Wednesday, 8 January 2020

What does a 15 year old know about anything?

What did the 15 year old John Michael Povey know about anything?

Not as much as he thought he knew.

More than adults believed he knew.

So it was that sixty years when the Synagogue in Bristol, U.K. was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti I know that something was wrong.  So I wrote to my best high school friend Stephen Meyer and his parents to express my sadness and disgust.

Stephen's parents had escaped from Germany in 1939. A mere twenty years later they encountered hatred in England.

I don't know why I wrote, so I take no credit  -  it was just that something in me told me that something was wrong. (Maybe that was because I had spent so many happy hours in their home.)

They wrote back, saying that my letter had been like a breath of fresh air.

Sixty years later I am still in touch with Stephen. I last saw him in Shrewsbury, Shropshire about five years ago,  Two old men re-united and reminisced.

Sixty years later the venom of anti-semitism still spreads it's deadly evil.  So much evil is being done to Jews, simply because they are Jews.

So of course I was at the rally against hatred in Sarasota today.  We were of one explicit mind that hatred of Jews; discrimination again Muslims; and persecution of Christians are all cut from the same evil cloth.

We are also at one explicit mind that hatred of, and violence towards African Americans, Hispanic immigrants, and GLBT people  come from the same deadly thread.

My guess is that we were between 250 and 300 people.

We heard from:

A leader of the local American Jewish Committee (AJC).

The President of the Sarasota/Manatee Jewish Federation.

A Rabbi.

The conservative Black Pastor of a very conservative African American Church.

A Roman Catholic Priest.

An Evangelical Baptist Pastor.

A leader of Sarasota's Latino/Latina Community.


We were in the wisdom and spirit of Ben Franklin who said:

"We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately".

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