What is Shoah? In Hebrew, the word signifies ‘catastrophe.’ The term specifically means the murder of nearly six million Jews and members of other groups in Europe by Nazi Germany from about 1941 to 1945 due to antisemitism and racism.
The horror of the event merits its own name that chills the heart, Shoah, similar to other wide scale erasures of an entire people around the globe. The Crusades, the Fall of Saigon, the Invasion of Tibet, and the Armenian and Rwandan genocides, and the calculated death of indigenous peoples just about everywhere. Almost 100 million indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere perished during the European Conquest in the New World. Is it any wonder that my Native American friends don’t honor, the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)?
We can’t include Europe’s’ Black Death in our list human-caused catastrophes because the origin of this pestis was a nasty bacterium transmitted from rodents to humans by the bite of an infected flea; about 75-200 million souls died between 1346 and 1353 in Europe and North Africa. This fatal pandemic killed and estimated 30-60% of the population.
There are about 8 billion of us humans on our fragile Earth. That’s a lot of thronged fodder for more pestilence plague, and hate unless we unite with common vision and purpose and trust the Science of our day!
We too easily exaggerate our ample differences into pitiful reasons for embattled conflict. We seem unsettled by our impressions of others, as “You are Not Me!”
Our country’s history is riddled with massacres and genocides. Is that view an example of “Critical Race Theory?” Sometimes referenced as CRT. It’s defined as a “collection of critical stances against the existing legal order from a race-based point of view,” (Brooks, 1994). In other words, it’s a deliberate decision to put yourself in another person’s shoes, As both of my Grandmother’s taught! So why all the fuss from bigots who know so little about the age-appropriate education Curricula for our youth? It shouldn’t all be painted Lily White!
As animals, we humans seem to have a morbid fetish for large scale annihilation of our perceived enemy through the use of a dark hyperbole to justify any degree of cruelty.
Given that more than half of American adults don’t know how many people died in the Holocaust, Thus lamentably, Holocaust analogies seem to have become obscenely de riguer in today’s politics, economics. Then is it any wonder? that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) excreted a crack-brained comment in May 2021 that mask-wearing rules during a pandemic compare to the Holocaust: Referring to the Nazi practice to require Jews to wear Star of David badges, she added despicably to her comments: “Any Jewish Person thinks that mask mandates are as bad as the Holocaust.”
Ironically her comment followed her visit to the US Holocaust Museum in Washington where she apparently learned nothing about the suffering of others and the evils in the heart of our humanity: when she compared mandated facial masks to the Nazi practice to require Jews to wear Star of David badges! Thus, her visit was just shallow window dressing for her right-wing constituents.
Maybe we should require Greene and her cronies to wear dunce hats for their photo-ops and rallies? Rather than being embarrassed by their ignorance, they seem to wear it in public as a matter of pride. Too often, when they open their mouths its to hurl out their vomitus of apathy, lies, and hatred.
Now their ignorance rages through the GOP in America and into Canada about face masks and personal vaccinations. The next time that Greene goes into the hospital for any major surgery, maybe we should ask the surgeon to remove her mask during the procedure to test the mask’s efficacy to prevent the spread of virus and other pathogens?!
Greene’s public statement should have expelled her forever from Congress. Yes, this is a Free America, but falsely yelling “Fire!” in a crowded place, is not protected free speech; nor should such simpleton, mean-spirited racism as Greene’s stupid remark. I hope her more enlightened constituents put this idiot and her like minded thugs out to pasture in the next election! If we don’t face down and trounce such evil whenever it shows its ugly face, then we open the doors of our civil society for another Kristallnacht.
Sadly for us humans, the next Shoah may wait for us after the next election or sectarian skirmish. It’s important for us to remember a warning long-attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.“
As a scientist I am tempted to call the raging pandemic a kind of holocaust of ignorance: how many of the unfathomable millions who’ve died and suffered from this human-boosted disease were due to the foolishness of politicians, evangelicals, science-deniers, and conspiracy-hucksters?
The US could have averted many deaths from Covid-19 and its variants due to Donald Trump’s poor health policies: by Trump and his chums by their spreading conspiracy theories and sowing distrust of the federal and international health communities. The ignorance of Trump and the GOP cost lives. I’m still stunned that ANYONE puts his or her faith in a television game show host who recommends that we kill the pandemic virus by injecting ourselves with household bleach!
Have any of us, lived in any similar era that distrusts the scientific and medical communities and is so resolutely anti-science?
The underpinnings of the next Shoah are with us now and seem deeply woven into the fabric of the World Order and into our animal nature. We need only to look back at 6 January 2021 in our own Capitol to see how closely we came to self-annihilation from an attack by a frothy mob, acting like apes on a warpath and trying to devour each other and all of us. That kind of insurrection could happen again when the bigots of the world don’t get their way like petulant children and cranky old white guys.
Some GOP members have suggested the homicidal rioters on January 6th were “normal” tourists wandering around the City! Really? If a Disney predator exhibit showed animals that ate the visitors, Would Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA.) See that as normal? So what’s normal about these vandals murdering pilfering, and even erecting a scaffold!? Did Clyde and his conservative friends take screwball pills?
In our day like the next co-variant and insurrection, the next plague and the next Shoah, is coming, but we are NOT ready for its far-reaching horrors!
– H. Bruce Rinker, Ph.D., is a science educator, forest ecologist, and explorer who lives in Virginia’s iconic Shenandoah Valley. Dr. Rinker is the author of A Pearl in the Brain: The Cancer Journey of a Scientist in His Search for the Seat of the Soul.