OTTAWA - On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the six million Jews and 11 million others who lost their lives in the genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime and its collaborators during the Second World War. The loss to humanity caused by the Holocaust remains incalculable to this day. In six short years, the world forever lost generations of leading lights that might have shaped the world for the better.
Today, the world renews its commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and the other forms of intolerance that lead to group-targeted violence. Silence emboldens hate; hate dehumanises; and dehumanisation facilitates atrocities. Therefore, it is the duty of every person to speak out in the face of hate, and for our governments to root out all supremacist movements from our institutions and societies. Antisemitism remains a reality; and we must actively resist it, and all doctrines of racial and religious supremacy, which remain an ongoing threat even in longstanding democracies. Those who promote and disseminate such ideologies must learn that there will be no safe place or dark corner where their beliefs will be allowed to flourish.
Part of the process of recovering from the nightmare of any genocide and envisioning a future without such atrocities is to shine a spotlight on the individuals who, in the darkest hours, never lost their decency or humanity. “Such persons in the context of the Holocaust are designated as the ‘righteous among the nations’, but their equivalents exist everywhere,” said Annamie Paul, Leader of the Green Party. “In all societies, there are ordinary people who risk their lives and cross ethnic and racial lines to help their fellow humans, like the Dutch farmers who hid my Jewish family, saving them from the concentration camps. They serve as a permanent reminder that extraordinary courage is possible, even under the most difficult of circumstances.”
As we remember the Holocaust, let us also not forget that such atrocities and are not simply a story of the past. Since the Second World War, genocides continue to be perpetrated. Whether it is in Rwanda, Bosnia, or Myanmar – to name just a few examples – humanity continues to target its own members for physical or cultural extermination, often with impunity. It is our solemn duty to all victims of genocide to ensure justice against the perpetrators.
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