January of 2020, the annual Holocaust Remembrance – Yom HaShoah in Hebrew – marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The United Nations General Assembly elected to designate 27th of January as Holocaust Remembrance Day, enshrined in a two-fold purpose: honouring over 6 million Jewish victims, and ensuring the necessity to develop practical educational and awareness programs to prevent future genocides.
Notable public figures, NGO leaders, academics and politicians alike were keen to express their sentiments on this important occasion. Prince Charles, attending the 75th Anniversary in Israel, astutely expressed “the searing relevance of the Holocaust to this day – hatred and intolerance, adopting a new disguise, still lurk in the human heart, and we must never rest in seeking to create mutual understanding and respect.” Reflecting on Charles’ sentiments, Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub of the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, expressed the consistent need to educate Jewish people worldwide, to fortify ‘Never Again’ – shedding light on present crackdowns on Muslims in China and India, resounding a painful echo of the Holocaust, just 75 years ago.
The brutal reality of the Holocaust on the grounds of the European metropolis furnished the Western psyche with the relentless determination of ‘never again’ – in Europe and across the world. Despite this commitment, the emergence of the globalised world, in spite of its’ parables of cultural and human interconnectedness, brought along an intensified and blind immunisation of perpetrators of human rights violations. Primarily, the Indian and Chinese crackdown on the Muslim demographic portrays a concerning duality; the latter pursuing a systematic campaign of state-backed ‘education programs,’ masking abuse, violence and death. Conversely, the Indian state’s controversial Citizenship Bill provided subtle validation to intensify religious tensions, in a state traditionally underpinned on the extremist Hindutva ideology, which saw a similar, albeit crueller, crackdown on Sikhs in 1983. Both mobs and Police sought to destabilise Muslims with crackling fervour – forcing Muslims to sing the national Anthem for example, with mobs holding signs supporting the Citizenship bill, despite the government avowing the bill’s tolerant standing.
Wrapped in the underwhelming condemnation from the usual actors, Saudi Arabia and the self-appointed world police, the United States, is a system of economic relationships. China and India are in the Top Five economies in the World, with China being the U.S.’ largest trade partner for the past three years and its biggest foreign creditor.
The meticulous central purge of the Islamic ideology, making its way to the peripherals of concerning normalised rhetoric is perhaps the most concerning element in its’ resemblance of the initial hostile jabs faced by European Jews in the last century. Not that state validation is need, but the U.S. Secretary of State’s labelling of Chinese operations as ‘concentration camps’ warrants second thoughts on the mismatch between smouldering rhetoric and the Western willingness of inaction, the RSS’ – Hindustan’s extremist party – endorsement of lynchings and Mosque pillages, and the forced courting of Uighur females with Han ethnics in an effort to quench the gene pool.
The tragedy of the Holocaust brought with it an institutional and individual moral impetus towards prevention and building bridges between people. Muslims in Delhi and across India are practicing their religion under the protection of armed guards, a pathetic declaration on the deficit of commitment towards ‘Never Again.’ Staying true to their commitments, and in spite of perhaps increasingly polarised polities, state actors must initiate the courage to overlook economic imperatives and act in alignment with their moral impetus, irrespective of faith, creed, colour or nation.
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