Sunday, January 27, 2008

Holocaust Memorial Day

It is Holocaust Memorial Day.

I usually try and write something on my blog in an effort to encapsulate the aims and spirit of what the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust are trying to achieve. However, for 2008 the trust has released a video which I think says enough in itself. It's a few minutes long... but you should check it out -maybe not here and now, but when you have a quiet moment to reflect:

There's a lot to take on board... I hope it leaves you feeling challenged.

The principles at the heart of Christianity require us to stand up for all the oppressed. We cannot stand idly by and observe man's inhumanity to man. If we truly love our neighbour as ourselves, it requires us to go the distance for them. It means speaking out when someone is picked on for being different. Whether that's addressing an evil dictator or the school yard bully... it's all the same.

One of the things that disturbs me the most is our tendency to separate ourselves from people like the Nazis... as if they were a species apart from us and it could never happen in our enlightened society - what insufferable arrogance! We call people like Nazis monsters - and rightly so... but stop to think for a moment. Do you ever isolate or ignore people for any reason? Their colour, their creed, their nationality, their fashion sense, their interests? It's the same seed, the same root.

I've seen it a lot.

Of course I'm not suggesting will stoop so low as to eliminate all people who wear sandals. What I'm driving at is the prejudicial spirit within that fuels these attitudes. We must aim not only to stamp out the atrocities that are committed by evil men and women... but also to eradicate any trace of prejudice from our own lives.

Most of all what I want to challenge is apathy towards suffering... maybe you can't stand up to the oppressor...but you can always help the oppressed.

I was quite struck by the Martin Luther King quote that the video used. It resonated with me because I empathise with that feeling... but obviously when you talk about awful things like the Holocaust, it's a truth that rings true on a completely different level. I'd like to conclude by leaving you with that challenging thought:

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Martin Luther King Jr

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