The Humane Holocaust

JERUSALEM – Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Hebrew as Yom HaShoah (Disaster Day), is celebrated this year on Thursday, April 19, 2012. The celebration is observed for about six million Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust. A more grim recollection is more personal for some, especially those who have a family that died at the hands of the Nazis and their allies, and in Israel, it has been a national holiday since 1953, watched from a minute of silence in which the whole country stands in place to the sounds sirens. However, there are some valuable lessons from history that make the memory of crimes against humanity a global imperative for world peace, and not just an activity for the survivors and their families.

“Who, in the end, speaks today of the destruction of Armenians?

When Adolf Hitler conceived the plan for the destruction of the Slavs and Jews of Europe, he cited as an example the memory of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, sadly saying: “Who is talking about the annihilation of Armenians?” In this case, he called scarcity and absence of consequences an excuse and a calibration the success of their plans for systematic genocide. The Armenian Genocide, along with Greek and Syrian Christians, was a model of Hitler’s actions – a success story, if you want, from which he drew inspiration. Even the methods were similar: the caves used for imprisonment, and then strangled the Armenians, firing inside them, were crude prototypes for the Nazi gas chambers. A direct correlation between the two events is the architect of the Nazi Holocaust; there is no doubt that injustice everywhere can lead to injustice everywhere. It is also a reminder that only when the smallest of us have our rights, we can all be sure that we all have our rights.

“The caves used for imprisonment, and then strangled the Armenians by lighting fires inside them, were crude prototypes for the Nazi gas chambers,

Any injustice that is ignored encourages those who will inspire and seek similar war trophies. The sad irony is that in the Middle East, where the Jewish people created a homeland for themselves, it committed a great injustice. The Palestinians have their Day of Distress, known in Arabic as Al-Nakba (“Disaster”), which is also inextricably linked to these events. Al-Nakba is celebrated on May 14, the day of Israel’s independence – the day when Palestinians celebrate their ethnic cleansing – not from Europe, but from Palestine, their ancestral home to the massive influx of Holocaust victims who gave the Zionist project the human resources it needed to create a Jewish state. Palestinian refugees later found their way to Lebanon, where they attempted to overthrow the Lebanese government during the civil war in that country, which resulted in 900,000 Lebanese leaving Lebanon, as the cycle of injustice continued.

From the Holocaust, in spite of the great tragedy, many Jews find consolation and hope, marking the birth of modern Israel. However, from the Armenian Genocide, the Christians of Armenian, Greek, and Syrian heritage had no positive decision about the great injustices committed against them, and who, like the Jews of Europe, almost destroyed them for all eternity. In fact, many countries, especially Turkey, which inherited the trophies of genocide against Christians, still refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This refusal is dangerous for the whole world because it will remain a source of inspiration for the next genocide, that is if you believe that the Armenian genocide has ever ended. Perhaps this is the real reason why Turkey does not recognize this because recognizing this as a crime will require the return of stolen properties and allowing Christians to return to their ancient lands in Turkey that can reverse the war trophies received from the genocide,

With Christians in the Middle East at risk, the cycle of injustice will continue until there is recognition and resolution of the genocide committed against the Armenian, Syrian and Greek Christians who were systematically killed by the Turkish and Kurdish troops of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago. One can only hope that the example of the Holocaust Remembrance Day can remind the world that the first Holocaust victims who inspired the Nazis were Christians of the Armenian, Greek, and Syrian heritage. If the world forgets, instead, the example that remains is that the policy of conquest with the aim of acquiring “war trophies” will work and injustice will prosper as long as humanity suffers.

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