Today we are going to take a strong look at the past with the purpose of rescuing important teachings. We are going to remember the Holocaust, an event that left a before and after mark in human history, leaving universal lessons that citizens must always remember so that events like these never happen again.
Today, the commemoration of the Ioam HaShoah, also asks us to open our heart, because beyond numbers and dates, there were different life stories and people who were martyrs and heroes. Today we must remember them, and convert that space of reflection in an opportunity for us, as a human family, to commit towards working together so these events never occur again.
Anguish, despair and the fear of each Holocaust survivor and other genocides must not be lost in the pages of history; the suffering of millions of people must be converted into a strength that pushes us to work for the teaching and defense of Human Rights.
Ironically, up until now, many nations, political leaders and educator think that the Holocaust is a crime committed against the Jewish people, In reality, this was a crime against the human family, and as a family we must strive so that humanity does not lose sight of love, solidarity, tolerance, and mostly, the respect for life; because we have already seen that when man has lost sight of these values, he is capable of committing the worst atrocities and does not stop until he intends to eliminate a culture, identity, language: in summary, the existence of an entire people and their memory.
These events hurt a lot of nations, but they also affected dignity and undermined the deepest human essence. This historic event also left evidence that man is capable of expressing the most profound action of solidarity and compassion towards other, but that they can also be capable of committing the worst of crimes; and that the seed of good and evil is in humans.
And, how do we avoid that evil seed from manifesting, from spreading through violent and intolerant actions? This is the question that should make us reflect and encourage us to develop preventive actions in every field where the human being interacts.
It is important to recognize that we have a responsibility so these acts never happen again. It was our turn to be protagonists in this part of history, and we must take action in each field: as parents, we must instill principles and values in the heart of our children which allows them to see others with love, compassion and above all, respect. Educators, on their part, must form individuals with a more ethical conscience, through an education that is not exclusive to reasoning, but strengthens each value and principle, that once they are accepted, they become part of each person in their environment, when interacting with others.
To create an enabling environment in each country, with the objective of constructing paths for peace and to have a space in the subject of Human Rights that protect the citizens from a crime such as genocide, it is necessary to integrally work. This is why at the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace we work towards the establishment of teaching the Holocaust as a paradigm of genocide as a study subject, as a tool to educate on Human Rights in schools and colleges, and as a Chair in universities.
It is a grave error to say that a genocide like the Holocaust will never happen again and that for that reason it is not necessary to devote efforts and focus education on its teaching and prevention.
This way of thinking is not coherent with the violent acts that have been occurred after this human tragedy. It is enough to remember the genocide of Rwanda that was committed in 1994, in a world context of outstanding scientific and technological development and with a presence in various international organizations. Therefore, EDUCATION is the only thing that guarantees that people become aware of the value of life, a fundamental tool that allows us to effectively work in any part of the world and with people of different nationalities, cultures, ideologies, languages, ages, religions and beliefs.
Today, more than ever, we have the obligation of remembering the past, learning her lessons and applying them to the present, with the aim of assuring the future of our people, based on justice, truth, harmony and equality. Remembering our past and respecting human dignity will allow us to construct a culture of peace.
There are currently many warning signals in the world that evoke the repetition of another genocide. We see how thousands of human lives are being lost, as a product of extremism and intolerance. And we must be more than mere spectators to these events; we cannot be indifferent to the suffering of other human beings, because indifference is also a grade of complicity. We need to move past lectures into actions. And you that accompany us, after listening to the Holocaust survivors, must leave here with the commitment of transmitting those facts.
To all the survivors: my admiration and my commitment to continue working in the defense of Human Rights, against anti-Semitism, prejudices, stereotypes and the lack of sensibility. Never stop remembering.
To us, you are an example of life, determination, and progress. Never stop telling your story, because, as Primo Levy says:
“It is not lawful to forget, it is not lawful to be silent. If we are silent, who will speak?”