I Pray That You Never Know What It’s Like

Confronting the unthinkable and your Western privilege

By Zach Ross, I DARE YOU TO THINK                      7 February 2024

I pray that you never know what it’s like. 

What it’s like to survive a suicide bombing at a nightclub, a pizzeria or a bus ride, a mass shooting while you’re having drinks at a bar, a stabbing attack on your way home from school or a car ramming attack on the main boulevard of your town.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to have mere seconds to run to a bomb shelter from incoming rockets targeting you and your children every day… for decades.

What it’s like to wake up to armed gunmen in your home, torturing your family members one by one and killing them in front of you as they laugh.

What it’s like to watch your teenaged daughter be dragged out of the trunk of a car by her hair, with her hands tied behind her back while she is bleeding from between her legs from being brutally raped.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to see a video of your missing young daughter’s contorted dead body in the back of a pickup truck, dragged across the border into a city while she is spat on and beaten by hundreds of “ordinary civilians.”

What it’s like to see your best friend mutilated, murdered and gang raped at a music festival, hearing her scream while you hide under dead bodies.

What it’s like to discover the ashes of your 12 year old twin children after they were burned alive in their home, after weeks of not knowing if they were kidnapped or murdered.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to wake up to see a video of a man beheading your son with a shovel while he is still alive.

What it’s like to be kidnapped and held captive underground, starving, raped, tortured and terrified for more than 4 months.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to need to send your 18 year old son or daughter to the army to defend an entire country against genocidal monsters because there is no other choice.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to watch government and religious leaders publicly vowing to destroy your country and explicitly encouraging their followers to grab a knife or a gun and kill every single member of your ethnic, national or religious group, only 78 years after a genocide which killed 6 million of your people.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to experience a concentration camp: to be a slave, enduring forced labor, medical experiments, starvation, torture and the threat of gas chambers and mass executions only to be falsely accused of committing these crimes against humanity on another population.

I pray that you never endure the kind of very real and very unspeakable torture, oppression and persecution that Jews and Israelis endured since October 7 and for the last century and for the last 2000 years.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to have no other option but be forced to use guns and bombs to defend yourself, your family and the land that has been your sacred home for 3700 years and your safe haven for the last 75, even if that means other people will die so that you could live, a sinister ultimatum you didn’t create but have no choice but to confront.

I pray that you never know what it’s like to have an entire world who has NO IDEA what it’s like spread propaganda that demonizes you, strips you of your basic humanity and chooses to believe and support the monsters whose sole mission is to destroy you, your land and everything you cherish in this world and call it “the final solution” or “resistance.” Twice. In a century.

I hope that you would also pray that we, Jews and Israelis, never need to know what it’s like either – but tragically, we already do. We know exactly what it’s like. This has been our every day reality for millennia. And so in place of your prayers, I ask that you stand with us, not in silence, but in unconditional solidarity. Speak out against the injustices we face, challenge the twisted narratives that seek to dehumanize us and recognize that our struggle for survival is not just our burden, but a call to arms for humanity’s collective conscience.


February 11, 2024 | 2 Comments »

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