Tonight is the beginning of Holocaust Memorial Day. Joey is silent.
The Holocaust—the systematic murder of Jews by German Nazis and their allies—inspired the promise, “Never again.” As the late Susan Sontag observed, it is an empty promise. It means only that “never again” will European Jews be murdered en masse by Nazis in the 1940s. Mass murders of other people, in other places, have been carried out since, and continue.
Our country can’t (or won’t) stop the killing. But our country, the world’s richest, the third largest (after Russia and Canada), and the third most populous (after China and India), can absorb lots of people who flee persecution. Offering refuge doesn’t require us to go to war, nor to sacrifice. We just have to share a little.
But we barely share at all. People can’t request asylum unless they physically arrive in the U.S.—which is impossible for most people fleeing persecution. The current U.S. president has capped this fiscal year’s quota of refugees (carefully screened and processed abroad) at 50,000—an insigificant number in a country of 320 million—and he tried to suspend all refugee admissions, and bar Syrian refugees entirely.
I am a United States citizen. Today and every day, I am ashamed of what the U.S. president says about refugees and asylum applicants, and what he does to refugees and asylum applicants, in my name.
A partial summary of the day, in pictures.
Above are fallen rocks, and rocks about to fall. Note the hat on one fallen block, for scale.
Perhaps they’re tourist traps. But everyone has to make a living.
Eerie remnants of a tourist trap for sale. Arizona horses. Dust kicked up by today’s 25-35 mph headwind.
The winds were so powerful and dangerous that after pedaling 49 miles to Chambers, AZ, we loaded everything in the truck and George (seen below) took us on a tour of the nearby Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. George knows plants, animals, fossils, and geology. His comments added a lot to the spectcular sights. After we emerged from the park’s southern entrance, I pedaled another 16 miles to Holbrook, the day’s destination.