Holocaust Remembrance Day was last week. A dear friend volunteers at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. I’ve been there a few times and it’s incredibly moving. Not something you easily forget. And that’s the point, of course. We want to understand why and how such a horrific thing could have happened so we can prevent it from ever happening again. Yet slaughter on a large scale keeps happening. Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan. The fact is that the world has not stepped up to prevent things that “may” or “may not” be genocide. I realize I’m getting up on my soapbox here, but this is something I feel strongly about. People may argue that the rest of the world is not our problem and that we have enough problems here at home to deal with. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done in reducing the disparities in our own country, but we live in a global society. The world is everyone’s problem. Humankind should be our concern, regardless of country of origin, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation–we are all human beings and we all deserve a chance for a decent life.
I could go on about the ugliness that seems to have pervaded our country lately, the lack of respect and common decency, but I’d rather end with two quotes that really speak to me.
“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
― Martin Niemöller
This is why we should never forget.