Holocaust Remembrance Day: We haven’t learned from the past

According to the United Nations (UN), peace isn’t attainable without equality and dignity on a healthy planet. This is why much of its work is dedicated to the elimination of discrimination and building awareness regarding the evil of discrimination.

January 27th is Holocaust Remembrance Day, instituted by the UN to honor the 11 million Jews, Romas, homosexuals, blacks, and Jehovah’s Witnesses murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War. I want to honor all, especially our brave sons of the soil who gave their lives to fight evil.

The past is very much part of the present because we haven’t learned from it, however. Flagrant discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, and immigration status is on the rise worldwide and in Curaçao.

Not long ago a group incited by a popular politician manifested its discontent with constitutional changes by wearing the yellow badge that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi-occupied Europe. In 2017 a Member of Parliament said he’d be willing to work with Joseph Mengele, the Angel of Death “to get things done”. And last week a television person wished that the Nazis had killed more Dutch people.

Hate rhetoric against Asians, Jews, refugees, non-whites, and LGBTQ is rising. Here, the danger of the Christian organizations, including the Catholic Diocese in their public manifestations and houses of worship against equal rights for LGBTQ, is real. Violent rhetoric has always preceded violence. The Holocaust didn’t begin when the first Jew was killed. Nor did the Rwandan genocide start with the first machete-wielding Hutu who killed his Tutsi neighbor. It began with hate speech, conspiracy theories, and too many people not speaking out.

What’s worrisome is that many hate mongers here were once the victims themselves of discrimination based on sex, skin color, and religion. The hypocrisy and stupidity are mindboggling. Nevertheless, we must make urgent joint efforts to stop them. We should speak out and denounce these vile and disgusting speeches, attitudes, and behavior every time they happen.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

2 thoughts on “Holocaust Remembrance Day: We haven’t learned from the past”

  1. glad you are broaching this subject Mr. Rosaria. As they say in Dutch: ” Wie zwijgt stemt toe”. or, “allowing for the spread of absurdities leads to the allowance of commitments of atrocities”.

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    1. Some people say that we should not pay attention to stupid people who spread hate talk. That’s what people thought when the unknown singer Simon Bikindi recorded “Nanga Abahutu” (“I Hate Hutus”) which was played over and over again. People also ignored Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines,that incited violence. And then you had the Rwandan genocide, 800,00 people slaughtered.

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