Last night I woke from a mysterious dream whose meaning eluded me. So discomforting was the dream that I sat up, certain it was real. In it, I was in my bathroom, holding a cotton swab which I presently inserted into my ear. After a gentle twist, I pulled the swab out -- only to discover that the tip was covered with shit.
The depth of my respect for you only increases. And not only because of my Israeli niece, or her beautiful family living in bunkers, or that I understood the Yiddish vernacular I grew up adjacent to. Or that I love my Jewish nieces and my beautiful grandnephews and grandniece with my whole heart.
Let’s all agree without one caveat: enough of all the shite speak - and that the killers of noncombatants, let alone of children and grandmothers can go fuck themselves. There is no hiding place left on earth for them. There should be no quarter for them or any other murderers in any corner of the world.
I loved this essay when I first read it on LitHub, and I love it even more today amidst the horrors piling up… The addendum is regrettably no laughing matter. Yours is the voice and the attitude we need. Or at least I do. Thank you.
"I’m sick of the bastard Few, in the Middle East and all around the world, now and in the past and in the future, whose incurable madness condemns us." Me too, Shalom. As an American, I am crucially aware that we cannot all be painted with the same brush. I admired your first-hand reporting.
Always the Few isn't it? Grinding the lives of the Many into shit. That old cliché holds true that those who seek power really shouldn't be trusted with it.
I just want you to know I sit here writing through tears because I just cannot take the brutality happening everywhere. Not just in Israel and Gaza but in comments all over social media. The inability to have nuanced conversations and to feel utterly heartbroken for every innocent person caught up in this mess is just exhausting and disheartening to a degree that is hard to manage. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for writing this. I wrote that twice on purpose. This helped so much. Wishing you peace. And wishing peace for all of us.
You somehow got to the heart of it. I must be naive, I often think, to believe that people could just support one another. Humor is the avenue to enlightenment. It’s difficult to hate or kill someone if you’re making laughter with them.
Best thing I've ever read about this situation. Thank you, Shalom.
I appreciated this on such a deep level. Confession puts us all back into a place of humility and shared experience. It brings down the walls so we can hear each other. Thank you
Thank you for this beautiful, nuanced, humane piece. If only the world had a sliver of what you display, we would all be in a much better place.
Unlike you, I consume “the news” all the time from what I consider trusted sources. A few days after this horrific incident in Israel, I had to take a break for my own mental health. A week later, when I tuned back in, the news outlets were saying the same things as before. Showing the same footage. Continuing to walk a tightrope of public opinion. I expected more (my first mistake) considering their extensive presence in the area. I expected the videos you showed which provide more nuance and perspective.
PS: If your Q-Tip comes out with shit on the tip, you’ve gone too deep. The news media would never make that mistake.
I hope your columns will be collected as a book of essays one day soon. Are you familiar with Narrative Four and Colum McCann?
Please check them out. I really love you Shalom. Please keep writing. Take care.
THE MAJORITY WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE. Yet the few force trouble onto the rest. To get beyond our selfish prejudice against another group of people, we need to develop empathy by becoming familiar with the other, and by learning to reject hatreds held by preceding generations. Shalom Auslander's personal essay effectively advocates for intolerance for warmongers in Israel and beyond.
I should have written: be the prey of the Nazi occupant and the French police - as the French State actively helped the Nazis arrest and deport to death camps their fellow French citizens, because their were Jewish. Mea culpa...
Nothing to brag about on social media really.
Moved to tears...
When the word « animals » is used to qualify other human beings it tends to end up in tragedy. Isn’t it what sent millions of Jews to death camps ? Why entire families were butchered in their homes by Hamas ?
And the never ending cycle of mistrust, hate, death and revenge keeps going, growing, nurturing itself with more violence.
And I feel so powerless. Who am I for even having an opinion ? No family, no links with the region, no expertise, no nothing.
Just that belief that we are all human beings. Sometimes generous, heroic, good, sometimes heinous and barbaric.
In my country, France, during WWII some people had to make a choice: protect, hide their Jewish neighbors and take a huge risk themselves or close their doors in indifference and fear, leaving them to be the prey of the Nazi occupants.
Few were heroic and did the right thing, they are remembered as « Les Justes », some actively helped the Nazis, « Les collabos », the vast majority did nothing special, just looked the other way.
I always have this terrible anguish, what would I have done?
I loved this. Really on point. And what I needed to help not feel the ground is breaking under us all. Thank you for writing this 🌟
I loved reading all of this, and learning more about you. Thank you very much. 🙌