We kill, we torture, we rape, we destroy, we hurt.
I open the news and all I see is blood and pain… and no one taking responsibility. They kill, they torture, they rape; because they are Jews, they are Muslims, they are Christians, they are Atheists, they are Gay, they are Black, they are men, they are women, they are children. And apparently those are reasons enough to kill or to be killed.
I open the news and my heart explodes. I have no words to express the pain and guilt I feel.
The media chooses the battles they want the world to know about. Trafficking of women and children happens all year long, all over the world, but no news channel will mention it every day. It is repetitive and too depressive. Children in Gaza and dead cartoonists in Paris, those were “sexy” topics not so long ago. But today the storm in New York and the elections in Israel are on the front page. Did you hear the King of Saudi Arabia died? It won’t help the millions of sex slaves all around the world or the children of Gaza who are still waiting for the financial aid that was promised but never came, but for today we will talk about the death of the king. Oh wait, yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. So let’s talk about it. Let’s take a look at one of the darkest times of our history. But this time, let’s try to learn.
70 years ago, the Auschwitz camp was discovered. Liberated, in a way, but mostly discovered. The largest camp established by the Nazis. A death factory, part of a very well organized and incredibly efficient system the goal of which was to eliminate from the face of the Earth the Jews, the Gypsies, the homosexuals, the disabled and the political opponents who had the audacity to exist. To eliminate and to dehumanize. We all have in mind the faces of the survivors in their striped tatters. Those black and white photos haunted my nights when I was a child. My great-grand parents died in Auschwitz. They were part of the 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, who were killed there between 1940 and 1945. I don’t know how or when exactly. I don’t know what they had been through before their end. I just know that they were not together and that they were scared. Were their heads shaved? Were their arms tattooed? Did they know? Who did they look at before they died?
After the war, “Never Again” became the motto of the Jewish community all over the world. Since then it has been used again and again by political leaders in many countries. Never Again. But did we hear the message well enough? Do we understand?
Never Again to what?! The Jewish community and most political leaders in the West seem perfectly aware that anti-Semitism must me fought against. Anti-Semitism is talked about in most Western countries and of course in Israel. As a result I hear about anti-Semitism every week, if not every day. Jews should be safe, 6 million have died, we will never let such a monstrous system take over democracy again. And we will never again let ourselves be despoiled, deported, tortured and killed. But was that the only message of the survivors?
Media only talk about the “sexy” topics. The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was “sexy”. But the true message of such events is a lot less.
People are being killed, tortured, raped, sold and manipulated constantly; and we are responsible for not looking. Because of self-preservation maybe, and cowardice surely, we decide to look away every single day. Anti-Semitism is still around, alive and scary; it takes a different form and is not as well organized as the Nazi’s version, but it still exits. Yet it is only one face of a terrible monster: racism. Racism is everywhere and it kills. In France, in the US, in Israel, in Palestine, in Iraq, everywhere. Homophobia has become a new trademark of Daesh, but they are not the only ones targeting the gay and lesbian community; 78 countries consider homosexuality illegal. As you read these lines, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 child soldiers in Africa. Who cares about them? About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade and who knows about it? This is the world we live in and I could go on and on for pages. The media only shows us the “sexy” news of the moment; but we are the ones who decide to go along with it and remain oblivious to the rest.
Today we must remember and finally understand: Never Again. Never again tattooing numbers and gassing people, but also, never again looking away when people, any people are suffering, tortured, killed.
We are numb because it’s easier, because the problems of the world seem too big for us. But we are not alone. We are the majority, and we want a better world, we deserve to be safe and we must take responsibility. We cannot afford this numbness anymore. We must wake up, work together and fight the fear. It starts with opening the news and not forgetting. It also starts by reaching out and fighting the fear. This can be our wake-up call.
YaLa Young Leaders