Beyond human tragedies

When it comes to mass murder, ‘tragedy’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

By VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS
April 13, 2010 04:41
3 minute read.
Beyond human tragedies

AUSCHWITZ aerial 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

Let me share some thoughts on tragedies, not only on that unique one we commemorate on International Holocaust Day or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The disaster in Haiti caused by an earthquake is an enormous human tragedy, and there is no end to it yet. So is the tsunami which swept over Aceha and other Indonesian areas causing huge and painful human tragedy. And the mudslides in Brazil last week and the devastating earthquake in China two years ago.

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But what about mass murders in Rwanda, Darfur, East Timor, Cambodia, Chechnya, and so on? We need a different definition here, since in these cases it is a tragedy for the victims, but not for the killers.

What about the Holodomor, then, or the Nazi and Soviet Bolshevik death camps, premeditated for the day-by-day extermination of millions of innocents? We need a special definition applicable to the dark creatures so similar to humans who perpetrated these acts – but we would be wrong if we called those creatures on two legs by the same name. Wild beasts never behave in such a way.

Who could kill old people, women and children – by thousands and millions – only because they were Jewish?

Allow me to say a few words of sorrow and sympathy for the victims, which they deserve first and foremost in Krakow, close to Auschwitz. Requiem aeternam. This European camp of death was an instrument in the actual industry of killing used by one totalitarian power only, not by two as was the case in Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen or even in Macikai, in my native Lithuania. But if we focus on this too much, one may ask: Why don’t you look into the future?

Thus allow me to say more words about the degrading human soul. It may become dreadfully significant for our common future. The Holocaust was a signal, but did we receive it?

If “work brings freedom” – the mockery of Auschwitz – what allows for freedom from morals, from compassion and love, from being human?

The answer is: total relativism as to what is Good and what is Evil, which also eliminates any distinction between love and hate. Teachings of immorality and hatred flourish worldwide, while love and compassion are becoming “politically incorrect.” It seems as though the entire world is on the wrong track.

WHO CAN say what is the destiny of the State of Israel? For its friends, it should be a matter of the greatest concern. The only possible victory for all parties in conflict is peace, but Iran and its proxies do not want that. In the throes of producing a bomb, they will hold the region hostage. As open, direct military support for Israel would be detrimental to the US, its adversaries will eagerly provoke a pro-Israel American war in the Middle East. The first outcome would be isolation of the US. The second – the sweet dream of the hegemonic Iran and its instructees – would be retreat and further geo-ideological isolation of the US. The third outcome could be the second historical Exodus of the Israeli people. God forbid, but I am not sure (who can be?) there is no plan of this sort, or that Europe would not have to fight for Israel. The mantras about the two-state solution or Israel’s right to exist, in this context, begin to look empty. What would be the alternative to preempt a second Holocaust? An Israeli attack on Iran? And what then?

Forgive me for painting such diabolic pictures; but that very place of ashes and tears is calling loudly: Do something, you people of reason and humanity! Do something to change this fatal course. We have to do all in our power for that option to be eliminated.

At the same time, the dangers to the Jewish nation and the State of Israel tell us much more. All nations should change their approach to each other if they wish to survive on our globe. The same applies to relations between groups and individuals. Accordingly, we must insist on cooperation replacing domination. A simple word – love – tells us what must be found anew. If we wish to survive, that is.

Adapted from the contribution made at the Conference of the European Friends of Israel marking the 65th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camps in January. The writer is a Lithuanian politician and member of the European Parliament.


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