Holocaust tribute: watch out for ‘songs of sirens’ – UN chief

In his speech, delivered at UN headquarters in New YorkMr. Guterres reiterated that, within a few months, Nazi Germany stripped basic constitutional rights and paved the way for totalitarianism: members of parliament were arrested, freedom of the press was abolished, and the freedom of the press was abolished. The first concentration camp was built in Dachau.

Nazi anti-Semitism became government policy, followed by organized violence and mass murder: “at the end of the war, six million children, women and men – almost two-thirds of European Jews – were murdered”.

Alarm bells are ignored

Mr. Guterres went on to draw parallels between 1933 and the world today: “The alarm bells have been ringing since 1933,” he declared, but “too few people bothered to listen and fewer people bothered to listen. speak out more”.

The head of the United Nations says there are many “echos of those siren songs that are obnoxious,”

indicates that we live in a world where the economic crisis is causing discontent; Populist demagogues are exploiting the crisis to win votes, and “misinformation, paranoid conspiracy theories, and unchecked hate speech” are rampant.

In addition, Mr. Guterres continued, more and more people disregard human rights and disregard the rule of law, white supremacists and neo-Nazis are “on the rise”; Holocaust denial and revisionism; and anti-Semitism is on the rise – as well as other forms of bigotry and religious hatred.

Shoes confiscated from prisoners at the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.

Shoes confiscated from prisoners at the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.

‘Anti-Semitism Is Everywhere’

The Secretary-General lamented the fact that anti-Semitic hatred can be found everywhere today and, according to him, is increasing in intensity.

Guterres cited several examples, such as assaults on Orthodox Jews in Manhattan, Jewish school students being bullied in Melbourne, Australia, and the swastika being sprayed on the Holocaust memorial in Berlin capital of Germany.

Mr. Guterres stated neo-Nazis are now the number one internal security threat in some countries, and white supremacist movements are becoming more dangerous by the day.

Jews from the Subcarpathian Rus undergo a selection process on a ramp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland.

American Holocaust Memorial Museum/Yad Vashem

Jews from the Subcarpathian Rus undergo a selection process on a ramp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland.

‘Setting the railing’

The online world is one of the main reasons that hate speech, extremist ideology and disinformation are spreading so quickly around the world, and the head of the United Nations has called on all stakeholders, from tech companies to policymakers and the media, do more to stop this behavior. spread and establish enforceable “fences”.

He went on to criticize social media platforms and their advertisers, who, he said, are complicit in bringing extremism into the mainstream, turning parts of the Internet become a “toxic dumping ground for hate and evil lies”.

The UN’s contribution to solving the problem includes the Secretary-General Hate Speech Strategy and Action Planproposals for a Global Digital Compact for an open, free, inclusive and secure digital future, and a code of conduct to promote integrity in public information.

‘New wave of anti-Semitism’

in him speaking at the ceremonyCsaba Kőrösi, President of the General Assembly, reminded his audience that, although the General Assembly was established to ensure that no one had to witness what Holocaust survivors had to endure, but 2023 saw a “new wave of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial” around the world.

“Like poison, they seep into our daily lives. We hear them from politicians, we read it in the media. Mr. Kőrösi claims that the hatred that made the Holocaust possible continues to grow.

The President of the General Assembly concluded by calling to repel the “tsunami of disinformation that is hitting the Internet”.

Action through education and moderation

in one declare released on international day, UNESCOUnited Nations educational, scientific and cultural agency, referring to the partnership it has established with leading social media company Meta – owner of Facebook and TikTok – as a first step against online anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, but acknowledges that important work remains to be done.

This program involves the development, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress, of online resources, which are currently being used by platforms to combat the spread of disinformation and disinformation about the Holocaust. .

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said: “As we enter a world where fewer and fewer survivors can testify to what has happened, it is up to social media companies to have a responsibility to fight back. disinformation and better protect those targeted by anti-Semitism and hatred.”

Widespread online Holocaust denial

UNESCO research has found that anti-Semitism, denial and distortion of the Holocaust, continues to proliferate across all social media platforms.

On average, 16% of Holocaust social media posts falsified history by 2022. On Telegram, which has no content moderation, this number rises to 49%, while on Twitter, the number This has increased significantly following the upheaval at the company at the end of last year.

Offline, UNESCO has programs around the world to promote education about the Holocaust and genocide.

Next month, UNESCO and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum aim to train education ministry officials in 10 countries to develop ambitious Holocaust and genocide education projects and, at the same time, in the United States. United States, will train educators in the United States on how to address anti-Semitism in schools.


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