We must not simply memorize, ‘speak up and stand up’: UN Secretary-General Guterres

“The Holocaust didn’t happen as a ‘lesson’ for humanity, but it did. And because it happened, it can happen again,” Mr. Guterres told the annual ceremony was held at the historic Park East Synagogue in New York to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp.

“We must never let our guard down. We must remain vigilant,” he warned, because the painful truth is that even today, anti-Semitism is everywhere. If anything, it’s increasing in intensity.

Furthermore, the same is true for other forms of racism and hatred: Anti-Muslim bigotry; xenophobia; homophobia; and error. Indeed, the head of the United Nations explains that today’s Neo-Nazi white supremacist movements represent the number one threat of internal insecurity in a number of countries – and are fastest growing.

“Their venom is shifting from the fringes to the mainstream, citing their disregard for others, their disregard for diversity, their denigration of democratic values ​​and their disregard for human rights, because “The evils are not new to our time. What’s new is their reach and speed.”

Children wearing

Stop hating

The racist fanatic, who in the past may have spread his vitriol all the way to his dinner table, now has a microphone with global reach, the Secretary-General said, adding that : “Paranotic conspiracy theorist who in the past may have found a single person. acquaintances to confide in, today found a community of millions of like-minded people online.”

“The consequences are both worrisome and dangerous,” he insisted, repeating it Friday during the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Holocaust Memorial, he made a call to stop hate and set up protective barriers.

“I have criticized social media platforms, tech companies and advertisers for their complicity in amplifying evil lies for profit. I call for regulation to clarify accountability. And I call on all of us to stand up and stand firm against hate. We must face the truth with falsehood, ignorance with education, indifference with commitment,” he declared.

Religious and government leaders must step up

Mr. Guterres went on to say that religious leaders everywhere have a duty to prevent the tooling of hatred and to defuse extremism among their followers. At the same time, governments everywhere have a responsibility to teach about the horrors of the Holocaust.

“The United Nations – even through us Holocaust Outreach Program – take the lead in this important work. And as fewer and fewer people can testify in person, “we will have to find new ways to carry the torch of remembrance forward. In families and across generations. In classes and across geographies. We have to tell stories about people being persecuted.”

Those stories must include the mass murder of the Roma and Sinti; torture and murder other victims the Nazis targeted: people with disabilities; Germans of African descent; homosexuals; Soviet prisoners of war; and dissidents and countless others.

“And above all, we must tell the stories of all the children, women and men who have been systematically murdered and who have come together to forge a rich and vibrant picture of life. of the Jews in Europe. We must remember the Holocaust is not the history of 6 million deaths; but six million different stories of death,” Guterres said.

A view of the ceremony marking the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust, held in Geneva.

Honoring the memory of those who lost their lives

The secretary general said that it is our responsibility to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives, “but also to learn the truth about what happened, and to ensure that both we and future generations are never forgotten. To refuse punishment to the perpetrators anywhere. To combat those who deny, distort, relativize, modify or otherwise whitewash their own complicity or that of their fellow citizens.”

Quoting renowned scholar and bartender Victor Klemperer, Mr Guterres said: ‘It’s strange: At a time when modern technology erases all borders and distances…, extreme nationalism. most are raging.’

While this passage was written in the 1930s, the head of the United Nations noted that it has a strange resonance today.

“Our response must be clear. We must strengthen our defenses and reject those who seek to negate the past in order to reshape the future. We must commit – not just remember – but speak up and stand up. Speak up wherever we see hate and stand up for the human rights and dignity of all – today and in the days to come,” concluded the Secretary-General.


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