There was a time, at one point during the past eight months, when it felt like, just maybe, humanity was on the same side.
There was a common enemy to unite against — a virus, a spawn of nature, a mutation that targeted humans regardless of their colour or creed.
Members of the human race downed their weapons and silenced their hate. They were united, even if it was out of fear.
But not even a pandemic can unite forever. A global war against a collection of bacteria can only mitigate the hate that humans seem to have for one another for so long.
The night before Austria embarked on a new onslaught against the infamous virus, an attack was raged against its own people. While the virus cared not which god its victims prayed to, the perpetrators did. They positioned themselves at a location where those who wore skullcaps and uttered Hebrew prayers practised their faith, and sought to transfer the fear of a deadly disease to a fatal virus of a different nature — anti-Semitism.
As Austria enters yet another lockdown to curb the dreaded COVID-19, the Jews of Vienna will be staying home for an additional reason. Their doors will be locked and their schools and places of worship closed to keep them safe, to prevent any more casualties within a people who have known the consequences of hate for centuries.
The world has experienced a year that no one could have predicted, where “the new normal” is a term and lifestyle with which all are trying to grapple. For the Jews of the world, there seems to be nothing new about the incidents of hate and trauma that have continued to rage. It never seems to stop, does it? Not even in a pandemic where humanity has a common enemy.