Today is an opportunity to to go on learning the lessons from history, not just from the Holocaust and Nazi persecution in World War 2, but also from subsequent genocides in many places in the world, such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Ruanda, Darfur.
This year the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust is challenging us to consider what we see and hear around us and to use our voices to speak up against hatred and discrimination. Words are powerful. They can contribute to the common good and built up community. They can also hurt and destroy. Even one voice is powerful. The Speak Up, Speak Out campaign asks us to think about the language we use in person or on line when speaking about other people. Using derogatory terms about another person or group is to dehumanise them. It is a step along a road which at its extreme end leads to genocide. There is a horrifying example of this in the Ruandan genocide. Is that a journey we want to start?
The Holocaust Memorial Day Pledge is a commitment to challenge the language of hatred and to use words which respect the dignity of people around us. What's stopping you signing that pledge?
Previous posts on Holocaust Memorial Day are:
Holocaust Memorial Day (2010)
Telling Untold Stories (2011)