If Not Now, When? Stopping Genocide!

touching pic veterans graves

 

 

When I first saw this picture of this woman lying on the grave of a loved one, it touched my soul & I thought of how many millions of people around this planet must have experienced such a deep, soul-wrenching pain. I often feel like a fool in that I have spent so much time & energy reading & writing but rarely feel that I’ve connected with others. But this essay isn’t just about me, no, it’s about all of us and our common humanity or lack of it. What does it mean to be humane? Well for me it means to be; compassionate, kind, charitable, merciful, sympathetic, empathetic, benevolent, & understanding. And I believe that the overwhelming majority of people on this planet we call home are humane, loving creatures who care about other people, the environment, animals, plant life, the quality of our lives, work that pays a fair wage & makes people feel proud of the work they do. I also believe that the vast majority of humanity is opposed to war but unfortunately for humanity, a small percentage of humanity is composed of people who seem devoid of the characteristics we associate with being humane or civilized. I refer to these entities as corporate cockroaches.  Schindler's List

 

holocaust image

Nazi death camp

bury my heart at wounded knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

And I realize that I have been beating the same drum for decades now but I must raise my voice in protest and I have to keep on trying to strike a chord in the hearts of others regarding the myriad of issues threatening our very survival. Some will dismiss this as paranoia, exaggeration, fear mongering, negativity, etc. well, that’s their right and it’s my right to speak out against these evils. Far too many of us have been silent for too long and we are facing global genocide both environmentally & economically. It’s only by dreaming the seemingly impossible that we/I can keep my spirit alive. This isn’t fun but it’s necessary. This is my calling, my reason for being here. I believe as Plato said in effect, those who are educated have a responsibility to share their knowledge with others. And this isn’t to say that I have the corner on truth. No, far from it but I have done a tremendous amount of work over the years in my search for the truth or wisdom and it sets before me a goal that I know I will never reach but it isn’t reaching that goal that matters, no, it’s the journey that gives me purpose & is my companion on the road. My challenge is the same as that of all teachers and that is to find a way to connect with people, to show them how these seemingly disparate tragedies happening all over the globe are connected & touch each of us as individuals & touch us collectively as a species. Not until enough of us realize our common bonds will we stem this tide of greed, corruption, rape, murder, humiliation, etc.  Hitler & Mussolini

 

The inspiration for this essay came to me last night as I was watching again, Steven Spielberg’s epic movie, “Schindler’s List.” The inhumanity the Nazis displayed toward the Jews & others of Europe in their day is unfathomable? How can a human being with blood flowing in their veins, who has children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, etc. commit such heinous acts against their fellow human beings? How is this humanly possible? Is it propaganda? Is it in their genetic make-up? What could possibly account for such inhumanity? I have no clear answer to this question but I want/hope to alert you to the repetition of such colossal acts of bestiality throughout history. Why? Because if we don’t truly learn & not only learn about them but truly understand them, how they came about, the tell-tale signs that a society, a nation, etc. is on the path to committing such crimes against humanity again, these acts of genocide can & most likely will occur yet again!

Chomsky & corporate media

Before I move on, lest you think me a Henny Penny or an alarmist and guilty of doing the same as FOX News e.g. spreading fear & hatred, reflect on this:

 

“The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. For years those who made such claims were dismissed as harmless cranks operating on the lunatic fringe. But over the past decade they have begun to gain a hearing in respectable arenas, and now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how—despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence—this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, ‘independent’ research centers, and official publications that promote a ‘revisionist’ view of recent history.” (from the back cover of “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.”)

 

and “In April 1993, in conjunction with the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Roper Organization conducted a poll to determine the extent of Americans’ knowledge of the Holocaust. Neither the Roper Organization nor the American Jewish Committee, which sponsored the poll, expected any startling results. But they were surprised by the response to one of the questions. When asked ‘Do you think it possible or impossible that the Holocaust did not happen?’ 22 percent of American adults and 20 percent of American high school students answered, yes, it was possible.’

(pg. xi of the preface)

 

John Trudell quote

mindbogglingly brilliant man!

I don’t know about you my friend but this truly scares the Hell out of me. If such a large percentage of adults & high school students can believe this, what does that say about the possibility of yet another massive genocide? To me this clearly proves how vitally important it is for us to not only educate & inform ourselves and others as well as unlearn much of what we’ve been taught in our public & private schools. Yes, just because some people were privileged enough to attend private schools & elite, private colleges doesn’t mean that they too weren’t lied to. Another genocide that many, if not most, Americans are ignorant of is America’s despicable history of the genocide of the Native Americans or the indigenous peoples who lived here way before the White man.  Arundhati Roy quote:empire

As I was hitch-hiking across the U.S. in 1974, I read Dee Brown’s classic “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” and I was dumbfounded at what I learned from this book. A few years later, I was in a job interview and the manager told me that he was the president of the local school district & seemed open-minded so I asked him directly, Why is it that they lie to us about American history & his response was matter-of-fact with no hint of apology; “Quite simply, the majority of people don’t go on to higher education & the government wants people to leave school with a good feeling about their country.” I was flabbergasted at the audacity of the lie or the deceit and the nonchalance of this manager’s answer. If I remember correctly, he was a Hispanic person and this also amazed me because surely someone who had most likely been discriminated against for a good part of his life would have some resentment towards the dominant culture’s crimes? I guess I’ve always been naive regarding such matters?

 

Of course there have been many other genocidal wars conducted throughout history such as the little known genocide waged by the Turks against the Armenians which the Turks still deny. Again though, the point is that we must, even if we only care about our own, immediate family, care about all of humanity because all our lives are inextricably & wonderfully dependent on one another not only for our common survival but for our mutual enlightenment, joy, quality of life, etc.

Upton Sinclair on fascism

Upton Sinclair, author of “It Can’t Happen Here”

 

As I was watching “Schindler’s List” last night I also thought of the book by Upton Sinclair called “It Can’t Happen Here.” This book came to me because my guess is that for even those who acknowledge that the Holocaust did actually happen, I bet most would deny that such an event could ever happen here in America? As some scholars have pointed out, before the Nazis came to power in pre-war Germany, Germany was noted for being a very enlightened society of well-cultured, sophisticated intelligent people who appreciated the fine arts, science, etc. So evidently, intellect alone is no guarantee that such horrific events can’t happen. No, we must educate our hearts as well as our heads and that’s one of the reasons why I chose such a tragic image to open this essay. I want to touch your spirit & remind you of personal loss on such a deep level that hopefully this image will never leave you and serve as a reminder of our common humanity no matter the color of our skin, our religious beliefs, our political identity, our nationhood. There’s a significant reason why our government & our corporate overlords no longer allow images of America’s fallen soldiers or their coffins to be shown on television. They know the power of images to touch people’s emotions and possibly turn them against the never ending wars we engage in around the globe. They, the warmongers know that the images of America’s boys in body bags being sent home daily as we wallowed in that quagmire called the Vietnam War, steadily eroded the public’s support of the war. soldiers coffins

Vietnamese girl & napalm

winning “Hearts & Minds” in Vietnam

media conglomerate chart

Corporate Media Conglomerate of Cockroaches!

 

Joseph Stalin

Stalin killed 20 million of his own people!

Hiroshima on the ground

Hiroshima

In a nutshell, if the powers that be via the C.E.O.s of the six media conglomerates; Vivendi Universal, AOL Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch & FOX News), Viacom, & Bertelsmann A.G. control not only the content of what we read & listen to as well as the images we are allowed to see & are shown, we are almost completely helpless in terms of being manipulated, indoctrinated, & brainwashed. There are a number of good books written on this subject but two that I highly recommend are; “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” by Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky (and Chomsky is a one man intellectual tour de force for those of you who may not know of him) and “The Media Monopoly” by Ben Bagdikian.  We are up against an array of forces so great that it’s not like David vs. Goliath, no, it’s more like a piss-ant against Goliath! Do we have a choice? Yes, we always have a choice, we can turn a blind-eye like so many “Good Germans” and live with the shame & guilt of knowing we stood by while humanity was destroyed or we can stand up on our hind-legs like the noble race we are and fight with every ounce of strength, intellect, love, & compassion within us. I know to the marrow of my bones that this is a fight we must fight & win if we are to continue as a species and this is no mere hyperbole. Even a cursory look at the state of the world proves this so a thousand fold times over. And I’ll leave it to you to reflect on the following list in your heart of hearts and ask yourself if you see any parallels to American society today?

  1. Powerful and continuing nationalism
  2. Disdain for human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats
  4. Supremacy of the military
  5. Controlled mass media
  6. Obsession with national security
  7. Religion and government are intertwined
  8. Corporate power is protected
  9. Labor power is suppressed
  10. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts
  11. Obsession with crime and punishment
  12. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  13. Fraudulent elections
  14. Rampant sexism

 

This was taken from a poster titled: Early Warning Signs of Fascism

 

I’ll leave you with a quote from a Holocaust survivor who won the Nobel PrizeElie Wiesel

 

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

 

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