On Facebook, the other day, there was a meme that stated, “If we offered a minute of silence for every victim of the Holocaust, we would be silent for eleven and a half years. It got me wondering, if we offered a minute of silence for every victim of persecution and ethnic cleansing, would we ever speak again?
In college, I had the opportunity to spend six months in Austria to study political science and history. As one of our study tours, we visited a small concentration camp. It is the only part of my three semesters abroad for which I have no photographs. It seemed like too hallowed of ground to photograph. Also, I knew I would never forget being there– twenty years later I can still feel the immense weight of sorrow that presses in on you and smell the stench of heinous deaths. What struck me most, though, was the small strip of green grass that separated this place of horrors from a beautiful town. Yards away people were eating and drinking, playing and building lives. They had to have known something was wrong. Why didn’t they stop it? I’m sure some of it was fear, but I believe the true root of why the holocaust even occurred was indifference. “They don’t want me.” “That isn’t in my backyard, let them take care of it themselves.” ” I have my own life to live.”
Surely not everyone felt that way, but without the general populace not objecting, it would not have progressed to such a scale. The Holocaust was horrendous, we must never forget, but in our remembering, we must take note of where similar atrocities are being committed. We must stand up for those in Sudan and Western Africa, for the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Yes, it is far away, but if we do not stand up for them, who will stand up for us when it happens here. (And it can happen here!) Evil did not die with Hitler, and while in the 1940’s there were many who could claim ignorance due to lack of communication technology, we have no excuse today. The proof is everywhere, videos and photos, televised torture. We cannot deny it nor say it doesn’t exist.
Let us please pray for the persecuted, that they may be delivered from their oppressors and that we may be willing to intervene in any way needed to save them
Thank you and God bless.