Posted in Patience and Tolerance

Let us not forget….

I don’t have a lot of energy to get worked up about the state of affairs in the world, but  sometimes I look at the world and I can’t help but wonder WTF??? I am equally confused that I
seem to be in the minority being outraged at some of the things I see on the news or in my news feed on Facebook and that is equally baffling to me.

Today for example, someone posts that people in South Africa that are HIV positive will be forced to be tattooed near their genitals as a warning so that people that they get intimate with are forewarned. Now, this article is actually crap, but there are two things about this that concern me.

First off, this was reposted by someone that thought it was a great idea. Excuse me? Are you serious? Kind of like the yellow stats they made Jews wear during WWII? That worked out so well right?

Secondly, the Snopes statement said that this was ridiculously far fetched, but based on the past (see above) seemed fairly inaccurate. I mean, I suppose forcibly tattooing 15% of the population is pretty unlikely, but I am sure people thought in the 1940’s that 6 million people wouldn’t be massacred by a single man’s hate and fear.

I remember a big poster in a classroom many decades ago about how if everyone does nothing when they come for someone else, who will be around when they come for you. (Hate that the Cops theme song just floated through my brain.) I won’t even tell you that when I tried to google this poem/writing I got countless articles written about discrimination but basically the exact opposite of what I am trying to say. People that are so indignant about everything from homosexuality, to the acceptance of single mothers. Sigh…. Anyway, I finally found it:

” First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

From Wikipedia….  First they came ... is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.

This wasn’t all of the poster…. as I recall it was longer – it talked about blacks, Jews, etc.  I wasn’t kidding about the decades here folks. And the closing was about how if we forget the past how we are destined to repeat it.  Hmmm…. Homosexuality? Islam?  Have we really learned nothing?

It just makes me sad.  I hate that we discriminate against that which we are afraid.  Why do we fear that which is different from us?  Patience and tolerance. Maybe someday.  I guess all I can do is teach my children not to be this way and spread as much love and kindness as I can.