Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.
It is a grey Wednesday,
wild winds tousle my hair,
as I avoid the rain,
doom scrolling the daily news,
and all the daily views of my peers.
Many are lighting candles,
meekly making promises like
“We will stand with them”
but a part of me wonders,
with slight hope,
but a heavy dose of reality,
how many of them would stand up for a Jewish person, right now.
A few weeks ago,
I felt a familiar sinking in my chest,
that moment when you want to vanish,
when you desperately want someone to intervene,
except it wasn’t me.
I was reading the news,
called a “Fucking Jew”,
while those around her stared at the floor,
asked her not to make a fuss,
sent that sinking feeling directly to her chest.
I have been left wanting by well to do allies,
shrinking until I was small,
because nobody would stop staring at their fucking shoes and do something,
so I had no choice but to hide,
hoping it would subside (it never does),
she was left,
by the kinds of people who will light candles today,
when they are already facing the floor when antisemitism arrives at Waitrose,
to do it’s weekly shop.
You don’t get to say “Never Again” if you only do it for Twitter likes,
if you decry a resurgence of racism,
but do nothing to stop the spread.
It isn’t the kind of sickness you can wash your hands of,
and socially distancing doesn’t will it away,
it takes so much more than simpering looks of sympathy and social media posts.
If you close your eyes to the reality of racism,
slinking through our streets,
then your candle is just a candle,
and your tweet is just a tweet,
and you are complicit in “Again” creeping back in.
You are rolling out the red carpet and letting it relax around your shoulders.
You might tell yourself that you shut it down,
but it is speaking, so loud,
through your silence.