Yom HaShoah and Your Voice
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 01:34:30 -0400 (EDT)
Yom HaShoah began tonight. Yom HaShoah is a day to commemorate the
Holocaust. Please consider doing the following: Listen and speak.
Listen to the names of those who perished in the Holocaust, or
see their faces. It has become traditional on Yom HaShoah to read the
names of some of those who were killed in the Holocaust. They died 60
years ago, but they also died only last year, yesterday, a minute ago.
For as we give names to the 11 million victims of the Holocaust, we are
reminded that every day names are added to the ever-growing list of
victims of indifference and inhumanity, a list written nowhere but on the
conscience of humanity.
As you listen to the names and see the faces of the victims of the
Holocaust, think of the 6 million Jews and the 5 million mentally and
physically disabled people, homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses,
Slavs, Communists, black Germans, and others who perished in the
Holocaust. But also commemorate the 3 million people who died of
AIDS last year, the 200,000 who have died in Burundi's civil war, the
homeless woman who froze to death in New Haven last winter, the 3 million
who die of malaria every year, a 13-year-old boy beaten to death by police
while in their custody in a town in Pakistan, the children in the Mideast
who die of bombs and bullets, Mexicans who die trying to cross the border
into the United States, and all others who die on our watch. Remember
all who die without a name and without a face -- so far as most of the
world is concerned -- but who had names, who had faces, who had lives,
who had families, who had people who cared about them and mourned their
loss, who were people like you and me, but who are now gone.
If you are at Yale, there is a 24 hour name-reading of victims of the
Holocaust, which takes place in front of Sterling Memorial Library,
and will conclude tomorrow, Thursday, at 8 pm. On the internet, you can
view faces of the Holocaust at
http://www.melizo.com/jewishpost/holocaust/holocst2.htm. Listen, see,
Having listened to the names of (or seen the faces of) those who are
gone, listen to those who are still here. And speak for those who cannot
speak, or who are afraid to speak, or who have ceased to speak because
they have come to believe that nobody will listen. And speak in unison
with those who are speaking, but whose voices will not be heard unless
they are joined by yours and mine and a million more.
Give your voice to the slaves of the 21st century (yes, there are
slaves in our midst -- the children slaves of West Africa who were
recently in the news are but a small segment of this dark secret). Give
your voice to women in parts of our world who are still told to stay
inside. Add your voice to their voices. Add your voice to the voices of
people living with HIV/AIDS and whose communities are being devastated by
that disease. Add your voice to the voices of people who suffer from
drug addiction but who are treated as criminals. Add your voice to the
voices of people who still have no safe water to drink. Add your voice
to the voices of the homeless of your community. Add your voice to the
voices of those left homeless by earthquakes in India, El Salvador,
Turkey. Add your voice to the voices of people in Burma, China, and
elsewhere who have been jailed because they wanted to have more of a voice
in their lives.
Speak with your friends, or send a letter or an e-mail to a public
official. Or write something for a newspaper, or something to post on
your webpage or on a wall. Or if today is not a day when you can do
these things, then speak to yourself. Promise yourself to speak to others
before the sun has set on too many tomorrows.
Because until you speak, until we speak, the sun will set, and set
again, but it will not rise. Only when we join our voices, yours and
mine and a million others, only then will the sun rise. Only then will a
new day dawn.
"I have only dreams: to build a better world, a world of harmony
and understanding, a world in which it is a joy to live. This is not
asking for too much." -- Yitzhak Rabin
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