Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

I am not married to my opinions

In a gesture intended as a shield against the rise of authoritarianism, I cast my vote for Lula, hoping his leadership would guide Brazil away from the shadow of fascism. This shadow loomed large around Bolsonaro. Yet, Lula’s recent remarks, drawing parallels between the plight of the Palestinian people and the Shoah, have led to a profound reevaluation of that decision. It’s important to state I am not married to my opinions. I voted against fascism, but today, I understand that my vote went to someone who now appears to harbor antisemitic sentiments, and for that reason, he no longer deserves my vote or respect.

Comparing the Shoah’s unparalleled atrocities, where six million Jews were annihilated with chilling efficiency, to any other conflict showcases not just an error in historical judgment on Lula’s part. It reveals a descent into insensitivity that trivializes the agony and losses suffered, not just in the Shoah but in all acts of genocide marked by their sheer brutality and the profound pain they inflicted.

The Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, the Rwandan Tutsi massacre, and the Khmer Rouge’s systematic destruction in Cambodia are all harrowing chapters of history, evidencing humanity’s capacity for unspeakable cruelty towards its own. To draw comparisons between these historical genocides and contemporary conflicts betrays a shallow grasp of history and a disturbing lack of empathy for the victims of these tragedies.

More alarmingly, such careless rhetoric potentially aligns with the interests of current Israeli government officials who misuse the Shoah’s memory to deflect valid criticism. This dangerous politicking sacrifices historical accuracy and the dignity of the Shoah’s victims on the altar of political expediency.

Given Lula’s experience and supposed wisdom, one would expect him to approach these sensitive topics with the requisite respect and understanding they demand. His failure in this regard not only betrays those who saw in him a bulwark against hate but also disrespects the memory of those who endured humanity’s darkest hours.

This misjudgment’s significance cannot be overstated. In an era marked by increasing polarization and the resurgence of extremist rhetoric, the imperative to engage with history accurately and respectfully is paramount. The real test is fostering a dialogue that respects the complexity of current conflicts without diluting the historical memory’s uniqueness and sanctity. Failing this, I realize, is not just a regression; it represents a profound disrespect to the victims of genocidal regimes, underscoring a shift in my stance. My commitment to fighting fascism remains unwavering, but my support for Lula, clouded by his recent antisemitic implications, has unequivocally ended.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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