I haven't posted in over a month, which is absolutely terrible; I need to really kick my backside into gear!
the reason for this post is to talk about an event and a location that I simply cannot get out of my head. as of yesterday, I became an ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust, thanks to a four-part course by the LFA Project (Lessons from Auschwitz) which included a one-day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland last Thursday, and life changing doesn't even come close. I've been in a very strange mood ever since, hovering between being realising how utterly grateful I am for the luck we have today, extremely angry that genocide, hatred and racism still exists today, and haunted by everything I saw there. there are some images that one can simply not get of one's head.
people have asked, "did you have a good time? what was it like?" I simply don't know what to say, where to begin, it's hard to think of words that could possibly describe it. how do you describe that you stood in the first gas chamber, where over 2000 people perished and lead to millions more? how do you describe how you walked home over the footsteps of thousands torn away from their loved ones, sent to their deaths? it's so overwhelming to think of the numbers and makes it simply a statistic, but standing in front of a case filled to the brim with the hair of 45,000 women who died, or seeing the shoes and clothes of little children makes you realise that behind every number there was an individual; behind every object, there was a life that was torn away thanks to hatred. it's hard to imagine yourself in the position, and in a way, it makes you appreciate those you love even more, to the point where you realise how unbelievably heart-wrenching it would be to lose them.
and scarily enough, illogical, irrational, and ignorant hatred still exists today. in the UK, there's political far right-winged organisations who, if they had their way, would incite even more hatred, who would be the beginning of the path of yet another Holocaust. and yet typically, they deny that the genocide of 6 million people ever happened. I doubt any of them could spout such nonsense if they stood before a starvation cell, or the train tracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
it's a sight I think everyone should see, because it makes you realise how incredibly fortunate we are to live in a world where free speech is a human right, and to try and help those without that luck.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."