural affirmation of the human spirit, of human error and frailty.

Speaking for myself alone, the battles that I fight, either the ones that I choose, or the ones that have somehow, perhaps chosen me are important to me. Judging by the feedback that I receive, and conversations that I have, they are important and symbolic to other people as well.

I fight for the sanctity of human life. If you look at my Twitter profile, it's Mom, Jew, Special Needs Parent because those are the things that I live for and would die for.

I had a baby and was told-he will never walk, he won't know you, he is damaged, send him to an institution and we-my husband and myself and our families said, he is ours and we will take him home-to his home and we will love him and help him grow and be the best he can possibly be. As he grew, we were asked 'if you knew, why didn't you do something'. I fight that as well.

When I fight his battles, I'm fighting for other kids without voices, for other parents who perhaps can't say it like I can, or get to the people that I can get to with my words.

When I call out the Jew-haters, with their burning antisemitic venom running through their veins, I'm not just doing it for me, I'm doing it so that when my kids say to me "what did you do when...", that I have an answer for them. I didn't do nothing. I damn well did something. What did you do about the Jew-haters, Mommy?

I have an answer for that. I'm doing things.

If I don't do something, if I don't say something I am betraying my people. If I were to do nothing, I would be betraying the Jews that I knew and loved personally who have been murdered in cold blood by our enemies, and also the ones that I only know from stories, or through people, and books.

Several years ago, I watched a fictional rendition of the story of the White Rose Society. 

I have read much about the Holocaust, walked the blood soaked earth of Poland, felt the ghosts wafting transparently in the wind-swept Jewish quarter of Prague, and felt an evil spirit manifest itself physically on my body in the form of an inexplicable rash as I walked through the remains of a Jewish cemetery in Poland, mere moments after my father had picked up and identified a human spinal bone from the earth.

I have seen the photos of our friends from Israel, their lifeless bodies draped over their yacht in Cyprus after Palestinian terrorists murdered two parents and their friend, their orphaned children left to navigate life alone.

I've sent a husband on a flight to Israel to bury a brother, murdered in cold blood by barbarian Palestinians. He was a son, a father, a brother and a husband. His only crime was being a living, breathing Jew.

Although I am confident G-d will avenge these deaths, we living Jews bear a special responsibility to act. We also bear a special responsibility to embrace those non-Jews who walk as Jews, at our side.

It is a responsibility to do what you can do, not what you can't. 

We must acknowledge and thank and support those who fight.

The night after the screening of the movie about the White Rose Society, I couldn't sleep the entire night. I guess one could call it a strange "Spidey Sense" on history, but this week I have been feeling a little bit of that same anxiety. A mixture perhaps of the trial, and current events.

I am writing this to work through some of that anxiety, some of those thoughts.

The sun has been shining today.

The sky has been blue.

The birds were up early this morning and the sound of melting water can be heard on city streets. 

And this evening, with our Sabbath table set, with fresh tulips on the table, with the smells of the Sabbath permeating the house, I will light candles and thank G-d for another healthy day on planet earth-for myself and my family and friends, for the continued health and prosperity and longevity and strength of Israel, the Jewish people and all those who stand at our side.

We shall prevail.

L'chaim, my friends and loved ones.

To Life!

To Life always, and eternally To Life.