A few years ago, I briefly had access to Ancestry.com. I traced my family back to the census of 1910, at which point, it ended. I could have pursued it further using other Jewish ancestry sites, but I knew where they would take me.
On my father’s side, the trail would end in Minsk around the turn of the 19th century. On my mother’s side, the trail would go cold in Tarnow, Poland at approximately the same time.
We were neither important nor prominent. Not rich, famous, or especially learned. Regular people, trying to stay alive and out of the Czar’s army. Put food on the table. Occasionally have a belly laugh with friends and family.
Even if I could trace back another hundred years, it wouldn’t answer the real questions about where we began.
When Genghis Khan invaded what is now Russia and eastern Europe, how many babies were left in the wake of the Golden Horde? How many were left by Crusaders as they pillaged, raped, and plundered all the way from Britain to Jerusalem?
So many invasions, ejections, wars, migrations. How can anyone with even a trace of European or Asian ancestry think they are pure anything — other than human? Assuming current thinking on the origins of mankind are at all accurate, we all came from somewhere else in the beginning. Asia or Africa. Both, perhaps.
Or, somewhere else entirely?
Thinking about this brings me back to the current sad state of geopolitical mass hysteria and stupidity. We are — all of us — family. If we could trace our roots far enough into the mists of time, we would find each other. Cousins, even though many times removed.
We are one people. Despite skin color, eye-shape, and other “race” and “ethnicity” surface markers, we are enormously more the same than different.
So how come we hate each other so much? Why? What makes us want to hate one another? Why build walls instead of bridges?