Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day, the anniversary of the day that Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops and a day to reflect on those murdered in Europe during the dark days of the twentieth century.
My commemoration of important days such as these usually takes the form of a teaching opportunity, talking to my own children about the events that took place. Sadly, I had to draw parallels between what we see around the world today, and the events leading up to the murder of 6 million people in Europe.
The anti-Semitism that is still apparent.
The inhumane way that Australia treats its asylum seekers.
The ridiculous hate-mongering regarding Halal food in Australia at the moment which in turn is demonising Muslims and fostering hate in the community.
I told my boys that the actions of some don’t reflect the beliefs of many. That radical muslims no more reflect the ideas of the muslims that live in our town any more than the Westbro Baptists reflect my beliefs.
That when people are scared, when they feel threatened and when the don’t understand something, they lash out and feel powerful by disenfranchising other.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing*.
That standing by when others act unjustly, and by ignoring issues because they are too confronting is one of the things that helped the Holocaust gain momentum. The vast majority of people in Germany during the 30s and 40s were not explicitly evil. They were unquestioning, they were comfortable and they were deliberately blind.
May we pray for the wisdom not to fall into that trap.
*An interesting discussion on the origins of this quote can be found here