Saturday, January 27, 2007

Holocaust Memorial Day

Apparently today is Holocaust Memorial Day. While the holocaust was a terrible episode in human history there are far worse genocides that don’t have their own memorial day.

Instead of a holocaust memorial day we should be having a genocide memorial day to remember all genocides and not just one.


Matt M said...

According to the HMD website:

The central focus for Holocaust Memorial Day remains the Holocaust, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on more recent atrocities that raise similar issues. The tragedies of Rwanda, Kosovo and other terrible events in the world show that there are still many lessons to be learnt, both in international and individual terms.

The Holocaust was chosen as a focal point because it was largely unprecedented in recent history and has been imprinted on our cultural memory. Which seems fair enough to me. The specific focus gives it greater impact than a generalised remembrance could.

Switching it to "Genocide Day" is just pointless and pedantic.

youdontknowme said...

I don't think it is pointless. It will show that we are willing to look back on other genocides.

Matt M said...

I think that HMD does that quite adequately. Most people making speeches on the day use the Holocaust as a springboard to make points about genocide in general.

As the website explains, the purpose of the day is to:

Remember all victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution; Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), East European civilians, Russian prisoners of war, trade unionists, communists, political opponents, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men and lesbians and Black Germans.

Reflect upon those affected by more recent atrocities, in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Educate about the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of discrimination.

Ultimately the day aims to restate the continuing need for vigilance and to motivate people, individually and collectively, to ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimisation committed during the Holocaust are neither forgotten nor repeated, whether in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

Without the focus on one particular event I think you'd really lessen the impact of the day. The Holocaust continues (understandably) to have a considerable emotional impact on the people of Britain, and that can be utilised to promote reflection on violence and suffering in general.

The focus on one symbolic event is crucial to the success of the day in my opinion.

Andrew Allison. A Conservative View said...

I have a some Jewish friends. When you are told they can trace some of their family tree back to Auschwitz, and no further, you run out of words.

Wayne: You and I have have had our disagreements, but please accept what Matt said. We can use Holocaust Memorial Day to remember all those who have perished in genocide. The term genocide comes from the Greek 'genos' - meaning tribe or group and the latin 'cide' - meaning killing or mascacre. The holocaust was one of the biggest crimes against humanity ever witnessed on this planet. Just leave things as they are.

Allotment Plotter said...

The Armenians may disagree Matt M as over a million were killed by the Turks in WW1.

Geoff said...

Matt M is talking nonsense. Are the lives of those killed by Mao, Che, Castro, Stalin, the ANC, Mugabe, Pol Pot etc etc worth so much less that we have to pick one genocide at random to make the point?

If an atrocity is bad enough then we will remember it in our hearts without having to have a Day to prompt us.

Scrap the whole thing. It's just an excuse for politicians to posture and spend our money.

Every day I remember members of my family murdered by the IRA. Give me a Day for that, Bliar you traitor!