My poor white friends turned to Trump (“it’s about time we were seen”), my white liberal friends turned to something else (“the world is ending”), my black friends turned to protest (“we have been here before”), and my undocumented students turned to sleeping in my office. But we shouldn’t turn inward, we must build broader communities.
On the occasion of his death, Kali Rubaii remembers the time she met Elie Wiesel and explains how his work led her to work for Palestinian freedom, even if Wiesel himself would never join her, “We are given the stories we are given. I was given the Holocaust first, the Nakba second. It is the way Palestine came to me, it is how Handala and I were introduced. Elie Wiesel cannot stop that. I cannot change that. It is my duty to recognize and act upon the memories that prepare me for the present, even if the arbiters of those memories are unwilling. ‘To forget is a crime,’ he insisted. So I remember. And so we much act.”