What To Do When "Never Again" Happens Again

The Nazis came into the village and rounded up all the Jewish men and boys, leaving behind the women, the old, and the children. Males between the ages of 10 - 50 were taken into the forest, forced to dig a large hole in the ground.... Then they had to get into that hole and the Nazis began shooting. Never again, Jews across the world proclaimed when the Nazi holocaust was over. But what do you do when you see it happening again, in Central America, in Bosnia, in Rwanda, and now in the Sudan? Sadly, we often do nothing or wait until it is too late.


Image courtesy of Seoul Times (permission pending)
 

Today, as most Americans debate the rightness and wrongness of our war in Iraq, genocide is happening in the Sudan with little more than mild protest from our government and the world.

Many have been trying to raise the alarm, including the Holocaust Memorial of the United States, which launched a powerful photo-essay site which can be found at:

http://www.ushmm.org/conscience/alert/sudan/
staring_genocide_in_the_face/

     
  The images in those photos are striking, and sadly all-too-reminiscent of images from our past. Members of the Reach And Teach family have sat with refugees from El Salvador, driven from their homes by right-wing militias. Murder, rape, and torture were the daily fare for these victims whose only crime was demanding a fair price for their labor and a voice in their government. Labeled as "communists" and marked for extermination, Central American juntas, aided by the United States government, sent death and rape squads out to remote villages to remove what they said was a "threat" to national security. This photo is of a worship service held in El Salvador in memory of slain Jesuit Priest Octavio Ortiz. His crime? Carrying a bible.
     
 

We all saw similar images in Rwanda, when the Tutsis and Hutus engaged in a bloody war where only one race was going to survive. America stood by and did nothing while hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. This photo shows the victims of the 1994 massacre at the Murambi Technical School in Rwanda.

A few years later, as Muslims were being ethnically-cleansed from Bosnia by a Serbian dictator, we did finally act. What was the difference between Bosnia and Rwanda? Think about it.

     
 

In 2002, we sat in a refugee camp in Afghanistan, with the remaining members of a village where all the men had been killed, leaving only women, children, and the elderly alive. Those remnants were then rounded up by the Taliban and imprisoned in the former Russian embassy compound. After the fall of the Taliban, they were kept in the embassy compound until the Russian government demanded their land back.

A bloody civil war had cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans for years. The Taliban took over the country and made it even more of a living hell, especially for women. Only the horrible attack against the United States by terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon finally prompted us to do something about the brutal and murderous regime in Afghanistan.

     
 

Now, in the Sudan, black-skinned Darfur men and boys are being slaughtered, women, children and the elderly are being chased from their homes by an Arab militia. Government planes then drop bombs on these fleeing refugees. Darfurians believe that the government wants to give their land to the lighter-skinned Arabs and to do so must wipe out or at least displace the current residents of Darfur. Ethnic-cleansing? Genocide?

Yet the United States makes barely a whimper. No troops are massed, no aircraft carriers are deployed, no spyplanes fly over. Is it because we're busy in Iraq, getting ready to go to war with Iran, Syria, and North Korea and don't have time to deal with genocide?

Or are there other reasons?

 

     
 

A Call To Act

Learn about the Sudan. Look at the pictures, read the stories, form your own opinions. Then, get on the phone, the fax machine, your e-mail software, whatever it takes and let our government know how you feel. People across the world, remembering the holocaust, are taught to say "Never Again." Well, it's happening again.

What are we going to do about it?