April 7, 2013
Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated annually. It runs from sundown April 7 to sunset April 8. This year's theme is "Defiance and Rebellion during the Holocaust: 70 years Since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising."
Sunday night Warsaw and Jerusalem ceremonies included government officials, dignitaries and holocaust survivors.
At 10AM Monday morning, a two-minute siren echoed across Israel. It marked the beginning of other ceremonies that followed.
Yad Vashem is Israel's official holocaust memorial. It's located on Mount Herzl's western slope on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. Its complex includes the Holocaust History Museum. It's second only to the Western Wall as Israel's most visited site.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held there. Holocaust victim names were publicly recited all day. Much more takes place annually.
Never forget. Never again. Hollow words. Other holocausts go unmentioned. More on that below.
Norman Finkelstein's "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering" discusses its politicization and commercialization.
He documents distortions and deceptions. He quotes former Israeli official Abba Eban saying
"There's no business like Shoah business."
He explains the myth of "unique Jewish suffering." It's connected to power politics. Vested interests take full advantage. Israeli criticism is deflected. Anti-Semitism accusations target those who dare. Crimes of war and against humanity go unmentioned.
Holocaust imagery rationalizes occupation harshness, dispossessions, and other international law violations.
Yom HaShoah promoters ignore other human suffering. They characterize Hitler's terror as unique. They're mindless of other genocides much greater.
In WW II, three times as many Slavs died as Jews. America's Native American genocide was perhaps the greatest ever. Who knows? Who honors the victims? Who cares?
Those who do call it the "500 year war." "The world's longest holocaust in the history of mankind and loss of human lives." "500 years of hate crimes."
They continue today. They go unmentioned. Few Americans know. They're airbrushed from history. General Phillip Sheridan explained saying "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."
Howard Zinn said America committed "genocide brutally and purposefully." It was done "in the name of progress."
US leaders buried ugly truths "in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."
Over centuries, America reduced its indigenous population to at most 3% of its original total. In his book titled, "A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present," Ward Churchill said:
Millions were "hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave laborers, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and internments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases."
Shockingly, "every one of these practices (continues in new forms). The American holocaust was and remains unparalleled, in terms of its scope, ferocity and continuance over time." Today, it’s entirely ignored in mainstream discourse.
The African holocaust was just as grim. It resulted from 500 years of colonization, oppression, exploitation, and slavery. Much of it trafficked to America.
Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched to ports, beaten, kept in cages, stripped of their humanity, and often their lives.
Around 100 million or more were sold like cattle. Millions perished during the Middle Passage. They were packed like cargo under deplorable conditions in coffin-sized spaces. Sometimes they were placed one atop one another.
They experienced extreme discomfort. They had poor ventilation, little or no sanitation, and overall appalling conditions.
Dysentery, smallpox, ophthalmia (causing blindness) and other diseases became epidemics. Conditions below deck were dark, filthy, slimy, full of blood, vomit, and human excrement.
Women were beaten and raped. Claustrophobics became insane. Others were flogged or clubbed to death. Anyone thought to be diseased was dumped overboard like garbage.
Arrivals with three-fourths of human cargos were considered successful voyages. The Middle Passage claimed as many as half of those trafficked. Estimates range up to 50 million lives lost.
Zinn called American slavery "the most cruel form in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, black was slave."
ED Noor: Considering that the black slave trade was primarily a Jewish business, and that white people were also enslaved to the point of genocide (Ireland), I would change the above comment to the clarity was built on being Jewish and all others were slave.
Post-WW II US genocides are ignored. Millions of North Koreans, Southeast Asians, Central and Latin Americans, Africans, other Asians, Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and others perished. More die daily. Who knows? Who cares? Who honors them?
Vulgar dishonesty exploits Jewish suffering. Palestine's Nakba gets short shrift. Palestinians today are as helpless as Jews were under Hitler. Israeli state terror targets them ruthlessly.
They cling to hope courageously. No one intervenes to help. Edward Said once asked:
"Is this the Zionist goal for which hundreds of thousands have died." It began during Israel's war without mercy. Genocidal ethnic cleansing reflected official Israeli policy. Cities and villages were depopulated. Jewish ones replaced them.
About 800,000 Palestinians were dispossessed or massacred. Rapes and other atrocities were committed. No one was allowed to return. Decades of occupation followed. So does institutionalized persecution.
Life in occupied Palestine includes economic strangulation, poverty, unemployment, collective punishment, loss of fundamental freedoms, targeted assassinations, punitive taxes, stolen land and resources, Gazans suffocating under siege, separation walls, electric fences and border closings, curfews, roadblocks and checkpoints, bulldozed homes and crops, as well as arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, torture, and other ill-treatment.
On May 15, Palestinians commemorate Nakba day. It reflects one of history's great crimes. It continues daily.
Israel's Nakba Law prohibits commemorating it. Penalties are imposed for doing so. Erasing this horrific event from Israeli consciousness is policy.
It remains etched in collective Palestinians' memories. It represents decades of horrific suffering. No words adequately explain. Few Israeli Jews understand or remember. Palestinians lost their lives, land and futures.
Israel never accepted responsibility. Jewish suffering alone matters. Nakba's memory remains. Israeli law and ruthlessness won't erase it. Not now. Not ever.