Friday, January 27, 2012

On This Day...

January 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day and various commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz (1945).

I know its not the same place, but when I read this I cannot help but be reminded of the day I spent in Mauthausen-Gusen during the contiki tour I went on a number of years ago. It was one of the most significant days of the tour, yet one you couldn't really say you enjoyed. Seeing the concentration camp turned into a museum, a historical sight of remembrance for the suffering of so many people... It is hard to find the right words to truly explain the effect being in such a place has on a person. To stand in a room, knowing that literally thousands of people had been gassed to death simply for being 'different', leaves you irrevocably changed. 

And yet there are times that I find myself looking at the world today, and wondering 'have we really come that far from how we used to be?' Are our intolerances really that different today? Indigenous people are called Abbo's or Coons (or Niggers if you're in America). Homosexuals are called fags and dykes. Muslims are automatically viewed with a feeling of fear and intolerance, and quite often referred to as 'towel-heads'. I do not, for one second, condone or accept or sanction any terrorist act, or any taking of innocent lives such as those despicable actions taken on 9/11. 

But I do wonder, from time to time, if we have truly changed all that much, or if we have simply become better at masking our intolerances. Are we not so 'in your face' like monsters (and I do consider such men monsters) like Adolf Hitler.

It is certainly not my intent, with this post, to give any impression of acceptance of terrorism in any of its forms and I hope no offence has been taken. I simply find myself reflecting on the odd occasions when I look back on some of the places I have been and the things I have experienced, whether or not we have changed all that much - have we learned from history or are we simply going to repeat the errors of the past in different forms?

1 comment:

  1. Have we really changed that much? No, I don't think that we have. We've just gotten better at deflecting the truth of our real reasons for disliking "others" and hiding our actions behind facades. The single best thing that mankind has always done best and always will, is killing each other.

    We have elevated the killing of othernpeople and oppression of "others" to an art form, and we just get better every year. All driven by personal fear rather than realities.