Holocaust Remembrance and Lessons from Norway
by The Charter
1 year ago
(Image below. Leaves from the Weeping Willow at the Central Synagogue in Budapest, each life bears the name of a local victim.)
The second week of April is traditionally a time of regret, reflections and remembrance of the horrors of The Holocaust. In his proclamation for Holocaust Remembrance Day 2012 President Obama stated:
"As individuals, we must guard against indifference in our hearts and recognize ourselves in our fellow human beings," "As societies, we must stand against ignorance and anti-Semitism, including those who try to deny the Holocaust. As nations, we must do everything we can to prevent and end atrocities in our time."
A similar statement came out a few days earlier from Norway's King Harald as the trial of the white supremacist, anti-Muslim, anti-integration terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s began:
The King reiterated what he's said that tragic day last summer:
"I firmly believe that freedom is stronger than fear.
I firmly believe in an open Norwegian democracy and society.
I firmly believe that we will uphold our ability to live freely and securely in our own country.
It is when our nation is put to the test that the true strength, solidarity and courage of the Norwegian people come to the fore. We stand united behind our values."
King Harald added a request for his people to stay strong in their faith in a society not governed by fear: “The tragedy has reminded us of the basics that binds us all together in our multicultural and diverse society. Let us take care of this recognition - and let us take care of each other. Let us as individuals to be clear about what we stand for, and use our opportunities to influence the society we live in a positive way”.
Can Norway do it? Can any of us keep the hatred and fear at bay?
In a recent conversation with The Christian Science Monitor Karen Armstrong, herself no stranger to hate-drived reactions to her work, related a conversation she'd recently had in
The hate can come from any direction now. It is a multi-lane highway these days. This is why those groups dedicated to outing that hate deserve some acknowledgment. As well as those who make sure that the history of such horrors aren't glossed over or actually physically whitewashed out of history. So as part of your musing on the horrors of the Holocaust think too about what you can do now to combat divisiveness and hate. And honor the sacrifices made by those in the past. And most important of all --keep your eyes open to the abuses of compassion you see every day.
Find out more about facing history, hate and ourselves from the links below:
Karen Armstrong, "Islamophobia: We need to accept the ‘other, '" March 26, 2012.
The Southern Poverty Law Center - The SPLC maps hate groups around the nation and advocates for victims
United States Holocaust Museum - You don't need to visit in person to experience the horror of the Nazi era
Holocaust Memorials Around the World - A somber celebration from about the globe
The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience - The group aims to preserve all history -- even its most painful moments from the Killing Fields of Cambodia to a Dickensian Workhouse.
(At right: Names of "The Disappeared" during Argentina's Dirty War of the 1970s and 80s. )