Human tragedy does not discriminate. Belonging to a particular nationality, race, or religion does not make a person immune from one. The responsibility to prevent or to put an end to human tragedy, whenever possible, is also shared by all.
Thursday, April 19, marked the Holocaust Remembrance Day. In special ceremonies held in different corners of the world, Jews and non-Jews alike acknowledged the suffering of the victims of this immense tragedy. We were reminded once again that the blame for the evil crimes of the Holocaust is shared not just by the Nazis, but also by all those individuals, German and non-German, who were aware of the persecution of the Jews but chose to look the other way. Those who could have made a difference and yet remained indifferent.
Alas, Mr. Wiesel himself is among a large number of individuals, who in the name of defending the interests of the Jewish nation, have chosen to ignore the plight of the Palestinian people. Individuals who think that the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis somehow justifies that of the Palestinians by the Israelis. Those who think that the Jewish State should not only be exempt from international law and conventions but also from all the moral obligations that the rest of us are bounded by. Those who think that no atrocity, regardless of its severity, is evil as long as it is committed for the benefit of the State of Israel and its Jewish citizens.
Luckily, theres been a small, but increasing, number of Jewish individuals and organizations that have broken the deafening silence of their communities. Those who speak out not just against the injustice inflicted on the Jews, but against the injustice inflicted by the Jews. Those who dont want Israel to commit its atrocities on their behalf. Those who believe that the life of a Palestinian child is no less valuable than that of an Israeli soldier. That no one deserves the harsh punishment of racial or religious persecution. That indifference, in the face of evil of such magnitude, is not an option. Those who have truly learned from Holocausts painful lessons.
In a speech given at the White House two years ago, Elie Wiesel asks: Has the human being become less indifferent and more human?, Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far?, Have we really learned from our experiences? I dont know Mr. Wiesel, have we?
Mr. Ali Hadjarian is a PhD candidate in computer science, a human rights activist, and a co-founder of SUSTAIN (Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now!).