Complacency seems always to return with time.
I'm not a professional writer. No one has paid a nickel for anything I've written except for some advertising copy, and I've never been published. But even a nonprofessional writer who writes, writes because he has to. Yesterday I read an article about how those in charge of the Holocaust Museum in Israel are feeling that it's losing it's significance. I also read as many of the comments (mostly silly) that I could. It is amusing to note that even historians don't agree with each other about what it was and what it signifies.
I don't want to write about the Holocaust because if I had a dollar for every word written and published about it I could buy the Earth. But the impression I got from reading the comments is that no one has really figured out what it means.
The phrase "never again" has become a hollow one considering what is happening in some parts of the world today, at this moment. "Comparisons are odorous" Shakespeare wrote. While what is happening in some places may not be the same as the cold blooded, systematic murder carried out by the Nazis, the fact of blanket, insane hatred of other people for whatever reason still exists in one form or another. One doesn't need gas chambers to practice hate.
Long ago I learned that intelligence includes the ability to hold the specific and the general in mind at the same time. To the Jew the Holocaust may represent an all too current antiSemitic danger in the world and something to be defended against. But the events of the Holocaust also hold keys to that which is the worst in human nature.
To read the news of what is happening right now in Africa, Asia and even in our own "hallowed" lands is enough to make one think the whole world has gone crazy.
Lawrence Durrell wrote "It is the living who might be spared if we could quarry the message which lies buried in the heart of all human experience." Clearly the message for me is how the derangement of a whole group of people can happen to the extent of destroying another group of people. It must surely go beyond not thinking for oneself. There must be something more hideous involved, and whatever that it is is the main thing to be defended against. It goes beyond whites, blacks and Hispanics, beyond Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jews, beyond Green sand Orange Irishmen, beyond African tribes, beyond Turks and Armenians and beyond Liberals and Conservatives. It reaches down into the very well, the natural source of our existence and the possibility of our survival.
Blacks, Jews and Native Americans are being told to get over it, to forget about it. There is some value to that. It is all spilt milk after all. The danger is that by holding on to the specific events and looking for some restitution or revenge one loses, or never gets, a grip on the essential meaning behind them. About that we must never become complacent.
The questions that need to be asked are do the nasty signs like "God hates fags" or pictures of President Obama looking like Hitler, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. point and lead to the same hideous circumstances and, if so, how long will it be until there are concentration camps again, murder, efficient, systematic cleansing of the human race justified by religion, the lack of religion, eugenics, wealth or poverty, relative value to society, IQ, education level, mental health, place of birth, ancestral history, language, color of skin, height or lack of it, athletic ability or anything that makes one guy not like another guy. All of the above have been used at one time or another to prejudicial effect against people and often fatally.
There is a dangerous, angry, hate filled dragon living in the cave of human thinking. it has been struck and slightly wounded by the Holocaust Museum and many others, but it is still alive. Decide who you hate and the dragon will come out spewing venom, lies, rage, violence, torture and death. Where is the Super Hero to slay it once and for all?
DB - Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
The end of Spring is inches away.
In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.
15 responses so far.
Answers will be published the first day of Summer.
DB - The Vagabond