“Sophie’s Choice”

| revcom.us


Editors’ note: Below is an excerpt of an organizing letter sent out by the organization Never Again Action, which we thought it important for our readers to know about. Never Again Action is a group of primarily young Jewish activists including descendants of Holocaust survivors, who have been on the front lines of the battle to close the ICE detention centers.

Last Friday, I cried.

I’m Ben, I’m part of the Never Again core team, and I write most of our social media posts. A huge part of my job is to stay calm and focused, day after day, while I read gut-wrenching, soul-crushing stories about what this country is doing to people coming here in search of a better life. Calm and focused, so I can put the right words in the right order to get these stories in front of as many people as possible.

Last Friday, I couldn’t hold it together. Just broke down. Because they’re doing it again.

ICE is still keeping families in camps, mostly mothers locked up with their children. These mothers have fled to the United States, risking everything, because they love their children. Now they’re trapped in dirty, crowded detention centers, waking up every day terrified they or their kids will get sick and die in detention.

Now ICE is using their fear and their love as a weapon.

ICE is going to these mothers and giving them what they call “binary choice,” but is actually Sophie’s Choice*:

Option 1: You and your child stay locked in ICE detention indefinitely. Hope and pray that you both survive COVID.

Option 2: Save your child’s life by giving them up. ICE keeps you in the camp, but they send your kid to live with someone else.

Maybe ICE will send your child to live with a friend or relative. Maybe ICE will put your child up for adoption, as they’ve repeatedly threatened to do. Maybe you’ll see your child again. Maybe not.

There are people in this movement who are alive because their parents made an unimaginable sacrifice, sending them away through the Kindertransport. Their parents stayed behind, but they got their child out of Germany, or Austria, or Poland, or Czechoslovakia, before it was too late. Other families stayed together, and perished. One of the many impossible choices that scarred so many of our families. One of the many reasons we say Never Again....


* This is a reference to a novel (later made into a movie) of the same name, in which the title character was sent to a Nazi concentration camp with her two children, and was forced to choose which child would be gassed and which would be sent to a slave labor camp.  [back]




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