As the world leaves the Holy Days of Passover and Easter behind, and enters Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can expect to hear the regular litany of vows which are made during the many seminars, forums, and official speeches by leaders all over the world to recall this tragic period in history. After the usual review of the historical events which occurred, and the horrors which were inflicted on a people in numbers which remain staggering and overwhelming to this day, we will hear those famous two words, NEVER AGAIN!
Never Again will there be another Holocaust! Never Again will mankind look the other way in denial and professed ignorance while an entire people, an entire nation, is massacred to the brink of extinction. It is no longer possible for such things to happen in the post-World War, post-Cold War, highly advanced, wealthy, and civilized world! Never Again will such contempt for human life be allowed to take place, be it for reasons of race, religion, gender, nationality, or culture. Those things are in the past. Mankind has evolved past such savagery and barbarism!
Such has been the tradition, particularly by nations in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, to declare since the end of World War II in 1945. They have repeated these two words for more than half a century, with great apparent sincerity and conviction. Yet with every passing year, especially since 1990, these nations know full well, as does the rest of the world, that these words have become ever more hollow and empty.
The proof of this assertion does not require any deep research, or substantial degree of expertise. It is proven every few years in the headlines of newspapers, television programs, and radio shows as they record the march of time. There is no room for debate, intellectual, political, or academic, to disprove this claim. For the proof lies in both recent history, and today’s news.
Never Again was the claim by Western nations, as boys and men were massacred in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1995.
Never Again was the cry, as Rwandan Tutsis and some Hutu were exterminated by the Hutu Akazu and their followers.
Never Again was the cry in civilized circles of America and Europe as women and children died in Darfur, Sudan, and are continuing to die today in South Sudan.
Never Again will be the cry on this Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, as hundreds and thousands continue to die in Syria, in the Central African Republic, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Libya, Mali, and other nations across the world.
No amount of public relations management, political censorship, cultural denial, and economic coercion will ever be able to erase from the minds and hearts of the people of the world what is so glaringly clear in the 21st Century.
That the forces of Humanity and Compassion which do exist are so overwhelmed by the darker nature of mankind and its endless atrocities, that they are almost helpless.
That the Rule of Law, be it municipal, state, national, regional, or international, will never be a reality when the true rulers are wealth, power, and cynicism.
That the words Never Again are so clearly empty that every time they are repeated to the world, everyone knows the truth. Never Again is no longer a solemn vow. It is a general, intangible aspiration.
There are many who would seek to qualify and redefine the genocides which have occurred in recent history, and are occurring now. Many leaders of great power and intellect across the world, regardless of religion, race, or nationality, be it the United States, France, Israel, Turkey, or Russia, would raise a popular defense.
Yes, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia was tragic, but it cannot really be compared in numbers to the 6 Million who died in the Holocaust, or the 20 million Russians who died during World War II.
An interesting argument no doubt, and used many times over the past decades. Just try explaining that argument to the Armenians, the Bosnians, and the Rwandans.
The tragedy of this Holocaust Remembrance Day, this Yom HaShoah, and many others in the future, is not merely the memory of the attempted extermination of the Jewish People, and the killings of so many others along with them. The additional tragedy of this time is that so little has changed, and the regular occurrence of such acts of genocide is so common now that even younger generations find them to be a fact of life. They are becoming immune and apathetic to the horrors and contempt which the very concept of these crimes used to instantly arouse in older generations. Indeed, there is no greater tragedy of the failure of Holocaust Remembrance Day than for this development to have taken root in the youth of the 21st Century.
Yet the devaluation of the words Never Again do not merely end with the Holocaust. Far from it. Over the past decade, these words have lost their meaning as vows to prevent other calamities from repeating themselves.
Never Again will there be another Great Depression! Never Again will there be another American Civil War!
Never Again will there be another Cold War!
If Yom HaShoah is to have any meaning, if the tragedy of the Holocaust itself, and all the others which have occurred before and after World War II, are to have any real meaning, it will not be in ritualistic memorials and empty vows which are little more than hopeful wishes.
The real meaning of Holocaust Remembrance Day is to look at the two or three generations of youth who are suffering RIGHT NOW across the world. Who have been scarred from war, poverty, corruption, inequality, racism, apathy, and most of all, hypocrisy. They are the future of mankind, and if they are not saved, healed, protected, and given true examples of Justice and Compassion, then the danger of future Holocausts will be all but guaranteed.