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4 Feb, 2007

Holocaust Memorials Show How Easily Victims Can Become Victimisers

Originally Published: 04 Feb 2007

As always, the world marks Holocaust Day with great solemnity and remembrance. But even as they urge the world to reflect on the past, the actions of Western governments and the Jewish state of Israel prove year after year how little, if anything at all, they themselves have learnt from it.

Listen to some keywords in the commemoration ceremonies.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Holocaust “retains its power to shock.” He talked of the “ability of the Nazis to command a following”, said the “pain remains,” and emphasized the need for vigilance against “new outbreaks of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.”

Mr Ban said that “even now, the act of bearing witness can offer new perspectives, while the participation of young people highlighted the value of going beyond remembrance to ensure that new generations know this history.”

He referred to the “universal lessons” of the Holocaust “which cannot be denied” even as its “consequences still reverberate in the present.”

“It is a tragedy that the international community has not been able to stop new horrors in the years since the Holocaust. This makes it all the more important that we remember the lessons of the past so that we do not make the same mistakes in the future. The forces of hatred, bigotry and racism are still at work in the world.”

Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva said, “Sadly, other genocides and atrocities have followed the Holocaust, and the world has been unable, or unwilling, to prevent or stop them.”

Notice the use of the word “world” in Mr Ordzhonikidze’s comment. Not the “international community”, which is usually taken to refer to the small group of self-appointed globocops who rule the roost and are pretty much free to do whatsoever they want.  

If the keywords above are taken as a reference, serious questions arise about whether those involved in the Holocaust have learnt the lessons, and whether those preaching are also doing some practising. For example:

  • What have the Europeans learned from it?

The Holocaust was essentially a European catastrophe. Once hoodwinked by a democratically-leader like Hitler in aiding, abetting and perpetrating the holocaust, the Europeans are being hoodwinked again into an anti-Islamic frenzy, disguised euphemistically as a “war on terror.”

They look the other way as the Israeli occupation of Palestine continues unabated. They hold no-one accountable as the reasons for the attack on Iraq are certifiably proven to be utter lies.

Why these double standards? If Hitler foisted a “calamity” upon Europe on the basis of lies about the Jews, why the high tolerance for lies and calculated misinformation about the Arab world, Muslims and Islam?

The Germans don’t like being associated with the Nazis, but a number of their leaders, academics and media regularly refer to Islamic “fascists” even while juxtaposing Islam and terrorism.

Turkey is blocked from joining the European Union while the former CIS countries are welcomed. Could Turkey’s large Islamic population be a reason? Are “the forces of hatred, bigotry and racism still at work”?

  • What have the Americans learned from it?

Last year, former US President Jimmy Carter wrote a book called “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”. His attempt to draw attention to the blind US government support for Israel’s occupation policies drew the predictable litany of fatwas from hardline fanatic Jewish groups unleashing their characteristically boring cliches, including that all-time favourite, “anti-Semite.”

As a key player of the Camp David accords, Carter was the original peacemaker and went on to win a shared Nobel Peace Prize. Why are Americans not denouncing the rabid rush to silence him and his desire to bring this very important issue out into the US public domain?

  • What have we Asians learned from it?

The Holocaust had nothing to do with us. Why do we in Asia not commemorate equally solemnly and publicly our own home-grown holocausts, like the Cultural Revolution, or the Cambodian genocide?

Asians and  Africans, not to mention Latin Americans and native Americans, have been the victims of unspeakable genocides at the hands of European colonialism. Why are these events not given their historical due so that the younger generation can learn from them, too?

  • And finally, what have Jews learned from it?

The Jewish state of Israel today has no qualms about dropping thousands of cluster-bombs in Lebanon on the grounds that it “has the right to defend itself.” Again citing the Holocaust, it now wants to mount a nuclear attack on Iran.

It is a proven, undeniable fact that the key behind-the-scenes architects of the war in Iraq were hardline Jews, including the entire marketing campaign that drummed up the myth about his “weapons of mass destruction”. Today, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, is the major mover and shaker behind the campaign to attack Iran. Check it out for yourself: www.aipac.org

The Holocaust is always marked by “moving testimony” from the survivors about their suffering. No problem. Let’s also see some testimonies by the Palestinian victims of the Israeli occupation and the daily suffering and humiliation at Israeli checkpoints.

To me, the Holocaust will always be a reminder of how easily the victims of the past can become victimisers. Fascist politicians still come in all shapes and guises, still seek out scapegoats and lie to the public. Most scary, to use Mr Ban Ki-Moon’s words, they will always find a following.

Commemorations of the Holocaust would have more credibility if the Americans, Europeans and Israelis began learning from it first rather than lecturing to “the world” about the need to learn from it.

A good way to start would be to encourage those who want the West’s, and Israel’s, own wrongdoings, double-standards, lies and hypocrisy brought into the open, in line with the principles of “freedom and democracy” they are now trying to “export” to the Muslim world.

Hitler, too, believed his actions were for the good of the Reich, and cunningly and convincingly manipulated millions into believing him. A deeper look at the way the world is today will indicate that nothing has changed, and no lessons have been learnt.