The Holocaust did not start with ghettos, gas chambers, and concentration camps. That was the end of the process. The beginning started with prejudice, lies and dehumanization. Today is Yom HaShoah.
It’s not exactly a secret that the AAPI community has been the target of numerous hate crimes as of late. The difference between the early days World War II and now is that there is hope that we can learn from the past.
During the war, as countries around the world closed their borders, there was one nation that opened her arms to Jewish refugees: China. Though the Shanghai Ghetto was dirty and overcrowded, it saved the lives of those who made it their new home. The documentary, Harbor from the Holocaust, told the story of the Jews who lived there.
It is during times of trouble that our actions reveal our true characters. The Chinese people and her government, only saw that fellow human beings were in trouble. In spite of their own troubles, they opened their collective doors to strangers.
The truth is that we can live with our neighbors who are different. It just takes a heart, a brain, and the want to see past the stereotypes.
I would love to say that we live in a world in which we are free to love who we love without prejudice or fear. But I know better.
Amy Harmon‘s 2016 novel, From Sand and Ash, takes place in Italy during World War II. Batsheva “Eva” Rosselli and Angelo Bianco have been best friends since childhood. Now in their early 20’s, they are madly in love with one another. But there are two obstacles to their potential union. The first obstacle is that Eva is Jewish and Angelo is a Catholic priest. The second obstacle is the German invasion and the fact that Eva, like all Jews in Europe, has a target on her back.
Angelo is doing everything he can to keep her alive. The only way he can keep Eva alive to send her to one of the many hiding places in Catholic Churches, Convents, and Monasteries. But she is not one to contently stay hidden until liberation. When they are discovered and forced apart, Eva and Angelo will fight to be reunited and have the life they have always wanted.
I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. I can only describe as a historical romantic drama with all of the heart racing moments of a thriller. The question of the novel was whether or not Eva and Angelo would end up together. From the first page to the last page, I was waiting on baited breath for the answer.
In the last decade or so, podcasts have exploded in popularity. It goes without saying that every listener has their own preferences. However, that does not give producers and hosts the leeway to produce an incomplete product.
The WNYC podcast Bullseye has existed since 2000. Presently hosted by Jesse Thorn, it was initially entitled The Sound of Young America when it was schedule of the lineup of college radio station in California. Over the years, Thorn has interviewed actors, directors, writers, and others whose work falls under the label of pop culture.
If I were to rate all of the WNYC podcasts that I listen to (1 representing the best and 5 representing the worst), Bullseye would be a 3. It’s not all bad, but it is not one that I listen to regularly. The problem is not Thorn or his guests. The problem is that it is not as interesting as some of the other podcasts on the schedule.