A note about my hate mail.
I published my first article about Polish-Jewish relations over twenty years ago. Since then, I have been receiving a fairly steady stream of feedback from readers. Some of it is positive and I am grateful for that.
Some of it is negative and some of it is hate mail.
When I have received hate mail about what I write about Polish-Jewish relations, I have always seen it as somewhat understandable. After all, World War II and Nazism were hell on earth. The massive human suffering involved is incalculable. Though time marches on, there are still people alive today who were direct victims and survivors of Nazism and Stalinism.
How World War II is remembered has an impact on how Poles and other Christians, Jews, and capital A Atheists as well define themselves, and how the world defines them. Legacy is a big deal. I understand that passions can become inflamed.
I am a birdwatcher. I think of birdwatching as an innocent activity, and a stress-releaser.
Recently National Geographic published an article saying that birdwatching and birdwatchers are racist.
I was stunned by this. It makes no sense. When I want to birdwatch, I pick up my binoculars, that I bought for about a hundred bucks over twenty years ago, and I look at birds. No one stops me. No one asks me my nationality. How on earth could this activity be racist?
I mentioned the article briefly to other birdwatchers online. I said I found the article "off base." Hardly an inflammatory statement.
I received hate mail. Serious hate mail. "You are a horrible human being; I will never speak to you again" style hate mail.
How could anyone feel inspired to write hate mail about birdwatching??? What is at stake? Why get so worked up? Who died? Who was tortured? For heaven's sake!
This experience made me think again about the hate mail I get in relation to Polish-Jewish relations.
Maybe it doesn't make sense.
Maybe some people are just angry and use anything as an excuse to foam at the mouth and shout abuse at others. Maybe it really doesn't matter what the topic is.
Maybe it is inherently as possible to be sane, rational, honest, and courteous in relation to World War II as it is to be sane, rational, honest, and courteous in relation to birdwatching. And maybe, conversely, it is as possible to be hateful in relation to either topic.
Dunno. Still gathering data.
You can read my response to National Geographic at the American Thinker website here.