As we approach Yom Hashoah this Thursday, better known to english speakers as Holocaust Remembrance day.
I want to remind people why I'm so very afraid every time I see someone talking about muslims and arabs as if they are all terrorists.
Why I'm so very frightened when I see pictures of burning Qurans.
Why I'm horrified when people paint islam and its followers as barbaric.
Why I'm sickened as I hear about the murders of innocents that died only due to their race or their religion.
Each time I see these things... I remember that it wasn't that long ago that it was the Jews.
Jews were painted as thieves, plotters, evil masterminds trying to destroy the world.
Torahs, made with exquisite care and artistry, that survived hundreds of years or more... burned callously.
Jews, murdered for no reason other than their faith or parentage.
So often it's forgotten... the Nazis were not the only ones responsible for the Holocaust, they were just the ones who carried it out.
All across the world, Jews were despised.
The horrors of the Holocaust weren't hidden away until the end of the war... the Allies knew about those horrors all along the way.
There were so very many occasions that they could have prevented many of those horrors at little cost or effort... but simply didn't care to.
The Holocaust only became the horror story it is today when the pictures and stories of the aftermath started spreading after the war.
When pictures like below appeared to strike that chord that made people face the scope of the horror... Horror that most of them knew was happening, but didn't care until they had to face it.
I am sickened and afraid because so much of this is happening again.
I'm terrified that we'll see more pictures like the one below. Piles of shoes belonging to innocent people, murdered because the world thought their faith and people were inhuman monsters.
People so often think that this was an abrupt event of evil in history...
The Holocaust was not the first such event to bear that name... there were many holocausts against the Jews and other ill favored groups.
This wasn't the first, or even the most disgusting... only the biggest.
... and I'm terrified because so often the hatred brought against other groups is quick to drag down others as well...
I'm terrified because it's far too easy for this hatred against Muslims to expand out to hatred against homosexuals, gypsies, immigrants, and the Jews.
Please remember this on Yom Hashoah.
As it's on the Hebrew calendar, it spans from Wednesday the 4th to Thursday the 5th, sundown to sundown (approximately 8pm).
If you're of an Abrahamic faith (Christian/Muslim/Jew) and wish to offer a prayer, you might appreciate the following link to the Mourners' Kaddish, a traditional prayer spoken to commemorate a lost loved one and traditionally spoken in services on Yom Hashoah: http://www.jewfaq.org/kaddishref.htm
For those with the money to spare, it is a tradition in Judaism to offer charity in remembrance of the departed. I would recommend donating to local organizations that provide for the public, such as free clinics, after-school programs, or churches. Even a small donation to these organizations goes a long way, and is a meaningful and lasting way to remember those whose lives were taken from them so cruelly.
Peace be upon you