Benny Reza’s shoe story

As told during the interrogation of a suspect (and a true story):

“I once saw this comment on Youtube, years ago. Yeah, I know, you should never read the comments. But I did. And there it was, this incredible piece of irrational hate. It said, and please pardon my language Gracie, you fucking piece of Jew scum you fucking oven dodger. And I wondered how you get to be that way, how you get to be so filled with that terrible illogical hate? You know?

“Of course now I know why there’s so much of it in the world. Irrational behavior, there’s a lot of reasons why people say what they say and when they say it. Same with actions. But when I read it, it reminded me of a shoe I once saw, in a museum. It lay amongst hundreds of thousands of other pairs of shoes and it was this little brown suede, wedge-heeled shoe with a pale green trim. It reminded me of something my grandmother wore when I was a kid. She was from Iran, they know something about irrationality there too. And I wondered who owned it, and what she was like, and where she lived and if she had been as happy and as beautiful as my grandmother.

“Anyway, as I was saying, this shoe lay in a pile of hundreds of thousands of other pairs of shoes. Decaying, broken shoes; black shoes, brown shoes, grey shoes; red, white and blue shoes. But I saw just this one shoe. And her, its owner. ”

He took a deep breath, swallowed hard and squeezed Gracie’s hand tighter. “So, Gracie, it’s years now since I was at Auschwitz, but she’s still there. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to go too far to walk in someone else’s shoes because most human experiences are shared. But oven-dodging is not one of them. And it hurts me to know that she didn’t.”

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