Monday, March 4, 2013

People can be awesome - Facing History and Ourselves at Palo Alto High School

Facing History and Ourselves at Palo Alto High School:

People can be awesome

In discussion of such a satanic topic, it becomes hard not to assume a somber attitude. There is such unwritten devastation, such disgusting injustice, such grotesque images that we can sometimes forget that people are willing to do good, too. A recent article in the New York Times reminds me that people can be awesome! A recent demonstration in Dresden had Neo-Nazis outnumbered 12:1 by counter-demonstrators consisting of police and anti-fascists. Over 10,000 people attended the anti-Nazi march, reaffirming the message that was broadcast worldwide after the Holocaust: “Never again”.

After hours of preparation, we are finally approaching the event. As I write this, the room is buzzing with peripatetic students making the last touches to their work. Myself, I am excited for this evening’s events: a great deal of effort has been contributed by my peers to ensure quality presentations tonight.

"Never Again"

One of the worst things about the Holocaust is that we allowed it to happen again. In Rwanda and eastern Europe, genocide continued to happen while the rest of the world stood by. Elie Wiesel said in an interview “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel says this both reflectively, and about the genocide in Rwanda. He believed that the US should have sent out a radio broadcast to warn the Jews about the trains and where they were headed, so they could have avoided getting on them at all costs. Although, some experts believe that this could have encouraged the Nazis to speed up the process and openly killing more Jews and other groups. Many people in the US also did not know to what extent the Holocaust was happening. The Rwandan genocide, on the other hand, was much more open, which is one of the reasons it was controversial that we did not get involved. The world thought the holocaust was the end of all genocide, but superpowers need to be less tentative to intervene when it comes to innocent civilians being killed.

It can get worse

Here is a link to a New York Times article that claims to have found records that prove the Holocaust was far greater than we ever knew.

What does this mean for us? For many people, the Holocaust is easily the most horrifying event in human history. It is already a struggle for us to cope with it. And now? What if this is true, and it was even more shocking than we already think? Does it matter, if we already find it the worst scenario