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Don’t Stand By


Today is the UN’s internationally designated Holocaust Memorial Day. (Not to be confused with Yom HaShoah, which falls in early May this year.)

This year, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is urging us to not only remember the victims of the Holocaust, but to turn our focus towards fighting persecution that is taking place in today’s world, right here in 2016:

Don’t stand by is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.

The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. Whilst some actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides.

We said “Never Again” but that did nothing to stop genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia or Darfur.

We said “Never Forget” but we can’t apply that only to antisemitism when there’s so much discrimination even in our supposedly democratic, free home countries, against people with different skin colours, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions or traditions.

We tore down the concentration camps in Europe and made them into museums. But prisoners are still being sent to death camps in places like North Korea.

Adolf Hitler has been dead for 70 years, but politicians are still running for office and using minority-baiting and drumming up hate, fear and prejudice in order to gain power.

We’ve acknowledged the tragic outcome of saying “none is too many” and yet we still react in fear when desperate refugees from civil wars in places like Syria want to come to our shores.

Competing about tragedies (“ours was worse than yours”) only serves to divide us, to pit us against each other and to further build walls between humans. Instead, let’s focus on calling out injustice and persecution wherever we see it. Not just today, but every day.

It’s not just about being Jewish. It’s about being human.


Remember Darfur? The “UN sez we can’t call it genocide cause then we’d have to do something about it” crisis where deaths aren’t in the hundreds (like in Lebanon) but in the hundreds of thousands? The crisis that everyone loves to conveniently forget because it can’t be blamed on Israel or the United States?

Well, things are getting worse there, believe it or not:

Fighting between tribal militia groups in Darfur is on the rise, driven by the prevalence of weapons in the region, the senior United Nations envoy to Sudan warned today.

The situation in Darfur’s north and west, where clashes have become more violent recently because of the greater availability of weaponry, is particularly tense, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Jan Pronk told reporters during a press conference in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

He added that both fighting between the parties to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and other groups, as well as fighting among rebel groups, has heavily affected the civilian population.

That’s UN-speak, so for the uninitiated, here’s a rough translation:

Peacekeeping efforts are woefully inadequate, and there’s still all-out chaos in Darfur. Militia groups and rebel gangs are bringing in weapons and using them to kill displaced people in camps where they’re supposed to be under UN protection. Millions of people who were forced from their homes and raped and tortured and starved and saw their family members killed sometimes right in front of their eyes are still facing the imminent threat of death even after years of “monitoring the situation”.

And the world watches Lebanon and wags its finger at Israel and does nothing to so much as lift a finger in Sudan. As usual.

Anyone who still believes that the United Nations has a role to play in protecting people or brokering crisis situations should just take a long hard look at Darfur.

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If it looks like genocide, smells like genocide, sounds like genocide, it must be…


“Crimes against humanity with genocidal intentions”, of course. This according to the United Nations, which displays its gutlessness even more glaringly as each day goes by. Cause calling the horrible situation in Darfur, Sudan by its rightful name would require the U.N. to actually do something, and they certainly want to avoid that: A United […]

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Wiesel: who will stop the genocide?


Elie Wiesel addressed the U.N. in the first time that the world body has ever commemmorated the Holocaust: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Nobel Laureate author Elie Wiesel, a death camp survivor, both questioned whether the nations had the will to stop mass murder 60 years after the massacre in Europe. “If the world had […]

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Powell uses the G-word


Colin Powell called a spade a spade today, when he used the word “genocide” to describe the horrible mass killings that have been going on in Darfur, Sudan for months: In the strongest U.S. statement to date on the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell today said for the first time […]

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Where’s the Wizard of Oz when we need him?


Maybe he could grant the European Union some courage, cause after once again refusing to call what’s happening in Darfur “genocide”, I think they could sure use a shot of it: An EU military-civilian team that visited the region last week reported Monday that atrocities were being committed on a large scale, but declined to […]

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About time


Canada recognizes the Armenian Genocide: Canada’s House of Commons rejected appeals from Foreign Minister Bill Graham by adopting a resolution to recognize that Turkey, Canada’s ally in NATO, committed genocide in Armenia in 1915. The 301-seat House of Commons voted 153 to 68 in favour of the resolution, thanks to support from many members of […]

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A dark spot in history: commemorating the Rwandan Genocide


Today, April 7th, is the “official” day to remember the victims of the genocide that took place 10 years ago in Rwanda: April 7 will now be set aside in Canada to remember the victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the office of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin announced. “April 7 marks one of […]

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