Shunya Everything Matters Or Nothing Does

I felt the terror and fear and shame this weekend that I first experienced as a child. I cried this weekend, watching people carrying torches, arms raised and yelling racist slogans such as "Blood and Soil" I remember finding a forbidden book up on the highest shelf in my childhood home. "Der Gelbe Stern" I was not allowed to look at it, which of course is why I looked at it the first opportunity I could find. I was young then...grade school. There were pages and pages of human beings barely recognizable as such. Naked, starved and de-humanized. Corpses stacked in large pits. Piles of thousands of shoes of the deceased, and large ovens with black smoke rising from the brick smoke stacks. Most of all I remember the deep shame and painful realization that it was my grandparents' generation that stood by and let it happen. The horror of visiting concentration camps and the dismay at learning that my grandparents and all the people I loved, although not directly involved, did nothing to stop it. My grandparents were good and decent people. My grandfather the kindest man I knew...so how did this happen? Because Hitler knew how to manipulate and lie and dehumanize and blame an entire religion and other groups for the suffering experienced in Germany after World War1. It wasn't that Germans were evil people. They were people fed lies over a long span of time that they came to believe. When we dehumanize others, killing them becomes something not that difficult to do and standing by while others do it, becomes even easier and turning a blind eye to all of it, the easiest of all. We are not that far removed from that dark period in history. I remember my trip to Dachau concentration camp. It is a memory forever burned into my senses. 13 years old, looking at the ovens, the smell of death still in the air decades after it ended. Make no mistake people. Concentration camps did not come in the beginning of Hitler's reign, they came many YEARS after the hateful rhetoric first started What came first was the promise of things getting better, what came next was the blame. Jews, Gays, Gypsies...... The people that stood up and spoke up about what was happening were told they were not German patriots. If you are still reading this, KNOW that your children are watching. There will be history books about this time in American history. What side will you be on? How much shame will your children carry for your silence and complacency. What image will they have to look at in the history books of tomorrow. Shunya Everything Matters Or Nothing Does