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What hatred can do

More than 200 survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp gathered to commemorate its 75th anniversary of its liberation earlier this week.

What hatred can do

The survivors, now mostly octogenarians and nonagenarians, shared stories of their captivity and hardship, the loss of their loved ones and the dehumanizing experience they had at the hands of the Nazis.

Three-quarters of a century on, the image of thin prisoners in blue-and-white striped uniforms remains a powerful symbol of the evil that took place during World War II. Auschwitz, while it was just one of the many camps where atrocities took place, has come to stand for what humans at their worst are capable of doing to others they perceive to be not one of them.

The Jews, after all, came to suffer the way they did because they were seen as an inferior, undesirable race.

In the decades since the end of World War II, humanity has strived to correct its sins of commission and omission. Trials have been held to put the architects and the implementors of the atrocities to justice. Manhunts were launched to track down those who have tried to escape their grim past and start a new life. History has condemned the leaders to shame and ignominy.

This is not to say that humans are not capable of committing the same evils in another form.

These days, the world remains on edge at various points, with groups of people pitted against others for religious, ideological, political reasons. Sometimes it appears there is no reason at all—just look at those who cast terror just for the sake of it, or those who indiscriminately attack others with no provocation at all.

The hatred is manifested, and spread, in numerous ways. Through technology, messages of hate and intolerance are transferred from one computer to another, targeting impressionable or malleable minds.

Lies are manufactured and spread, and revisionism threatens to change historical accounts. All these will be received without question or resistance by those who are not vigilant.

The world says “never again” to Auschwitz, but it must say a resounding “never” to acts of hate and lies.

Topics: Auschwitz concentration camp , Nazis , World War II , editorial

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