I could hardly bring myself to write this, but I knew that I must speak up and speak out.
Growing up in the Soviet Union, Irina in Russia and I in Uzbekistan, we were raised on stories of the Holocaust. We were raised on stories of our families being killed. My father’s family in Ukraine. Irina’s family in Moldova.
Throughout our lives, we felt this huge weight of people’s hate for us. Knives stabbing into us constantly, sharp and biting. People hate Jews. People hated us, just because we were from this different nationality.
For me, it was very hard to accept, to understand how people could have so much hatred, such a desire to annihilate other people based on something that was so basic, so out of our control. Nothing that we did – just who we were. That’s why they hated us. It’s very, very hard for me to accept why there is a desire to annihilate other people based on nothing whatsoever. Racial, religious reasons, they’re all incomprehensible to me.
Israel is home
We moved to Israel at the beginning of the 90s partially because of growing antisemitism, and it became home. It’s still home. It’s still a place we have families and friends in, a place we love to visit, a place with the nicest people in the world. It’s a culture that accepts everybody who is kind and compassionate. The people are warm, very open, and very warm-hearted. It’s the kind of culture that we attain to, where there is love and generosity and support.
Never in my life did I think it was possible to witness such terrible things as those we are witnessing now. It’s painful beyond words. It’s painful beyond any imagination. Beyond pain, it’s an impossible moment that I did not ever imagine could exist in the modern age. This kind of atrocity was supposed to be past us, like the Holocaust, burned into the past but not in our present, told as horror stories of our grandparents and not their grandchildren. It hurts. It shatters every possible belief that I have in decency, in fairness, in the goodness of human nature.
The cities in Israel that are being attacked by Hamas terrorists now are living through the incomprehensible. It is beyond all imagination. The enormous tragedy of families – fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children and their parents. People are being terrorized in their homes, in the safe spaces where they lived out their lives. A whole population shattered in shock and horror.
It’s hard to understand that it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong
It’s so hard for me to write about this, but the world needs to know. The world needs to see.
This is impossible to describe.
The pictures of decapitated children, the raped women, the mass sexual assaults, the people being killed and their limbs taken apart. It’s impossible to fathom. Children who are being taken hostage, begging with their parents on the phone, both of them holding out desperate hope that something can be done to bring them together again, but knowing that the odds are so solidly against it. Parents can’t save their children now. We all hope and pray for every one of the hostages.
At this time it is very important to emphasize what this is not about. It’s not about whether this land belongs to these people or those people, who is historically right and who’s wrong, who and when started this conflict and why. It’s not about that.
It’s about evil – pure evil that came out last weekend. This pure evil chose the way of terror, of massacre, of rape, of atrocities beyond what humans should experience and even beyond what humans should ever imagine. All of this should be long past, should be things our children will never know. When these things happen, there’s nothing that can be put right, only the outcry and the action to stop it if we can.
We stand with Israel. We hope that there will be a safe return of the hostages, the people kidnapped and in fear for their lives. We hope that they will not suffer and that they will be returned safely to their families. We hope that fathers and mothers, that everyone will come together again.
What’s next? I don’t know. I just know that there are people living through the unimaginable right now and that the more light we shine on it, the more we talk about it and write about it and share about it, the more likely it will stop. I don’t want to tell people to do what I don’t understand, but I do know that this has to end.
Evil in the world has to end. There is no other alternative. I hope the world will learn and will come together to stop this. The world must come together to stop this! Forever.