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.