Never Again?

By Shoshana

Every year we have a day titled “Yom HaShoah”, Holocaust Remembrance Day. As Jews we gather, sing mourning songs and prayers, recall those who died, honor those who hid and helped the Jews and countless other persecuted by the Nazis, but most importantly we all say “Never Again”. Never again will we allow our world to become so violent, so prejudice. Never again will we stand by and allow others to be punished for who they are.

However, I believe we have failed.

“Again” has happened.

As Americans we are guilty, as Jews (or whichever religion you are) we are guilty, and most importantly, as humans WE ARE GUILTY. How so? Let me explain….

Not only 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust. Over 4 million other people were also put to death in Hitler’s death camps: Jehovah Witnesses, Gays, Roma Gypsies, Protestants, social reformers, communists…the list goes on, but it includes: the DISABLED.

Terri Schiavo, a woman, a disabled woman, unable to take care of herself, and subject to her husband’s unkind jurisdiction of her medical care. But, did the court stop him? No, they ignored the Florida law that requires previous written permission by the person to have a feeding tube removed, they ignored her parents pleas to let her live, they allowed her husband—who lives with another to whom he’s given children, and who stands to gain monetarily when Terri’s dead—to make the decision, based on something he claims she would have wanted.

Where is the JUSTICE? We may all blame this on the court and yes, it is partly their fault, but I believe there is a bigger group to consider: America. In the book Thirty-eight Witnesses the author describes how a woman, Katherine Genovese was raped and murdered in front of her home in Queens. This story got no special attention until the Times found out that 38 people had stood by and did nothing to stop the man. THEN this story hit the front page and became big news. The 38 people gave no real explanation for why they had not called the cops, beyond “it didn’t involve me”. So, if 38 people are shunned by the Times for standing by and doing nothing, should not the 293,027,571 people of America also feel that shame and guilt? Should we not be held responsible for the murder of an innocent woman?

Yes. MANY people stood outside the hospitals, and squares to protest. But, it was NOT ENOUGH! One picture I saw had a woman with a cardboard sign shaped like the 10 Commandments that said “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”. Can anyone really say that if the WHOLE country had stood protesting with such signs that the court would have not allowed her to live? If the WHOLE country had stood up then perhaps Terri would still be alive today.

When people think of the Holocaust, the first name that comes to mind is “Adolf Hitler”. How many Hitlers exist today? Granted, many people saw Saddam Hussein as one, and Bin-Laden, and the countless number of other big names in the news. But perhaps, perhaps Hitler is closer than we think. Perhaps he is in the form of “normal” people who happen to be cruel. Like Terri Shiavo’s husband—who did not allow a divorce, nor did he turn over legal guardianship of her back to her parents who desperately wanted her TO LIVE. He took advantage of her disability, benefiting financially, and then killed her. Yes, KILLED her. MURDERED her.

If I locked someone away and gave them no food or water, and they died I would be charged with murder. Yet, the court not only allowed that to happen, they HELPED him MURDER his wife. This man, in my mind is no different than any other evil personality of history. And the court that helped him is no better than the Nazi soldiers who did Hitler’s bidding.

So, how can we say, “Never Again”. Again has come and gone. Many times. How many times have homeless people died due to lack of food. And we have stood by and let that happen. Terri Shiavo was murdered by the court and her husband. And the people of America. The people who stood by and watched her die.

We are ALL guilty. AGAIN has happened.

And it will keep happening until CHANGE is made. It bothers me when people say “how can this be happening here?” it happens because that’s all people say. They sit by and wonder, instead of ACTING. Instead of AFFECTING change.

Who is next? The elderly in nursing homes? They need special care. The Autistic? They need special care too. Are we to become a nation that kills anyone we deem “not worthy to live”? How does that differ us from the Third Reich?

So, I leave you with this: next time when you say “how can this happen?” or “how can this happen” or “this will never happen”, remember that you affect no change when you do this. And nothing will change until people do something. And next time you are at Yom HaShoah service and we say, “Never Again” MEAN IT. For without meaning, our words are but dust and dirt.

“Lo Taamod al dam r’echa” “Do not stand by while the blood of your brother is spilt.” (Leviticus 19:16)

(Source: Jews for Life)