The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
Last night, as I sat through our synagogue's Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, I was overcome with emotion. Not surprising, I know. Except, aside from the content presented, and absorbing the enormity of the occasion, I found myself mourning another type of loss. I uncovered it as I listened to an articulate teenager describe his visit to Poland and walking through his Zayde's old town, visiting a synagogue, and the comfort of experiencing some of his history and ancestors' reality. My sisters and I will likely never experience that and never feel that connection. As the daughters of an Iraqi immigrant, we have no option of visiting our father's birthplace, of connecting with the current Jewish community in the country, sitting in the synagogue he prayed in as a child. After Israel became the Jewish state, the Jewish community was ousted, after being stripped of all their worldly possessions. One suitcase per person, of essentials, that was still rummaged and looted. My grandfather's small notebook with all the important dates (birth dates, to be exact) was taken and destroyed. Family photographs were confiscated. None of my grandmother's precious jewelry survived the trip. My father, the proudest and most private man I've ever met, has never been able to discuss those experiences with us. And now, at 87 years of age, barely remembers the details.
As we mourn those who perished in Europe, let's also remember that evil has prevailed elsewhere. And while the majority of people recognize the horrors European Jews suffered at the hand of the Nazis, the genocide the Armenians underwent at the hand of the Turks, and the ethnic cleansing of entire Jewish communities in the Middle East continue to be denied or ignored.