Defend and Protect
Epiphany 30 & 31
There is an old expression: Behind the man there is the woman, and I believe she was the great human being.” Maurice Markheim, a Nazi Holocaust survivor, said this quote while describing Emilie Schindler. Together with her husband Oskar, the Schindlers are credited with saving more than twelve hundred Jewish people from extermination camps. Oskar had joined the Nazi movement but then. Upon realizing the brutality of the Nazis, decided to save his Jewish workers.
The love story of Oskar and Emilie cannot be told without reliving the political history of the period. They married after dating only six weeks and, as the Nazis moved closer to their enamelware factory during World War II, were forced to flee to Buenos Aires, Argentina with many of the Jews they helped save. Twelve years later, bankrupt, Oskar returned to Germany and the two never again lived together as husband and wife. Seventeen years later, Oskar died in Germany, still legally married to Emilie.
Emilie continued to live in Argentina until homesickness caused her to return to Germany in her nineties. She died in Strausberg at the age of 93 and is buried in Waldkraiburg, Germany. There love story may not seem to have had a happy ending but for the hundreds whose lies they saved, they were angels, angels who protected and defended their culture and a faith.
Once known as “Sham”, the region became known as “Suri” and later “Syria” by the Greeks and Romans. Today the coats of arms contains a hawk, the emblem of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, as well as two green stars which are also symbolic of Islam. And yet, today, many of its cities are in rumble and its people are being bombed… supposedly in the name of Islam.
Politics aside and regardless of what ever religion, faith, or spirituality you believe or disbelieve. The destruction of an entire culture affects us all. While modern day Arab nations seem to contribute little culturally except terrorism, it would be impossible to imagine our current world without the contributions of such Arab nations as Syria. The fall of the Roman Empire in the sixth century put a stop on many of the great artistic and education explorations. One only has to look at the Architectural artwork and buildings of the early first century Arab nations to appreciate their beauty, detail, and mathematical prowess.
The current destruction of these cities and the culture of the people being scattered will affect our future. It may seem to not be our problem but when families of the world are being torn apart, it is our problem; we are but one race, after all.
American writer Alex Haley once said: “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” These two posts were delays by a death in my family. My family member, however, died peacefully in his sleep. He served his country by defending its constitution and protecting freedom and though I lament his passing, it was after a life well lived.
Today the island of Taiwan suffered a natural disaster and as I write this over one hundred people are still unaccounted for and many are presumed deceased. We have enough things in life that will threaten us. We do not need to twist religion and use it as an excuse to commit genocide.
I once asked a young girl about the age of ten if she knew what a humanitarian was. “Of course I do,” she said. “I am a human being so if I live like I should, I am a humanitarian. And if I don’t live like I should, other people get hurt. That’s just stupid.” Alex Haley agreed: “Through this flesh, which is us, we are you, and you are us!”
The next time you wonder why we are “over there” defending and protecting “them”, just remember Alex Haley’s words: “We are you and you are us.”