NO BETTER THAN VERMIN


Genocide, a word few want to envision at least not in their own country.

Each time I hear about another nation in the throes of genocide, I grieve that leaders of the developed nations have still not yet found a solution to this barbaric slaughter. Many still act as if it doesn’t exist.

“The”Attack of Darfur,”  like “Hotel Rwanda” and Schindlers List stirred me to do more than just grieve and complain.  The three movie were well made,  powerful and devastatingly provocative.   I realize I must do something about genocide.

These types of movies draw me into the terror,  hopelessness and cruelty the victims of genocide  suffer.  Most of us rarely do anything about an injustice until it happens to us personally.  I could only imagine the shell-shock of the victims as they saw their nemisis coming their way.  One by one, day by day  the people of the towns and villages were ambushed and overpowered by the machete-wielding marauders..

I wonder what God thinks as this happens. Does His holy angels and His people care? I wonder why the UN and the United States and all the developed Nations hesitated to unite and stop all of the atrocities.  Did any nations care to protest or intervene?

I never sleep after seeing any movies of such devastating consequences and especially the cruel slaughter of human beings as if they were no better than vermin.  Why was Genocide still happening and when would people start paying attention and doing something to end it once and for all?

My husband Mark and I went to hear  Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, speak at Congregation Torat El, 301 Monmouth Road, Oakhurst on Sunday, September 18 at 7 p.m. The soft-spoken man addressed us with humility, but with such emotional persuasion regarding the most  devastating experience he could endure as a young boy in a concentration camp.  He lost his mother, father and three sisters at the hands of the Nazis. As he addressed the audience, in almost a whisper at times  I thought all his  humiliation and pain he suffered being all in vain. Antisemitism was growing again against Jews all over the world. I dreaded that such a thing could happen to elderly holocaust survivors. Hadn’t they suffered enough already?

So many feeling and questions and wondering where are the impassioned to stop the continuing massacres? Would justice ever established? Why weren’t the perpetrators punished for their crimes and when?

Raphael Lempkin was one such man who could not stay silent about the rampaging evil. He was a Polish lawyer who held a  European Law doctorate.  Raphael had a humble background, his father being a farmer, but his mother was a highly intellectual woman who a linguist, painter and philosophy student.  As a youngster, he mastered ten languages, including French, Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian.

As a young man, Raphael was responsible for coining the term in 1943 genocide from two words, the Greek, Genos (family, tribe or race and the Latin cide, (killing). His impassioned advocacy for Genocide came from learning about the Armenians being massacred in Iraq in 1933. He later became very involved with his work regarding international law relating to group exterminations.

Thank God for passionate journalists and human rights advocates who refuse to be apathetic and stay silent about the atrocity of ethnic cleansing. Genocide will not end by itself. It will take a massive  and coordinated effort of many.

Surely we will not be alarmed enough to take action unless it occurs close to home. One powerful scene in “Attack on Darfur” was when one of the male journalists could not  just leave the people of the village they had just visited.  He knew he would not be able to live with himself if he didn’t make some effort to stop the impending slaughter. As the other journalists tried to stop him, he asked,

“What if it were your wife and children back there? What would you do?”

That is the question. What if it were our spouses, children or parents? We Americans live in safety, with police protection at our beck and call.

Another compassionate and brave women opposing Genocide is Natasa Kandic. The sociologist, turned Human Rights Advocate presented a devastating video both to  tribunal prosecutors and the world. She gave them a brazen glimpse into the barbaric world of the ethnic cleansing. I believe all of us should get a good dose of these types of footage so we are not numbed by our own comfort. I pray that compassionate folks around the world take a good look at Genocide and realize…it could happen to us. We must not allow our TV and computers to lull us into a false world of apathy and  nonchalance about suffering people across the globe.

God has created each and every unique person to enjoy dignity and the right to life.

Why don’t we think about it. Rise up as an enlightened people and begin stopping Genocide today.

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