Listen To Article
A family had lived in their home all their lives. Before them, their forebears had lived in the same home on the same land. The family, their ancestors and members of their tribe had inhabited this space for more than a thousand years. They had prospered and lived in relative harmony with other people and other tribes that lived in the same region.
The family, and their tribe lived differently than their neighbors. Their language was different. Many of the tribe learned two languages to relate to those outside of the group. Likewise, their customs and religion were different from those around them. In past generations no one seemed to notice or care. They were different but there was a reciprocal respect, or at least, tolerance.
A new political will and reality swept through the world outside their tribe. Others, with whom they had lived peacefully, were now hostile. The tribe, and the individuals in it, were blamed for the hardships that had happened to those outside the tribe. They were scapegoated and soon military authorities armed with dangerous weapons and official legal papers stood outside the family’s door demanding that they leave.
Eventually, the entire tribe was forced to abandon their home and land of their ancestors. They were coerced into living in a new place; one that was selected for them and all of their tribe. There was no legal help to be had. A democratically elected government had issued the orders and allowed armed men to force out the tribe members.
They cried as they left homes, land, possessions, and memories. They were in disbelief that duly elected politicians would allow this to happen. Many tribe members died on the journey to the new location. The conditions there were harsh and many died there as well.
This forced removal is a stain on the civilized world. Who were these people who were evicted?
Were these people the Cherokees who were forced by the United States onto the Trail of Tears and reservations?
Were these people Jews living in Europe who were forced out of their homes and into death camps by the Nazis?
Were these Japanese Americans who were forced into internment camps during World War II?
Were these people Palestinians who are being evicted from East Jerusalem and the West Bank by the Israeli government?
Does this parable apply to all of these scenarios listed above? In my mind, it does. It saddens me that the “good guys” acted the same way as the “bad guys” in each of these circumstances. I hope we take some time to contemplate this