Reflections from Anoushka

Reflections from Anoushka, 12 years old, London

Hello everyone, I am here to talk to you all today about a very important subject. As most of you know there has been a lot of anti-Semitism online at the moment. I hate to inform you that the anti-Semitism you have seen is only a small part of all anti-Semitism which is only a small part of all hurtful opinions or statements based on incorrect or no valid reason.

As I’m sure most of you agree, the internet and social media is revolutionary and something to be celebrated. That was what I thought up until a couple of months ago when I saw the first anti-Semitic comment made. I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw a video of 2 boys that happened to be Jewish dancing in their room. I thought the video was funny, so I scrolled down to see the comments, not expecting to see anything hurtful. I was surprised when the first comment I saw was, “pig people, don’t deserve their riches” I was shocked because I had never come across something like this before. I immediately replied telling the person that commented that they were wrong.

I have come across this kind of thing quiet frequently now, and not just anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Islamism and more. What upsets me most is that many people sit back and watch this happen.

I’m sure many of your ancestors fought in the war, and they did not defeat the Nazis by sitting back. It’s time we take matters into our own hands. If we can change one person’s opinion on anything even if it has nothing to do with our race, ethnicity or sexuality, we are creating a better world. And who knows, maybe they will admire your courage and change someone else’s opinion on something, and it goes on until we have created a fairer and more accepting society.

Ultimately what I am asking is that we all take responsibility, if you see someone, online or in person, being offensive to any minority, or group of people even if it won’t affect you/ doesn’t apply to you, pull them up on it. I am not saying that we should be rude or offensive back, we must be polite, or we won’t get anywhere. All we can do is use factually correct statements and try and convince someone that their opinion is wrong. You would be surprised at how many minds we can change. I am not sure if this has happened to anyone one else but sometimes my parents tell me something and I repeat it at school. Some of my friends tell me that what I’m saying isn’t true and we have a debate about something that we really know nothing about. That is actually how most people gain certain opinions, by hearing it or it being passed on. They have never known anything different, so before we judge someone, saying they are not a nice person, we must educate them, teach them what we know and see if that makes a difference because a lot of the time it will.

I am asking you all to join me in making our society a better place