Tuesday, February 26, 2008
A Great Piece
By Gilad Atzmon
".....I would refrain from interfering with British politics, yet I may suggest that Cameron was absolutely correct. The trips to Auschwitz are indeed a gimmick. As far as I can see, the educational value of these trips is counter-effective.
Unlike Karen Pollock from the Holocaust Educational Trust, who said, "Students use their experience to raise awareness of the lessons of the Holocaust in their schools and local communities, challenging prejudice and racism today," I am convinced that trips to Auschwitz are there to divert the attention from crimes that are committed on a daily basis in before our very eyes and in our names. The trips to Auschwitz are there to silence ethical awareness. They are there to shutter the possibility of self-reflection.
It is indeed rather easy for the British government to spend some money trying to teach young students how bad the Nazis were 63 years ago. Yet, it is far more challenging for the British government and British educational institutes to confront British wrongdoing in the past and in the present.
Instead of sending British youngsters to Auschwitz, I would suggest spending governmental funds on student trips to Gaza concentration camp. This would have a far greater educational value in so as far as challenging 'racism and prejudice'. Clearly it is in Gaza where millions of Palestinians are starved by the Jewish state while the West keeps silent.
Britain bears some direct responsibility for the Palestinian tragedy. Firstly, the Palestinian disaster was set by the British Empire. It may have started with the Balfour Declaration, but it matured into devastating ethnic cleansing in 1948, three years after the liberation of Auschwitz. Secondly, whichever way we decide to look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinians are the last victims of Hitler and the genocide in Gaza is a Shoah in the making.
If Karen Pollock is truly concerned with 'racism and prejudice', Gaza is the place to send the British kids to, so they can come home and ask their grandparents: 'Grandpa, what did you do when it all happened 60 years ago?' We have to send our kids to Gaza so they can come home and ask their parents: 'Mum, what can we do to help the Palestinians?'
If Karen Pollock still wants to increase our kids' ethical awareness, yet she might not be convinced that Gaza is the place to do so, she may also want to consider sending our youth to Basra or Baghdad. At the end of the day, the genocide of the Iraqi people, in which one and a half million Iraqis have died so far, is a war crime committed also by the current British Government.
But on second thought, there is no point in sending young British students to Baghdad; they can go there as soon they finish school. They can then participate and contribute to this very contemporary Holocaust that is being committed by Britain and America in the name of democracy and neo-conservative ideology, all they have to do is just join the British armed forces. "