Thursday, May 01, 2008

Omer 5768 - Day 11; 1 week & 4 days

Today is Nitzach she b'Gevurah - a day of endurance in a week of strength.

I write the description of the day--endurance wrapped in strength--knowing that today is Yom HaShoah--a day to remind ourselves of the imperative Never Again.

In 2002, Wiley Miller's cartoon strip Non Sequitur featured a conversation between one of his characters, Danae--an extremely bright but somewhat Gothic pre-teen girl--and an elder man. She notices the numbers on his arm, and remarks that it is "an awfully boring tattoo." He tells her that he keeps it as a reminder "of a time when the world went mad." He continues:
"Imagine yourself in a land where your countrymen followed the voice of political extremists who didn't like your religion."

"Imagine having everything taken from you, your entire family sent to a concentration camp as slave laborers, then systematically murdered. In this place, they even take your name and replace it with a number tattooed on your arm."

"It was called The Holocaust, when millions of people perished just because of their faith. . ."
The usually hard boiled Danae is shown in sadness, wrapped in a ball with her face down, hugging her folded legs. She then looks up and says, "So you kept it to remind yourself about the dangers of political extremism?"

"No, my dear," her replies, "To remind you."

As we move further into this new century and farther away from the time of The Holocaust, let us never fail to remind ourselves and the rest of the world of the dangers when rulers wield absolute power. And even more important, remember that keeping silent in the face of wrongdoing makes us complicit in the act.

The following video is not easy to watch, but the images must not be lost. These are my people, it could have been me. These are all our people, it could have been any one of us.

Zichronim l'vracha -- Let us keep their memories, to remind us, Never Again.

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