Shlomo Toren

Apples. Oranges. Comparisons

A cartoon from before the Spanish American War. New York Journal 1898, Artist unknown

I remember that the hardest part of being in a camp was the hunger.  Of course, we were hungry, for, in reality, there never was enough food. The hunger would gnaw at your soul, striking at your very being. At night, we would dream of food, food that we had long forgotten since arriving at the camp. I would look at the comrades of my suffering and imagine their bodies shrinking, the bones of their cheeks becoming prominent. Why them? Why me? Actually, why not me too?  Wasn’t the whole point of going to fat camp was for me to lose weight?

What suffering and humiliation I endured for that goal? At arriving at the camp, the staff searched my belongings, confiscating my stash of salted peanuts and Mars bars. How I was embarrassed! And what is it with the cauliflower? Okay, every couple of days is fine, but why night after night? Why make us fill half our plates every meal with salad and the other half a lonely protein portion? Carbohydrates. How we craved them? We would shriek like Republicans just to see them.  Never again! Never again will I go to fat camp.

Now another indignity.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC , is comparing my camp to the detention centers in Arizona and California. How dare she minimize our suffering? In our camps, we experienced hunger, in the detention centers there are three full meals a day with as many carbohydrates as you can eat. We paid $2000 a week to be in our camp, but the migrants, or refugees, or whatever, stay for free. Actually not.  The USA taxpayer foots the bill.

Yeah, that AOC is one smart cookie. NOT. She also probably thinks she knows about slavery after being a barista for a year. I guess she, being a green, energy efficient light bulb, thinks she can be a bit dimmer than the rest. Pelosi evidently thinks so. In AOC’s light, even Pelosi shines brighter. As far as I see it. She and her friends, Rashida Tlaib, and Ihlan Omar, are full of pea soup. The new face of the Democratic Party? Maybe, but they all come from safe districts and they can afford to be outspoken.

What? AOC called the detention centers “concentration camps”?  Like the ones, General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau set up in Cuba when Spain was fighting the insurgency there? The Reconcentration Policy was an abject failure and over 30% of those interred perished from lack of proper food, sanitary conditions, and medicines.  In the end, those camps pushed the USA into a war against Spain.  That is how the USA came to rule Puerto Rico. Is AOC daft?  Who is starving at the detention centers?

Comparing the detention camps in Arizona to the German extermination camps where millions, literally millions, were starved, worked to death, and outright murdered? A bit much I’d say.  Pretty insensitive. Oh, and the second and third generation of those survivors don’t own the right to excuse AOC’s antics. All things considered, no, they didn’t pray in Auschwitz and Mauthausen for some third rate politician make headlines comparing their suffering to whatever indignities that those crossing illegally into the USA face. Heck, the second and third generation wasn’t there and their use of the parents and grandparents suffering to score political goals just doesn’t seem right to me.

Next time AOC, or one of her friends say “Never Again” and makes an inappropriate Holocaust analogy we should just roll our eyes and ignore her.  Maybe, just maybe, she will just go away.  AOC?  Never mind.

About the Author
Shlomo Toren has been a resident of Israel since 1980, and a transportation planner for the last 25 years. He has done demand modeling for the Jerusalem Light Rail and Road 6. He is married to Neera and lives in Shiloh.