The world remains silent

Once a year, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we recall the Holocaust in which so many European Jews lost their lives.

By
August 29, 2013 21:08
4 minute read.
A display showing tattoos at the Holocaust Museum in Wasington, DC

Holocaust tattoos 370. (photo credit: reuters)

Once a year, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we recall the Holocaust in which so many European Jews lost their lives. A large number of us have family members and friends who perished during those years. We use slogans such as “Never Again!” We’ve convinced ourselves that our new enlightened world would never allow another holocaust to take place. But we tend to forget that the world is not actually enlightened and that it actually does allow such events to occur. All we need to do is look around at what’s happening right now.

World War II began in 1939.

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The Western world watched from the sidelines as Britain stood alone against the Axis powers until 1941.

Almost all of Europe had been conquered and thousands of Jews were being sent to their deaths. Even after the Americans were well aware that millions of European Jews were being systematically murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau and other camps, they did nothing.

Only in 1941 did the US begin supporting Britain sending military equipment. It was only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, that the US decided to enter the war. The Allies succeeded in striking back only in the middle of 1943 and the Germans finally surrendered only in May 1945. It took six years for the world, and especially the Americans, to wake up and come to its senses.

By then, the world had six million fewer Jews; three million fewer Russian soldiers who were murdered in captivity; three million fewer non-Jewish Polish intellectuals; 300,000 fewer sick and disabled; 800,000 fewer Roma (Gypsies); and 25,000 fewer homosexuals.

This totals about 13 million people who were slaughtered by the Nazis all over Europe and the world did nothing to prevent this from happening.

The Yugoslav Wars broke out in the early 1990s and were characterized by bitter ethnic conflict between six peoples living in the region. Between 1992 and 1995, 100,000 people were murdered as Serbia attempted to maintain control of Bosnia through the ethnic cleansing of Croats and Bosniaks.

About 1.5 million Bosnians in Yugoslavia became refugees. And the world remained silent.

In Bosnia, too, racist and effective propaganda was used to convince a nation to commit unimaginable crimes against another nation. In this case, Muslims fought against Croats. Educated citizens, the rich and intellectuals who opposed Serbian control were taken prisoner and sent to internment camps. Just as the Nazis had done, the Serbians loaded people into sealed train cars and deported them to remote areas where they were abused, raped and murdered.

And the world remained silent.

Here, too, the men were separated from the women, and made to stand beside pits which became mass graves when all of them were shot to death. And the world remained silent. Only in 1995 did US-led NATO forces attack Bosnia, eventually leading to an end of the massacres.

In 1999, another war broke out in Kosovo. The Serbians once again engaged in ethnic cleansing, but this time the world – including the US – woke up and prevented the war from turning into another bout of ethnic cleansing.

In March 2011, a rebel uprising began in Syria, part of what came to be known as the Arab Spring (but would have been more accurately called the Middle Eastern Winter.) Over the past two-and-a-half years, Bashar Assad’s regime has used tanks, artillery, missiles and aircraft to bomb civilian population centers. And it is now considered a fact that Assad recently used chemical weapons to carry out mass killings of his own people.

Since the onset of the conflict, more than 100,000 Syrians have died, tens of thousands have been injured and more than a million people (half of whom are children) are now living as refugees outside Syria. According to human rights workers inside Syria, at least 130,000 people have disappeared and thousands have been kidnapped. And the world remains silent. Pictures of the mass graves in which thousands of men, women and children lie have been exposed in the international media, and the world remains silent.

The Egyptian military has massacred thousands of its own people and the world remains silent. In the modern era of satellites and the Internet, everyone sees and knows everything, and the world remains silent. Even when the hallucinatory Turkish prime minister declared to the world that Israel was responsible for the revolution in Egypt, almost no one paid attention. Even when the Iranian president declares that the Zionist entity should be destroyed, the world remains silent.

Except for mumbling a few words here and there, no country has lifted a finger. The UN is useless, the US holds negotiations and summits dealing with truly “important” issues, such as the evacuation of Israeli settlements, and the Europeans are just hanging around waiting for someone to do something.

But don’t be mistaken. Neither is anyone going to support us when Israel once again becomes the victim. If at any time we cease to be an important strategic interest for the US, no one else would protect us from once again being led to the slaughter like sheep.

In the end, all we have are ourselves and our defense forces to keep us safe.

The writer is a former brigadiergeneral who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Translated by Hannah Hochner.


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