Would You … Could You?

Something my friend Eric posted on Facebook today made me stop and think.  His comment was …

“I can actually see a future where some of us will be sheltering Dreamers, the way some Germans sheltered Jews during WWII.”

What if … what if you knew of a young DREAMer, say a student at a local college, working evenings at the Starbucks down the street, which is where you met her.  Would you … could you offer her shelter in your home if she were in danger of being deported?  I think most readers of this blog would answer “of course” without hesitation, for most of my readers are great humanitarians.  I replied as much to Eric’s comment. But is it so simple?

No, there is nothing simple about it, but still we say ‘yes’.  We say ‘yes’ because these young people have done nothing wrong, they are not criminals, and deportation in some cases would be a death sentence … in all cases it is ‘cruel and unjust’ treatment. We say ‘yes’ because we value human life … all human life … and because we are people with consciences.  And finally, we say ‘yes’ because we are better people than Donald Trump and his inhumane comrades. I do not make that last statement lightly, for I have long said that no one person is better than another.  But the reality, as I have taken off my rose-coloured glasses and been able to see more clearly, more objectively, is that yes, some people are better humans than others.  It is not difficult to be a better person than Donald Trump.

There is a 2016 Ken Burns’ documentary titled DEFYING THE NAZIS:  The Sharps’ War .

sharps“It tells the story of Waitstill & Martha Sharp, a Unitarian minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who left their children behind in the care of their parish and boldly committed to multiple life-threatening missions in Europe. Over two dangerous years they helped to save hundreds of imperiled political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe.”

defying-the-nazisThe Sharp’s grandson, Artemis Joukowsky, worked on the film with Burns and says he sees parallels between what was happening in Europe in 1938 and what is happening worldwide today.  “The vitriol in public speech, the xenophobia, the accusing of Muslims of all of our problems — these are similar to the anti-Semitism of the 1930s and ’40s.”

The Sharps’ story is a reminder that in the last great refugee crisis, in the 1930s and 1940s, the United States denied visas to most Jews. We feared the economic burden and worried that their ranks might include spies. It was the Nazis who committed genocide, but the U.S. and other countries also bear moral responsibility for refusing to help desperate people.

A Polish farmer named Jozef Ulma and his wife, Wiktoria, sheltered desperate members of two Jewish families in their house. The Ulmas had six small children and every reason to be cautious, but they instead showed compassion.

Someone reported them, and the Gestapo raided the Ulmas’ farmhouse. The Nazis first shot the Jews dead, and then took retribution by executing not just Jozef and Wiktoria (who was seven months pregnant) but also all their children. The entire family was massacred. Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 17 September 2016

There were many heroes in Europe in the last century.  Some died for their good deeds, other lived to tell their stories.  But they were all men and women who had the courage of their convictions, who risked their lives to do the right thing for humanity, for the human race.

So I ask myself again, would I give shelter to a DREAMer to keep him/her from being deported to a country they do not know, where there is no family, no support system, no life for them in most cases?  And my answer is ‘yes’.  Unlike the Sharps and the Ulmas, I would not be risking my life, but I would certainly be risking arrest if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents ever knocked at my door.  And no, I am not particularly brave.  But what better cause than taking care of people, helping them survive in this often cruel and hateful world? If I were not willing to do that, then I would not like myself very much.

43 thoughts on “Would You … Could You?

    • And I applaud your honesty! It is easy to say “I would”, but far harder when it comes down to the reality of it. In your case, you have children, another consideration. I believe, in the right circumstances, you would, because I know that your heart is big. But certainly it isn’t something any of us could take lightly.

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  1. Yes, I think history is beginning to repeat itself. I had a conversation with a British historian friend yesterday who has actually written to and tried to warn the American administration that events in Europe are extremely reminiscent of the fascist and totalitarian movements of 1933. He is concerned that WWIII is on the way. I have to say that it easy to spot some of the signs. Other signs do not hit our radar as our historical knowledge of pre- world war two political sentiments, land grabs and concerted efforts to regain former territories is low to none. My historian friend asserts that the European Union is much more than the benevolent free trade, benefits for all, peaceful enterprise of cooperation and is the main reason for Russia taking back the Crimean peninsula and access to the Black Sea. I visited that region some 10 years ago, and the Crimea is very strategic territory that has figured for centuries in military conflict. Control shipping there, and you control access to the Mediterranean. The move came as the Ukraine looked to the EU for protection. Russia is not about to give up to European (headed by Germany) dominance.

    Territorial wars for the last 70 years have been motivated by economic dominance without drawing out a world conflict, but with recent events, we are looking at the situation getting very serious indeed. People need to go read their history books. Blood will be spilt on home shores if we don’t.

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      • From where I sit … which is a position of some ignorance, admittedly … an EU army seems to make sense. So many of the smaller EU nations would not be able to raise an army substantial enough to defend themselves. But again, I speak partially from ignorance, so I am more interested in your take on it. Do your see it as a positive or a threat? The concerning thing from my perspective would be that the UK would be rather like the red-headed step-child, not a part of it and therefore left more vulnerable. And yet, as I said before, with nuclear weapons in the picture, an army almost seems like … me using my rolling pin (my weapon of choice 🙂 ) against an intruder armed with an AK-47! No contest. Obviously, I would rather see negotiation and diplomacy, but … there is Putin, Kim Jong-un, Erdogan … 😶

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      • Yes, the UK has been sold down the river, to aid in propping up the Euro.Not debated in Parliament and few MP’s profess to know of it. The UK has already handed over it’s nuclear capability to the French. Nuclear weapons are a confidence trick. To use taxpayers money. Cheers Jamie

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        • Interesting comment Jamie. Our whole succession into the EEC (European Economic Community) group which was only, initially a free trade agreement with the six countries who had signed the ‘Treaty of Rome,’ was negotiated by conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath without input from the General public. Two years later, in 1975, Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson called for a referendum on whether Britain should stay in this economic union. The people voted 66% in favour of keeping the agreement. That is the only time until the referendum vote of 2016, that the British People had a say.
          In 1987, The EEC changed to ensure participating members had border less trade and free movement of people. Border controls between countries disappeared.
          In 1991, The Maastrict Treaty brought in the single currency for the same members. The Euro was created as a direct challenge to the US dollar’s supreme position in the world. Britain’s conservative Prime Minister, John Major, resisted this mandatory currency and negotiated to retain the £. The Republic of Ireland did not and joined the single currency.
          The Maastrict Treaty heralded the biggest change to the EU community and the big member countries looked attractive to smaller (third world) countries who were willing to give up all sovereignty to gain the wealth of the community. (Selling your soul to the Devil).
          On the surface, it all looks very amenable but in deeper waters lie deeper goals.
          The creation of an EU armed force is not something that Britain could ever entertain… It breaks with UN goals for a united method to resolve conflict, it breaks with the supreme power of the US. Americans should be very concerned about an EU army…it is not just the sum of parts, to defend itself, but a gigantic force that rebuilds the old Roman Empire, complete with World Domination economically and militarily.

          Macron has broken the former governmental (socialistic) control of the workplace, (complete with early pensions and very worker favourable benefits). Now, individual companies can set the rules. It sparked public demonstrations over the weekend. Make no mistake, France is dancing to a German tune now. Britain is but a tiny country that has seen the coming Tsunami that the EU will try to unleash. I think she is going to get battered by very strong winds, but she is a resilient, tough nation, if nothing else, and will battle against all the odds.

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      • Very interesting. Your thoughts on Merkel & Macron? I have always respected Merkel, and I like Macron, but he seems not to be winning any popularity contests post-election, though I haven’t read enough to be sure quite why that is. Unfortunately, Trump keeps me hopping over here, and I am not as savvy about things in the EU/UK as I once was. Thanks for the article!

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        • There seems to be a bit of an unholy alliance going on in Europe. Prior to World war one, Germany had far greater territorial control. Parts of Poland, Belarus, Czech republic and other Eastern block countries were aligned by Bismarck. Indeed, Bavaria was bullied away from King Ludwig (a wastrel, ineffectual monarch). Many of these territories are/were Catholic and much of the territory capture was to bring those areas into the control of Lutheran protestantism. Very complicated alliances and strategies. There were rebel forces of course and eventually the killing of King Ferdinand of Austria (and marriage alliance with Hungary) in Sarajevo, triggered the first World War. Austria, of course, was not in the alliance of German control until the war kicked off.

          Today, we see a sort of pact of all these same areas agreeing to an EU armed force. The addition of Spain and France to this is significant. Both see there addition to this German dominated resurrgance as best option for them.

          Macron is an enigma for France. He has come out of nowhere…an unknown from a family dominated by physicians. He was born in France but came from Andorran politics and interestingly a banking background with the Rothschild banking group who do not have banking control in Andorra.

          Macron came in to leadership under a liberal, middle ground political agenda, but since taking power has turned ever more right wing.
          Since the second world war, France has largely been dominated by left wing socialism, so this is new ground for the French. Not everyone is happy.

          Britain was instrumental in stopping an EU armed force that will likely undermine any influence by NATO or the UN. Now that Britain has triggered Brexit (in June) Macron and Merkle joined with Junker’s call to bring the EU army online. The policy was unveiled in what seemed like minutes after Brexit!

          It is interesting to note that Britain, despite being part of the EU, never shared much intelligence with its EU neighbours. Only 5 Western nations have a shared signals intelligence.(ie.spying on other nations)..USA, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
          Trumpest has threatened the safety of that system by blurting out classified information on Twitter.

          As for Erdogan….he is intent on rebuilding the ottoman empire.

          North Korea is a rather clever little pawn for the Chinese to take Japan and other Asian territory.

          Iran will become the unsettling trigger in realigning Arabia.

          These are old historical patterns if one looks far back in history. Ethnic cleansing will raise its terrible head everywhere if we, the people are conned into believing there are threats to our safety.

          The movie ‘ wag the dog’ shows exactly how governmental propaganda works. We must stop taking sides and mud slinging on their manipulative say so!!

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        • How can you respect someone like this? For her actions are beyond my understanding. These people are all the same. Bankers and redshield stooges … They do not follow the will of the people. They are not leaders. They are followers of banker’s orders. Sorry to write.

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    • Yes, although I’m not sure about WWIII, for the nuclear option makes annihilation a distinct possibility were that to happen, I am definitely seeing signs that I do not like, both here and on your side of the pond. And you are so right about the lessons of history … too many people seem to view history as nothing more than stories about irrelevant events from long ago, but when we fail to remember the lessons from history, we are almost certain to repeat them. The Chinese believe that history is cyclic … an idea I used to eschew, but more and more I believe they are at least partly right. One problem is that, at least here in the U.S., the way history is taught in schools, and even in college, it is dull. History is so fascinating and could be taught so much differently (read some of Roger’s book some day … he does a great job with it), but it is almost as if the goal is to make it as interesting as cardboard. More than once I have been called an ‘alarmist’ when I mention some of the parallels I see between Nazi Germany and the U.S. And when I have looked at Turkey and Erdogan’s regime, though a supposed democracy, and predicted similar events here, some just rolled their eyes and told me to write about something more cheerful. I even lost some friends who said they were tired of my ‘gloom and doom’. Sigh. I think I will go watch the Meerkat video again now …🤓

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  2. Jill, this is not such a provocative assertion. Kristof’s piece you cite, should be required reading for all – this is what fascism looks like. Could someone send this to Jeff Sessions? Keith

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  3. Keep the lights and the fires burning Jill.
    The assumption that this under-talented, over-indulged braggart can actually survive in the real world of long-term American politics is risible. He does not have a majority just a very vocal and nasty wing of his supporters. Now History indicates a collision with the majority, because there are the mirror-image folk on the Left who are itching to play ‘like’
    Thus the ordinary majority will say ‘enough’ is ‘enough’.
    All I hope is that he will be brought down before the end of his term, because in the next presidential run, he will be buried; I could say ‘looking forward to the show’ but ordinary folk will get hurt.
    What is needed in a large sink plunger in the Whitehouse to clear out the blockage.
    Take care folks

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    • Yes, I certainly agree. Happens that even his own party in Congress are getting fed up with his shenanigans … but instead of fighting him, they are quitting! Three, as of yesterday, have announced their intention to leave, saying the environment is too toxic. I wish they would stay and fight the good fight. I don’t quite know whether to applaud them for finally seeing the light, or to call them cowards for giving up.

      I, too, would like to see him ousted before the end of his term. There are dangers either way, but I think there is less danger in removing him sooner, before he does more damage than he has already done.

      I like your idea of the giant plunger 🚽 but I think this method would leave behind a stench. 🤢 So, I advocate burning it down and re-building to ensure all the germs and stinky stuff is gone! 😉

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          • Well one wouldn’t normally bring up the topic old thing,🙄 but, all things considered these days… are you quite sure you folk made the right decision in 1776?🤔 I mean one doesn’t wish to labour the point of course………😕
            But since the old country seems to be intent on not bothering with Europe anymore, now might be a good time to forgive and forget…and all that sort of thing. Dontcha know?😃
            I mean we have got quite used to eating hamburgers and having those Barbi-Q thingy and coffee is quite popular these days and I am sure we could work out something civilised regarding The 4th of July.😃😃
            Hmmmm?😉

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            • Dearest Roger … you make me smile, then chuckle, then burst out laughing so hard that the li’l Boo (kitty … full name Booker T. Washington, but Boo for short) who was keeping my lap warm gave me a look of 🙄 and jumped off my lap!

              I told somebody a few months back … either you or David P. … that I was fully willing to admit we made a mistake, that we were not ready to strike out on our own, we had made a muck of everything, and would like to once again become a colony of the crown! Please take us back … PLEASE!!! I will even try to learn to drink tea instead of coffee, though it will need to be infused with a shot of espresso, for I need my caffeine, y’know. And I’m already working on the British accent, and thanks to you and David am learning some Welsh.

              🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves! Now … I might have a bit of a problem with the curtsy to the queen thing … but I’m sure we can work that one out.

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              • Send my apologies to Boo😺 .
                You’ll be ok with coffee, go into any Costa or Starbucks in the UK or peruse the supermarket shelves and you will see coffee a’plenty, (Right now, being 10:35am I am having my one coffee of the day🙂 ).
                And you’re ok with the curtsy too. Our dear old maj when out on tour is happy for folks to smile, nod their head and a swift handshake.
                (Word of warning only use ‘British’ when in England; some of the other three ‘folks’ get all particular about that- me I’m British-located in Wales, it’s my ‘thing’🙃).

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                • Somehow I pictured you as only a tea drinker! Glad to know you guys discovered coffee … I couldn’t function without my 12-14 cups a day, including an extra shot of espresso in my nighttime cups. You don’t suppose this is why I’m up ’til 5:00 a.m., do you? 🤓 And yes, I am a good nodder … I would gladly nod and smile to Her Majesty! So … is it a deal? You’ll take us back? And yes, I am trying to keep straight to always use Brit instead of English. It’s confusing, but I’m trying to learn my UK political correctness. My horizons are broadened by my friends across the pond, in all of the UK, certainly, but also India, Ghana, Australia, Spain and the Netherlands. Oh yes, and South Africa. I wish I had discovered all my WordPress friends 20 years ago!!!

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  4. I beg to differ Jill Darling. You could well be risking your life as once the Dreamer are banned it would give courage to Trump’s friends of the far right to exact retribution from those they consider traitors just like their Nazi friends did to those who hid Jews and or foreign airmen.Fortunately Canada isn’t too far away if an Underground Railroad could be started to get the Dreamers there. They have the compassion to help at least until the scourge of Trump is just a dim memory and the far right are back in their box.Two things to concentrate on are getting him out by impeachment now or making sure he doesn’t get a second term and no new Republican candidate takes his place.
    Good luck America, someone suggested to me that he shows many signs of schizophrenia which if true probably means this is just the first of many fights with him and the cowards who won’t thwart him.
    xxxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

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    • Perhaps, David … though I have long believed that if Trump is allowed to serve his full 4-year term we will be close to what Germany was in 1938, I keep … foolishly perhaps … thinking that our democratic system and the minds in this country that actually function, will keep it from coming to that point. Perhaps I still have a bit of the rose-coloured glasses? But … even if it should turn out that I am risking my life … at this point, what better cause? I have always said that when i die, I want to die fighting for a cause, and … well, this is surely a cause. On the other hand, my neighbors and friends, Maha and Ali, of whom we have spoken before, may themselves be subject to deportation at some point, and quite frankly, I made up my mind long ago that I will have rolling pin in hand and die beating off any who threaten them. When I am a friend, I take that responsibility seriously. Sigh. Hopefully it doesn’t come to this … to any of this … but if it does, I will do what I feel is right. That’s just who I am. Sigh.

      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

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  5. Hi Jill,
    I think the important point you are making here speaks to the US cultural instinct to react emotionally before understanding the implications of a situation. I totally agree with you. If this were a life or death issue, which it may be for some, would you stand there and scratch your head while defending non-action? Social media is great, we are all freaking Einstein’s. Your blog post challenges the meaning of compassion. I enjoy reading lovely excuses from people who support DACA but aren’t willing to help if it impacts their life. I will speak out for the dreamers, who have just as much a right to be in this country as your kid. I won’t forget. I’ll pay it forward, one day soon.

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    • Thank you!!! Yes, it is easy to say all the right words, but when push comes to shove, it’s a matter of ‘actions speak louder than words’. I think there comes a point in our lives where we must stand firm for our beliefs, be willing to put our lives on the line if needs be, to support a cause, whether it be civil rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, the rights of Muslims, or whatever. Otherwise, how does one silence the conscience at night in order to sleep in peace?
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

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  6. Dear Jill,
    I could but in my case, I wouldn’t. I live with a neighbor who probably voted for DDT AND WHO NOTICES EVERYTHING. I have had my moments with her. She would turn in my guest, faster than a speeding bullet. My guest would not be safe. If I could move elsewhere, I would be game.And I would do my part to help any such person find a safe shelter.
    Hugs, Gronda

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    • You and a trumpeter sharing a home … that must make for some interesting times!!! 😉 I know you would if you could. Keep this in mind … perhaps you and I could work together to provide a safe haven if it ever came to that? Who knows … I just hope Congress does the right thing … I think there’s a chance that at this point, they will. Fingers crossed.

      Hugs!!!

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