“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am already familiar with much of the information about the holocaust and some other dark destinations, a visit to the ”chambers of horror” to graveyards, to solemn places… commemorate one of the world’s most terrible tragedies, of a ferocious ideology of destruction, fascism and war, a genocide built on the myths and inventions of race. I was here only for one day, one day too long. Once more, it sparked a sense of empowerment felt only when i visit such museums, camps etc., learning not only about the past but also how that past has been remembered and commemorated,enables me to learn facts, forcing me to face evil in its most extreme form, to see how people were murdered on an industrial scale due to pseudo-scientific racial ideology, the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable and awakening my responsibility as a moral citizen. My visit was not only an opportunity to answer historical questions, but was stimulus for new historical, moral, and ethical questions and learning from the past. The holocaust took place across the European continent, the Nazi mass killings during the Second World War of six million Jews and 4 million to 20 million non-Jewish victims – whose numbers unfortunately depend on which historian or politician is counting. Auschwitz, Rwanda genocide and past genocides that have taken place around the world, including in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, South Sudan (Darfur), and Syria and other genocides throughout the 20th and 21st century are accounts of murderous hatred, shocking displays of hate, anti-Semitism , racism, and other forms of hate and discrimination. We have built museums all over the world, these museums only show us what went very wrong, and these museums show us our depraved human behavior and how they are often anything but humane.
The greatest tragedy of humanity took place in Africa, the cradle of the human race, the continent that is the most plundered, exploited and abused! Humanity was swept into the net of death by the tragic transatlantic slave trade, the darkest history of humanity. The transatlantic slave trade persisted for four centuries, over 17 million people perished excluding those who suffered and died during transport at the hands of the brutal slavery. The slave trade injustices, its pain and impact on Africans, Africa and the enslaved families purchased lives are among the worst violations of human rights in the history of humanity that resulted in the sale and exploitation of millions of Africans by Europeans.
The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade is undoubtedly the destruction of Africa and a significant portion of the language, culture, tradition, and religion of millions of enslaved Africans. The removal of such large numbers of able bodied, healthy people from Africa disrupted the African economy and development. Unfortunately slavery left a legacy of racism and stereotyping of Africans as inferior, this defined Africans to the world, whereas the lack of knowledge of some African descent across America, Europe, and the Caribbean about the long transatlantic slave trade’s contribution of slaves to the building of the societies of their enslavement has served to marginalize them. We must continue to raise awareness about the transatlantic slave trade and the dangers of racism and prejudice. I am a voracious reader (not that many these days) I have read some pretty hard stuff very early in my life, albeit with some stuff like Moons and Boon, romance etc. (had access to so much book, was voted the Library prefect in secondary school because i love reading and often represent my school in national debate competitions) books like how Europe underdeveloped Africa. by Walter Rodney, Thomas Paine book Rights of Man, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations , James Glassman’s Primitive accumulation, accumulation by dispossession, accumulation by ‘extra-economic’ means,Ernest Mandel’s Primitive accumulation and the industrialisation of the third world, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, James A. Michener ‘s Hawaii etc. These books could shape one’s thinking, change lives and transform… Humanity MUST BE FREE of exploitation, oppression, injustice and such severe negative phenomena, free from those who profit from passive complicity, free from those who profit from unjustified privilege, and such attitudes that lead, if not resisted in time, to unimaginable violence, savagery, and barbarity – We must build a just, honorable and civilized world.
We must defeat fascism, and induced tyranny; we must restore freedom, socio-economic justice, human dignity, democracy and decency. We must take a stand for humanity!!!
What are the lessons to be learned?
Lesson of “never forget” and “never again” a staple, even a cliché, of holocaust education, the holocaust, having given birth to the commitment to “Never Again” to genocide, has not stopped it from occurring innumerable times in recent decades, so is reminding the world of the importance of “Never Again- Now the world needs to hear the message even more- we need to learn about human capacities for good and evil from the holocaust and how to sustain the values that militate against the fear and hatred towards others, racial discrimination, fascism, white supremacy, marginalization of minority, and terrorism.
How do nations incorporate universal values of human rights and socio-economic justice into their national goals and collective identity? This question confronts all of our democratic societies…
Be the change!
Take history to heart; engage in human rights issues predicated upon civic and moral responsibility. Be a courageous upstander. Be a person who has chosen to make a difference in the world by speaking out against injustice, taking action against human rights violations and creating positive change. History is about choices; the choices that each of us make will in turn, help change the course of history. STAND UP TO and SAY NO to xenophobia, prejudice, stereotypes, and racial discrimination! Be the change as we move into the future!!
“History is replete with the struggle for human rights, an eternal struggle for which victory always eludes. Yet to tire in that struggle would mean to bring about the destruction of society.”-Albert Einstein
Ayo Ayoola-Amale, Berlin, 2019