Sufferings ought to be remembered

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom Ha Shoah, established by Congress and marked throughout the U.S.’

Holocaust Remembrance Day’s observance is spearheaded by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, located in Washington D.C. ‘

Houston has its own Holocaust museum, which is holding a commemorative service tonight at Congregation Beth Israel from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight.

The Holocaust took place from 1941-1945, and its lessons still resonate today.’ This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, which, along with the Armenian, Sudanese and Bosnian genocides, has occurred since 1990.’

The lessons of genocide and the Holocaust are yet to be learned by all groups of people, and hatred is not confined to one religion or race. ‘

This year’s theme will be ‘Never Again: What You Do Matters,’ and was inspired by the life and actions of Raphael Lemkin.’

Lemkin, a Polish-American Jewish lawyer, coined the term ‘genocide,’ and wrote the first draft of the Genocide Convention, which was eventually approved by Congress in 1986.’

The Holocaust was also in the news yesterday, as the U.N.’s Anti Racism Conference was marred by a walkout.

Representatives of more than 30 nations left when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad castigated the U.K. and the U.S. for displacing Palestinian residents in the creation of Israel post-WWII.’

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland condemned the violence in Gaza as skirting the edges of genocide in 2006, as has Amnesty International as recently as February 1.’

The conflicts along the Israeli border and in WWII Europe both teach that persecution of civilian populations have no place in war, among other lessons.

The Holocaust happened, and should be remembered as a lesson of man’s inhumanity. History has taught us that institutional hate is insidious and pervasive, particularly in the example of pre-WWII Germany, and in the punitive Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI.’

Anti-Semitism is wrong, but there are other groups whose suffering should be recognized, many of whom are undergoing persecution even now.’

Shaista Mohammed is an anthropology and communication sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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