The ironic words that rest at the archway entering the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, in southern Poland.
My trip there was exactly what you may expect from a place so rot with terrible history – depressing.
Yet, it serves as a necessary reminder of the terrible things that humanity somehow continues to do to each other. WWII was not the first nor has it been the last sight of human suffering. Atrocities continue in places such as North Korea, Syria and have taken place in countless places in Africa , most famously in Rwanda. And yet the world in 1945 screamed “never again”.
Yet it has happened again- and the world has done little to stop it. But realistically, how could they? The UN condemns acts of atrocity, international NGOs do what they can to alleviate suffering and the US plays big brother when it is in their best interests.
The ironic thing, is that the crime of the Nazi’s is forever repeated in western schooling. We have remembrances, walks and are taught about it from 9-12th grade. But what I found so terribly ironic – is that while WWII was terrible – and thank God we won – it is by far NOT the worst example of humanity (think Rwanda and North Korea).
The difference is, it happened to “us”, The western world. We, who espouse democracy, freedom and all those rights I hold dear. We messed up (well, Germany did – and don’t ever mention it to them, they will forever apologize for the mistakes of their forefathers and become severely embarrassed and ashamed).
While walking the terrible path that many before me had walked, I thought how this example of human suffering so shocked our western thoughts. The difference between this example and others is how closely it hit home.
I ask you to think on this. Ask yourself if you pay attention to things happening in far off lands that do not necessarily affect your way of life. If not, maybe you should wonder why…if it was one state/country over would it make a difference? Your relative/friend/neighbor?
That is how it starts. With you. Do not wait for the government to do something – Be the Change you Want to See in the World.
Picture: End of the train that led to Auschwitz. There were no further stops.