When I was a young child I remember watching my dad as his headaches would start. His eyes would begin to glaze over. In those moments, my dad would regress to a terrified six-year-old boy, speaking in whispered tones in his native Yiddish, begging his sister to be quiet as they hid from the Nazis in a Belgian church.
When stigma is attached to a community, there appear fewer persons ready to come to the defence of the targeted group. In part, members of other communities see such support as a partisan issue. Others fear that such defence will result in their being associated with the group that is deemed unpopular.
Trump's scapegoating of Muslims, Hispanics, blacks and other "others" for political gain is exposing a racist ugliness, and dangerously inflaming it. Who knows how big the fire might get? "Never forget" became a Jewish slogan in hopes our collective memory might prevent another Holocaust, but also because we can't forget. It defines us. So as hard as it is to hear Hitler's name all over the news, let it at least remind us why we must stop Trump and all leaders who traffic in racism and xenophobia before such hate defines anyone else.
Frequently underlying the purported threat Obama represents to his own country is innuendo about his 'true' identity accompanied by allegations about the hidden Islamist tendencies. Given the absence of any proof to support such ludicrous assertions, 'Obamabashers' conduct whisper campaigns often around dinner tables or other social gatherings.
In July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz in the space of 10 weeks -- the fastest, cruelest and most efficient mass murder of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued some 100,000 Jews in six months in Hungary in 1944, demonstrating that one person with the courage to care, and the commitment to act, can confront evil and transform history.
Eva Mozes Kor turned to Hallmark in the mid-1990s when looking to thank a former Nazi for going on the record about his job monitoring the gas chambers that murdered her parents and two older sisters. Forgiveness, she argues, delivers internal peace while clearing the mind of hate, making people more content and productive in both their personal and professional lives.
We have cultivated an image of the Nazi as anything but a thinking man -- but reading the writings of Adolf Eichmann confronts us with the disturbing fact that National Socialism gets its power from a fundamental and consistent criticism of the ideas of reason and justice. The Holocaust was anything but an unthinkable crime.
There was no shortage of tour options available out of Warsaw and Krakow, but we opted to figure out on our own how to get there. There were moments of inevitable tension as we stood on the wrong train platform time and again, beginning before dawn and battling the oppressive July heat. Here is what I've written in my journal.
Scholars, lawyers, and governments will no doubt weigh in on whether or not the residential schools experience in Canada officially constitutes a cultural form of genocide. In the meantime, it is important to create a cultural and intellectual climate in this country that is flexible and sensitive enough to recognize the depth of suffering experienced by traumatized people and their children without ranking it on a destructive hierarchical scale.
I write at an important moment of remembrance and reminder, of bearing witness, and of action. I write also in the immediate aftermath of anti-Semitic terror and killing in France, and in the midst of ongoing mass atrocities by Boko Haram in Nigeria, ethnic cleansing in Darfur and South Sudan, and killing fields in Syria and elsewhere. And so, at this important historical moment, we should ask ourselves: What have we learned in the last 70 years, and more importantly, what must we do?
In the comments that followed my last posting there was one that equated the treatment of Palestinians by Jews in Israel with the treatment of Jews by Nazis during the Holocaust. What troubled me about this specific comment, however, and left me effectively speechless, though, was the comparison to Nazi Germany.
The Admissions Committee Law, for example -- which was recently upheld by the Israeli Supreme Court -- legalizes racial segregation. According to this law, 43 per cent of Israeli residential areas are legally entitled to deny entrance to Palestinian Arab citizens of the Israeli state. Most of this land, to which the Palestinians are not welcome, was originally confiscated from Palestinian refugees.
She explains what the "Shoah", or Holocaust was. She states that the reason she is being so slow and re-explaining basics to a room full of adults is that there are a lot of 'Orientali', or Asians, in our class, and they don't know about this period of history, especially the Chinese. She says this several times. I can hardly believe what I'm hearing.