Question to self: what shall I do?

Posted on December 2nd, 2008 @ 02:11 in Uncategorized

[entry inspired by this CNN story about genocide]

I’ve often written about the Holocaust. Expressed my complete and utter disbelief & disgust etc. I’ve never really said much about what “I think I would have done” because while I like to think I would not just have stood by and kept quiet (who likes to think that of themselves?) I cannot know for sure. I honestly can’t.

The exhibition about the Reichskristallnacht I saw in Paris in November also treated the refusal of other countries to accept Jewish refugees’ which meant they basically had nowhere to go. Many went round in circles (sometimes being shoved around for a while), were eventually returned to the Reich and perished in the concentration camps. I’d read about this before but kinda got all worked up about it again – these were countries not driven by an insane dictator and politics drawing on antisemitism! I could understand they would worry about the repercussions of letting in hundreds of thousands of refugees. But they knew what was going on – these people were being exterminated, surely any concerns such as “oh noes where will we put them?” should pale in light of fucking genocide !!??

They should. And yet they don’t. As brought home by the above article, which I do urge you to read (it’s really just a short summary of genocides since WW2 and the world’s reaction to them – Scream Bloody Murder special report on 6th Dec). I was – and still am – shocked by the world’s lack of reaction to Rwanda, for instance. It was pretty much the same as the Holocaust – like cowards who had nothing to gain from it, the Western world withdrew and washed their hands clean of the horror. A human life is worth nothing at all, really. And 100,000 lives… not that much more.

So this is where I actually look at myself again. Because I have to admit that I, too, tend to look away. I’ve gone “ugh, boring, just them slaughtering each other again” when confronted with another report on DRCongo. I’ve also been strangely unmoved by the whole Mumbai attacks. So what if there were many Westerners who died. It’s all so far, so remote, so whatever. Someone Else’s Problem. [Douglas Adams reference]

I do want to do something because I know this is wrong. But I also know that I won’t be chaining myself in protest to any embassies, I won’t be trying to ge people in the high street to sign petitions, and I won’t pester my MP relentlessly with requests to bring this up in Parliament or whatever.

Of course you will say “if you’re not willing to show at least some commitment then you don’t really care.” [and I suspect with the above DRC & Mumbai examples I’ve admitted that actually I don’t?] But I am just trying to be realistic here. I want to do something, but I may not be ready to overcome my social phobias (which seem to be an obstacle for much non-profit work). Or my inherent “nothing’s gonna change anyway” cynicism.

So maybe I should just donate money. I can do that.


The BML said on Dec 2, 2008 at 9:54 am

Yeah there’s donating money, spreading the word or… I’m not sure how relevant this is but you can always volunteer to work on the helplines they have. Like I said, not sure how relevant due to how long ago it was but there are generations of people still affected by it in the sense that they lost loved ones etc. There must be a million charities out there working to help those families, you could find out from them what you could do.

I guess even with sth like this, “spreading the word” is also kind of irrelevant as there probably isn’t an adult alive who doesn’t know about the holocaust. Tho they maybe don’t know as much as they should.

Clarissa said on Dec 2, 2008 at 10:18 am

Um yeah I actually meant I want to do sth about the genocides / horrible things that are going on today, not the Holocaust.

stagiaire said on Dec 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Back then many countries didn’t like Jews, that’s probably why many didn’t let them in. Why let people in you’d like to leave anyway? They’ve had trouble all over Europe, Germany was not the only country that had something against them – they were just those who actually did something against them in a quite mmmmm way.

Mon said on Dec 2, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Yes you should do something. It IS a bit silly to feel SO strongly about something and do nothing.

Mon said on Dec 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

(That was not a very constructive comment, sorry.)

Clarissa said on Dec 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm

Ja I know @ many people didn’t like Jews. Many people also don’t care much about black people. 😐

lol @ Mon. But I can get worked up about sooo many things so is difficult. 😐


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