600 bodies were found when the Soviet soldiers arrived on January 27, 1945. If only they had been the only ones. The 7500 survivors that remained on the site told the terrible tale of how many others there had been and what had become of them. Over time the world learned of the horror. Nearly a million of their people had been executed or exterminated there in Auschwitz, millions more killed in other death camps. When confronted with such sheer evil the cry, “Never Again!” spread around world. Nations through their leaders promised that they would not repeat the mistakes of the past, not remain passive or silent when innocent lives were again threatened or taken.
The world lied. Since 1945 millions of innocent people have died at the hands of ruthless oppressors around the world, their only crime being the color of their skin, their religious faith or their ethnic heritage. The lack of concern or response from outsiders suggesting their lives were of no apparent value to the western world who had promised to protect them from such harm.
The lives lost include-
1.5-2 million Cambodians from 1975-1979 at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge
1-3 million ethnic Igbo people in Nigeria from 1967-1970 from starvation and slaughter
800,000 Tutsi killed in Rwanda within a 3 month period in 1994
200,000-400,000 non-Arab minorities in Darfur, Sudan from 2003-2010
The numbers are still rising in Syria, where the current estimate is 200,000 civilian lives lost, and in ISIS controlled areas of Iraq where Christians are being persecuted and killed for their beliefs.
How could it be that a world so horrified by the Holocaust could turn a blind eye to the suffering and persecution of so many?
There is only one possible answer. Human life is not as valuable to society as we proclaim, particularly when those lives are far away. When it comes to human life, it seems that the responses we are most comfortable with are the safe ones such as marches and hashtags and the lives we care about are the ones closest to home.
Which means that “Never Again” has become little more than a slogan.
The post is written in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which occurs on the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945.