Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. If you can, go to Liverpool Street station, and spend a moment looking at the Kindertransport Memorial Sculpture and think. From there, take a walk down Cable Street and think. Remember.
And marvel that within one mile of each other we have two enduring symbols of resistance to tyranny and Nazism, from two totally different ends of British Society, ordinary men and women did as much as they could to wipe out the shameful blot of appeasement that stains our history. I salute their memory and their courage to do what was right, even if it meant breaking the law.
You should already know the history of the Holocaust, the industrial scale genocide of Jews and Roma across Nazi-dominated Europe, and the mass-murder of homosexuals, communists, trades unionists, and all political opponents of Hitlers regime. At least six million wiped out without mercy.
I ask you all to spare a thought for those I would call the victims of the Twentieth Century as a whole – those who died around the world at the hands of brutal ideologies and barbarous regimes.
Spare a thought for the Armenians who were all but snuffed out by the Ottoman Empire in The Great War. The destruction of Smyrna in the 1920s. The tens of millions who died under Soviet Rule – Ukranians, Poles, Oppositionists, Jews, Kazakhs, Chechens and ordinary Russians to name but very few.
Consider the fate of Cambodians, Rwandans, Gay men in Cuba, The “Disappeared” in South America, The Kurds, Hungarian, East German, Czech, Slovak and Polish resisters of tyranny. Be mindful of Egyptian and Iranian protesters today of all days.
Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian patriots, Spanish Republicans, the millions of Maos Chinese victims. The heroes of Tiananmen Square. The Warsaw Uprisings of 1943 and 1944 – Marek Edelman, Pastor Neimuller, Deitrich Boenhoffer. Opponents of Saddam Hussein, victims of The Mukarabat, victims of The Islamic republic of Iran.
Think of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Darfur. Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo.
Genocide and mass murder for political reasons, and on an industrial scale, were sadly not a unique experience during the last century.
“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Remember, and say it loud.
Unite Against Fascism – http://uaf.org.uk
Holocaust Memorial – http://www.hmd.org.uk