Silence, past and present, allowed genocides


I am writing this as a reasonably educated person familiar with recent 20th and 21st century history. The Armenian genocide, the Greek genocide, the Bosnian genocide in the 1940s and in the 1990s, the genocide in East Timor, the genocide of the Tutsi, the genocide of the Rohingya and of course the Holocaust which, in addition to the six million Jews , also killed 25% of the Roma in Europe.

There have been other genocides during these two centuries, caused not by race, religion or region, but by ideology: Cambodia, the Chechens.

Although my family fled Europe at the end of the 19th century, the Holocaust was a trauma inherited from the people to which my family belonged. A trauma that never made my father feel completely safe.

I am writing this as a person born in a country that has as its basic story – its origin story – the genocide of the people who have lived, who have lived on this earth, for centuries. It didn’t matter that my family weren’t there, that they didn’t “do that”. This genocide infects the system, the very fabric of this country. It is an evil that is at the center. It is an evil that has practiced, prospered and has been enriched by centuries of movable slavery of a people

I am writing this as a descendant of people who fled Russia, Siberia, to escape the violence and danger of the pogroms. I am writing this as a descendant of people on my mother’s side who fled the Pale of Settlement. It is a direct trauma, historically inherited, of being hated, of being forced to live apart, of being denied citizenship rights, of being understood that we were unwanted, of being caught. for target, assaulted, threatened with expulsion, murdered.

I am writing this as a human in the world.

The Armenian Genocide. Erevantsi, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

From December 17-19, a rally which, without irony, was called “Dharam Sansad”, was held in Haridwar. At the rally, open appeals and violent speeches for the genocide of Muslims were made by speakers and organizers.

“Without taking up arms, no community on earth can save itself or save others …”, declared Yati Narsinghan and Saraswati, the mahant of a temple. “The economic boycott will not work. Hindu groups need to update themselves. Swords are only beautiful for stage presentation. This battle will be won by those who have better weapons than their enemies. All of you good young people should have good weapons.

Annapurna Maa, mahamandleshwar of Niranjini Akhada and secretary general of the Hindu Mahasabha, said: “If you want to finish their [Muslims] population, then we are ready to kill them and go to jail … If 100 of you become soldiers, then we kill 20 lakh; we will be victorious and ready to go to jail. Keep your books / studies aside and pick up the weapons, this is my suggestion to Dharam Sansad.

Anand Swaroop , from Shankaracharya Parishad, said: “If governments do not heed our demands that emerge from this Dharam Sansad, we will wage a far more frightening war than the revolt of 1857.” The demands referred to were the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra through violence against minorities, as requested by the Hindu Mahasabha in 1915.

Swami Prabodhanand, the President of the Hindu Raksha Sena, said: “Prepare to kill or be killed, there is no other option now. Just like in Myanmar, all Hindus including police, army and politicians should pick up their weapons and start the clean-up campaign as happened in Myanmar. [referring to the Rohingya genocide]. Prepare for it.

Sindhu Sagar Swami, from somewhere, said, “The people who are rich in the villages… that it is their duty to buy the land belonging to the few Muslims there and liberate the village from the Muslims. I tell my brothers to file false SC / ST law cases against 10 Muslims and send them to jail. He went to ask “more people to harass Muslims to such an extent that they are forced to sell their house and leave”.

Yati Narasinghanand. | Facebook

There was more.

These are calls for genocide launched by Indian citizens against Indian citizens. These are calls for people to arm themselves to commit these murders. These are calls for massacre. These are calls for expulsions, for ethnic cleansing, for genocide. These are calls to go against the government, to go against the promises of the Indian Constitution, to have an insurgency, to commit acts of sedition, if the government is not willing to tolerate this violence to advance his idea of ​​an India free from Muslims. nationals

This event was widely reported in the written press, both nationally and internationally. He’s been covered in electronic media, and of course, on social media. The first information reports have been filed. Petitions have been signed and presented. Nothing else happened. No one is held responsible for these calls for violence, murder, death. These are calls to tear this country apart, to destroy India. The government has remained silent.

This is what is scariest. The head of the country remained silent. Silence, in the face of this, is assent. Silence, by the head of the country, is permission. Silence is okay. This is not a fringe group with their calls for genocide. This silence says the government is willing, the government of India wants it.

Elie Wiesel, during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, declared: “Silence encourages the executioner, never the tormented”. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, knows who he is talking about.

They are watching. They hear the silence. The silence of the government. Our silence. They know they can do more. They will increase that. They will stop talking and they will start to act.

We cannot be silent. We cannot be indifferent. Evil relies on silence, out of indifference, out of fear, to close its eyes to atrocities. Do not close your eyes, do not turn your gaze, do not harden your heart with suffering, calls for ethnic cleansing and genocide. Do not go about your business, looking after your Quixote garden, violating the protections to our citizens, promised under our Constitution.

We must resist. We must be on the side of humanity, against evil. Because if we don’t do it, if we don’t, that’s how it goes, this story of the unthinkable.

To quote Elie Wiesel again in the same speech: “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political opinion, that place must – at that time – become the center of ‘universe. Let’s make this place, right now, the center of the universe. “Never again” means never again anywhere, for anyone, ever.


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