Sunday, January 27, 2008

Holocaust memorial day

Some say they already know, some say it ignores or takes attention from other incidents of genocide or mass murder, but it doesn't matter that some know, it doesn't matter than many might not want to be reminded, and it is not the same as other incidents of genocide, nor does it take attention away from them. Those comments in particular fail to do justice about what happened in the 1930s in a country that had been widely seen as a civilised modern state. The Holocaust showed that those who thought themselves above tribalist brutality could do so en masse, could do so efficiently, callously and that people sat by and did nothing.
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Today Sunday 27 January is International Holocaust Memorial Day. It marks the day of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. It is about remembering all those murdered by the Nazi state, from six million Jews to 200,000 disabled people to gypsies, Poles, Soviet POWs, homosexuals, political dissidents from socialist to liberal persuasions. The utter complete dehumanisation of all those effectively declared "unpersons" by the Nazis remains a horror unparalleled in its comprehensive efficient single mindedness. It also reminds that the murders of the Khmer Rouge, the Hutu militia, the Sudanese government, the Serb nationalists and all others show that mass slaughter based on collectivist ideology has not evaporated - indeed it show no sign of having been eradicated.
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So take a moment to remember, remember those who had their jobs, their homes taken from them, who were beaten, bullied, robbed, imprisoned, tortured, humiliated and killed, like cattle. Those who were rounded up as enemies of the nation, and slaughtered en masse, day after day, week after week for years on end. This whilst so many peacefully went about their business, turning a blind eye to the train loads of human cargo, the neighbours who were taken away at night never to be seen, the propaganda blaming troubles on the one group of people who never ever threatened you or others.
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The Holocaust was the natural conclusion of violent collectivism - the elimination of those who do not fit the collective vision, the collective punishment of them and the demonisation of them based not on what they do, or even what they think, but what identity they fit. Take a moment of silence to remember, and just think, think of those who use identity politics now to demonise.

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