This is an entry I will feature on both blogs, as I feel it is one of the most important I can and will write.
Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day is not until April 21st… but I felt it was imperative to discuss something about it today.
Apparently there are folks who heard comments from people saying they are tired of hearing about the Holocaust… “Enough,” the say, “We’ve heard it all… we know it was terrible… get over it.”
Get over it? Aside from this being an incredibly callous and ignorant comment, it is, perhaps more importantly, a dangerous one. No one wants to live in the past, but if we do not learn from it, and remember it… I mean REALLY REMEMBER IT, then we are condemned to make the same mistakes over and over… and unfortunately, as evidenced in Rwanda and Darfur, this is a lesson WE HAVE NOT LEARNED!
We must also remember that there is a major difference between simply not forgetting and actually remembering.
As we get closer to a time when there will be no survivors, no direct witnesses to what happened in Europe less than 70 years ago, I might add, we must take up the proverbial torch and shine it brighter than ever on what is one of the darkest periods in history and a horrific blight on mankind.
Over 11 million people were killed. 11 million. Stop… really think about that number. It was not just Jews… but gypsies, gays, Russians, the handicapped… it was 11 million people.
What happened in Germany was a systematic, government led attempt to wipe out an entire race of people… an entire religion… Over half of all Jews in the world were killed.
What is completely disingenuous to me, is the way certain people have hijacked the term Nazis and Holocaust… They have taken those words and tried to cheapen them at every turn. I’m sorry, but the Palestinians and the world have no right to call what happens in Israel a Holocaust. Nor do they have the right to call the Israelis Nazis.
This is not to say that Israel is perfect and flawless and blameless. They are not. But they also do not systematically march the Palestinian children into gas chambers, nor do they force them into “work” camps, nor do they line up thousands of them at a time and gun them down and then simply push them into a mass grave… Despite what the evil and deceptive and yes, absolutely false web site Jew Watch says… Please write Google and ask them to remove such a disgusting, hate mongering site.
Saddam Hussein did this… Pol Pot did this… Kim Jung did this… Stalin did this… This is what is being done NOW in Darfur and was done in Rwanda. I do not think that these should be called anything other than what they were and the criminals behind these horrific crimes need to be named as themselves, not “another Hitler” or a “New Nazi.” We need to say the individual names aloud, for all to hear…
We also need to say the names of the dead… with loud, strong voices… the names and ages and where and how they died. This is what we did the other day in a family class we go to. It was powerful and made it real. It needs to be real.
There is a great and provocative quote in The History Boys, a film that seemed to get lost in the shuffle, but one I find remarkable and moving and thought provoking…
“… there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.”
What I think it means or at least what I took it to mean… is that it is easy to put up a wall and be done… or a statue and be done. Or a memorial and be done. We commemorated the event and now we do not have to think of it or revisit it again, because the statue will stand the test of time. But that is metal or stone… and the remembering needs to be in flesh and blood and visceral memory. Our heart NEEDS to ache, so we feel. Our head needs to pound and spin…
We do need a separate day to remember the Holocaust… and we should and must NEVER “get over it.”
In Israel, there is a siren and the entire country stops… STOPS… for a minute of silence and reflection and remembrance. I have not been there, but those who have, said it is one of the most incredible and moving things you could ever experience.
Do we all really remember 9/11? That was only 8 years ago. Do we really think about Darfur? I mean really, aside from a check mailed off to an organization?
The Holocaust was the Holocaust… It needs to stand alone… For if we do not remember, then humanity is truly lost. And genocide all over the world will be overlooked and forgotten again and again and again.
Get over it? No, never… Move beyond it? Grow in spirit and intelligence, in heart and soul? Yes! Learn from it? Please! But do not ever get over it. Ever.