State of the Union- Thanks Republicans

I did not know how the Republican party will respond to the president’s State of the Union address.  Well I knew how, I was just not aware of the setting.  Imagine my surprise when I saw Virginia’s newly elected governor Bob McDonnell on the floor the state of Virginia House of Delegates with an audience of three hundred.  It looked like the Mini Me version of the State of the Union.  I get the Republican sentiment that the responder has a huge disadvantage when he/she follows the president.  Well guess what, he or she is supposed to be at a disadvantage.  Its the presidential State of The Union for fuck’s sake.  He is bound by the constitution to give is, like every other president.  The response idea is a political one.  Less than 60 years old, it came to life in the age of television.  It would not be so bad if he came in, did his thing and it would be over.  But no, it was exactly like  SotU.  He walked in, shook hands, they cheered, and cheered.  And Just like the SotU they cheered every few words during the speech too.  God!!!  I had to sit through of over an hour of this watching the president, every cliché got a standing ovation.  The less substance there was in the sentence the louder and longer the applause.  Same thing for the Mini Me version.  What was intriguing however was the make up of the Mini SotU room.  While the legislature was made up of mostly white men with a decent sprinkling of women, but the governors guests were interesting.  Now of course nothing in politics is left to chance, so the governor’s guests were placed in two rows on either side of him (and some elsewhere in the room.  One row was seated, one was standing, so we all could see them.  The four in the immediate vicinity to either side of him, were visible whenever the camera showed the governor, meaning for most of the time.  A young Black woman was in the second row to the governor’s left, in front of her sat a US soldier.  To the right an Asian man stood, in front of him we saw a young white woman.  There you have it folks, the Republicans are the party of all, not just old white men.  Something interesting happened during that speech.  When talking about education and getting opportunities no matter what one’s zip code is the camera switched during the applause that followed the “zip code” words.   It switched to a young black man.  Really?  We have a Black president, but this is what we still think and show?  Kind of sad, my wife was shocked seeing this.

So thanks Republicans for that, from now I am willing to bet both parties will be doing this shit, instead of a short speech with the party talking points we will get a show too.  Just so the responding speaker can look more important, once again politics shows its always flash over substance.  Do we really need this shit?  The Republicans would be better served writing a better speech and anticipating better the speech that Obama gave.  Many of McDonnell’s talking points were exactly what Obama said just a few minutes earlier.  Tax cuts, spending freeze, off shore drilling, nuclear power, education, ect..

A few words about the real State of the Union.  The obligatory guests were there, someone from Haiti, police personnel, a highly decorated soldier of course to show that Obama loves the military.  It was a good speech in my opinion.  I wont run through the details because most of you either saw it and/or were told what you think of it by the media.  The conservative pundits told you it sucked and gave imagined justifications.  The liberal pundits told you it was just awesome, hope and change are back, or whatever they imagined, depending on what channel you tuned too.  So I don’t need to tell you.  But as I said, I thought it was a good speech, great at monuments.  He was quite funny at times, ad libbing on a couple of occasions, like when he mentioned tax cuts and said to the Republican side “I thought I would get applause for that one.”  Was good stuff.  It was impassioned at certain stages, the man still knows how to read a speech.  He was defiant at times, honest when admitting to failures.  A high point was when he singled out the Supreme Court for their recent ruling on corporate campaign contributions.  The speech had bluster of course, Democratic talking points that they can use for the up coming midterm election.  But he dealt with the most pressing issues facing America, economy, education, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, energy, healthcare.  He called out the Republicans and called them what they are, a party of “NO.”   He also called out his fellow Democrats and called them out on their ineptness.  So he did well I thought, ended strongly with both words (not literally but in spirit) and form taken out of Martin Luther King’s book.  It was compelling, hopeful, American.  Well done Mr. President, now if only the state of the Union was as good as the State of the Union.

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Thank You New York Jets

Just wanted to write how much I enjoyed watching my Jets this season.  N0w I am a typical Jets fan, in the 25 years that I have been watching this team they made the playoff all of 7 times before this season.  In those 7 seasons they have managed to win 4 playoff games.  The biggest success came in the 1998 season.  Went 12-4 and went to the AFC Championship game.  Was a great season, but it fell apart in that second half against the Broncos.  Including this season the Jets managed to have 11 winning seasons.  Managed to win 10 or more games in 5 seasons.  However, they had 6 seasons winning 4 games or less, including the brilliant Rich Kotite era when a 3-13 season was followed by 1-15.

So its not a big surprise that I approached this past season with some caution, hell I predicted us winning 4 to 6 games.  New coach, a very young and very raw quarterback.  This was not going to be pretty.  Imagine my surprise when the Jets won the first 3 games of the season.  But normal service returned in the following weeks and it was the “same old Jets” after all.  Then the very raw and new coach made some very important adjustments and things turned around again.  To be sure, he made mistakes, as did the young QB Sanchez.  But with a bit of luck and cooperation from other teams the Jets managed to sneak into the playoffs.

Then they managed to outplay and beat two very good teams.  It was brilliant.  Especially as this happened on the road.  Our rookie QB played like a veteran, everything seemed to work.  And it lasted into last Sunday against the Colts, for a whole half.  Then Payton Manning did what he does and we simply did not have the weapons to answer them.  It was that simple.  They are simply too good.  But I am still happy.  Season turned out better than I thought.  Coach Ryan manages games very well.  Mark Sanchez will become a very good QB, our defence is great to watch, and capable of great things.  We have young, exciting players.  And for the first time in years when I say, “wait till next year,” I actually mean it.  Cautiously of course, I am a Jets fan.

A note:  Superbowl will be very interesting this year, the Colts and the Saints are IMO the best teams in their respective conferences, so it should be a good game.  And both teams fully deserve to be there.  I will be rooting for the Saints, because of Brees and the whole city.  They deserve it.

Religious Leaders Are Morons

Yes, they are.  It seems that the closer one is to god (or the closer one claims to be to god), the dumber one becomes.  Yet we somehow tolerate their stupidity and the truly moronic things these people do and say.  Why?  Today’s prophets say the stupidest and hateful things.  Latest is Pat Robertson’s comment on Haiti.  Really?  There was a huge earthquake, thousands died, country is in ruins, but moron Pat says they made a pact with the devil.  So I guess that makes the earthquake ok then, screw the devil worshipping Haitians.

Screw New Yorkers, god was just punishing us on 9-11 for our sins.  The godless people of New Orleans deserved Katrina cause they wanted to have a gay parade.  What?!!  Teletubies.  The list of idiotic comments is quite long.  And its not just America’s televangelists.  The Popes have been knows to say a dumb thing or two, rabbis, imans.  I wont try to recount the dumb shit they say, that’s not why I am writing this.  What I want to know is how the hell do we let them get away with this?

If a politician said something this stupid in a civilized country, most of the time they would be out of a job.  Because their constituents do not want to be represented by a heartless cretin.  So a question to all the believers out there.  Why do you still flock and support these morons?  Now I am not religious, but am not trying to have a go.  I also understand the forgiveness concept.  But this is not the first time Robertson said something really insensitive and stupid.  Yet he is still seen as a moral authority and a leader in American Christian church.  How?  I would certainly not want to be lead by a moron.  Again, sorry for the strong language, I certainly am not having a pop at people’s beliefs, just at their so called leader.  But this is a man of authority and influence, yet he is allowed to say this and wont lose any of that influence.

Its not just him as I mentioned.  Its religious leaders all over the world.  Just because one claims to have god’s ear it does not make one god.  If they say or do something stupid there should be consequences.  Yet the flocks of believers continue to to listen to them, give them money, and let them lead them.  Again, how?!  Telling Pat Robertson to fuck off wont put anyone on god’s naughty list, you wont be going to hell because of it.  It has nothing to do with god.  We all must use our own brains and not let these cretins speak for us and in our name.  Because when they say stupid things it reflect badly on us.  They have a responsibility.  Hell they should have the moral beliefs and the compassion necessary to not even think such idiotic things.  But they do not, and we let them get away with it.  I doubt most of their flock would agree with the stupid things they say.  But they say them because we let them get away with them.  No one will walk out of a church or a synagogue or a mosque because their religious leader said something stupid.  And frankly that is a shame.  It shows we have no more courage or love for our fellow man than they do.  Perhaps its true, we do get the leaders we deserve.  Because they would not be on television or on pulpits is we did not let them say these things.

Who Really Won World War Two?

Who Really Won?

On the 1st of September 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland.  Two days later Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, and thus begun the Second World War.  The biggest and most deadly conflict in out planet’s history.  In short time it engulfed 3 continents, its participants came from every continent bar Antarctica.  It lasted 6 years and one day, it was not until September the 2nd of 1945 that Japan surrendered.  Countless millions perished, hundreds of cities were turned to ruins.  But who actually gained from the conflict?  Who achieved their aims?

In the strictest military sense all those on the side of the Allies won.  Germany was defeated, Italy surrendered and Imperial Japan finally gave up after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on two of Japan’s cities.  All their puppet states and allied nations like Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, surrendered.  So every year since 1945 those who fought on the side of the Allies celebrate VE and VJ days.  However not many have a lot to celebrate.  At least until recently.

War brings change.  And a significant geopolitical change followed WWII.  The world looked much different than it did just six short years earlier.  Borders we realigned, countries went missing, some new ones appeared, everyone needed new maps.  Empires died in the aftermath of WWII, the so called victors lost most of their territories.  It seems that from all of the participants there were only two nations who actually WON World War II.  Yes it came at a great price, and to the victors should go the spoils, but we are led to believe that there were more than two victors.  Hell tens of nations have parades and commemorations every year, celebrating the defeat of the Axis powers.  Great.  But lets look at what they actually won.

Take Poland for example, you know that country in the center of Europe that everyone went to war over.  Yes, that one, the one Germans invaded and the Brits and the French would not allow to perish.  Well in the end it turned out to be a bit more than just a fight for Danzig.  But that’s where it started.  So what did Poland get for losing almost 6 million of its citizens, for having many of its cities in ruins, for 5 years of brutal occupation, for losing its best and brightest?  Well it lost some of its most Polish cities like Lvow and Vilno, it lost its eastern territories.  To be fair Uncle Joe and Roosevelt gave Poland some of Germany’s territories, richer, more developed.  But Poland also lost its freedom, because the price for Breslau and Stettin was 45 years of brutal communist rule under the yoke of Stalin and his successors.  Poland’s legitimate government became exiled, its best and brightest (those whom Hitler did not manage to murder) were thrown in jails or gulags, were tortured, murdered, made paupers, were exiled.  Hooray for Poland for losing almost 20% of its population in fighting the Nazi menace.  Well that’s one country that did not enjoy victory as much as it should.

But its only Poland, so who cares, even if it was the fourth largest contributor to the fight against the Nazis, it was not seen as a serious country that mattered much.  Lets look at real powers, those who stood with Poland.  Yes, the major powers of great Britain and France won WWII.  Only to lose most if their influence and power and their empires.  Now the last of those was a good thing, freedom is great.  But I doubt that is how the French and the Brits envisioned their victories.  Lets keep going shall we.  The Baltic states ceased to exist alltogether, they were swallowed by the Soviet Union.  Yugoslavia did ok, but it fell under Tito and his murderers.  Belgium and Holland also lost whatever was left of their empires soon after WWII.  Iceland became a protectorate of the United States instead of Denmark.  Norway managed to make out ok, but Finland, pushed under Hitler’s protection by Stalin lost some of its territories.

The nations allied with Great Britain, New Zeeland, Australia, Canada, South Africa, got just a thank you.  Asia became one big mess, Korea is still divided to this day, half of it still under a despotic maniac always on the brink of starvation to say nothing of oppression.  China, already in a civil war lost millions and fell under the Red menace.  Vietman was divided.  All this just for a promise from Uncle Joe to declare war on Japan.  What a deal.  Easiest victory ever.

The Soviet Union did fight, and gallantly too, but before it did lets remember something.  It made a pact with Hitler allowing him to start WWII, it also invaded Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  Soviet judges then presided over Nazi generals and tried them for waging wars of aggression, you can’t make this stuff up.  Soviet Union it appears, was allied with Nazi Germany!!!  Yes.  But it managed to do this in a way that Allied powers did not see it as an enemy.  Hell even the Poles hardly fought the Red Army after it invaded.  Then when Hitler invaded the USSR the commies became part of the Allies.  The Allies bent over backwards to accommodate the Soviets, sacrificing whole nations to please Uncle Joe.  Now I get realpolitik and understand why it was done.  I too would probably say what Churchill said about the communists.  Fair enough.  But there it something fundamentally wrong with this picture.

So what did Uncle Joe get for allying himself with Adolf and then being betrayed by him?  Well he got the Baltic States, gained territories from Poland, Germany, Romania, Finland, China, and Japan, also, control of Easter Europe, and parts of Asia.  Did I miss anyone?  The Soviet Union became a proper empire, with control of large parts of the world and influence that outgrew anything they could have imagined.  Its amazing, a truly genius political move.  they helped start WWII and got rewarded in the end.  They did not even want to switch sides.  Stalin was quite willing to see Hitler’s Germany destroy large parts of Europe and the world before he would actually do anything.  But Hitler was an idiot, and the commies won.

The other victors were the Americans.  While they did not receive major territories for their troubles they did gain influence.  The isolationist America became a leading world power.  Its influence was truly worldwide.  Its only challenger was the Soviet Union.  Instead of letting the world burn on its own, America developed alliances all over the globe.  The world became polarized between the forces of democracy led by the United States and the forces of communism, those were of course led by the Kremlin.  Fortunately the  Cold War is over now.  Most of the places touched by WWII have once again become free and can finally truly celebrate.

However, for decades there were only two places that could really celebrate on May 9th and September the 2nd.  And those were Washington DC and Moscow.  Because for all their sacrifice and blood in defeating the Nazi menace most other nations were not really victorious.  Its not true that there are no victors in war, but there are not as many as we like to believe.

Man on a Barrel-Beginning of the Holocaust

Man on a Barrel

Dehumamization

Dehumanization

In one of Hanna Krall’s books Marek Edelman recalls a scene he witnessed.  It’s a story of a man on a barrel.  It’s straightforward, not particularly shocking, considering what happened later, on the surface it would seem almost humorous and not note worthy.  But it wasn’t.

Marek Edelman recalls a scene on the streets of German occupied Warsaw.  It was not long after the conquest of Poland.  The Warsaw Ghetto did not exist yet.  A crowd (mainly Jewish) gathered around a barrel on Żelazna Street.  A normal wooden barrel.  On this barrel there was a short old Jew who had a long beard.  Two German officers (Dr. Edelman does not specify whether they were SS or Wehrmacht, or police, not that it mattered really), using big tailoring scissors were cutting off his beard.  They were laughing, as was a large part of the crowd, the rest simply looked on.  Objectively speaking, according to Dr. Edelman the scene was comical, like a movie gag.  There was nothing really frightening happening.  An old, funny looking man had his beard cut off.  There was no Ghetto then, no starvation, no Treblinka, no Holocaust, just one old man who was losing his beard.  No big deal.

It was then that Marek Edelman decided to never let himself “be put on a barrel” by anyone, anytime.  It is also thanks to that barrel that Treblinka became possible.  It was one of the first steps in perpetrating on of the biggest crimes in human history.  And it started with a man on a barrel, or a sign in a shop window, a speech, a law, a wall, a gate, a train, a sealed car.  Great crimes against humanity do not start with a Treblinka or an Auschwitz, or a death march, or Srebrenica.  They start with little things.

Yes, the Holocaust was a result of something.  It did not just happen.  It had its genesis, it was a “logical” conclusion to a deliberate policy of dehumanization of a certain people.  In this case it was the Jews.  And in that the Holocaust is both unique and common at the same time.  It is unique because an innocent people were condemned to senseless slaughter for no logical reason, just hatred, and murdered with industrial German efficiency.  It is also common because while the Jews were victims of the Holocaust, there were other nations who suffered similar tragic fate.  Do not misunderstand, I am not trying to belittle the tragedy and importance of the Shoah.  I have studied the Holocaust for sometime and I grieve for the victims as if they were my own family, but this could happen to any people.  In fact it did, not on the same scale, but that was not through lack of effort.  And that is what makes the Holocaust even more tragic.  If it was only a one time occurrence then we could all grieve, learn and move on to better things.  But it was not.  We grieved, we moved on, but we never learned.

And that is one of the greatest tragedies of the Holocaust.  “Never Again” turned out to be just an empty slogan, and as slogans go, this one was even more meaningless than most.  We have learned nothing.  And we let other peoples suffer genocide, and we watched.  We did not even have the pathetic (and false) excuse of not knowing.  We watched and let it happen.  Great evil happens not when bad people commit evil acts, but when good people let them.  Most watched idly, some because there was nothing they could do, but cry for the victims.  Most however did not even shed a tear.  Some were relieved that it was not them or their people suffering.  Some others who could do something, did nothing.  Most of the world did not want to fight for Danzig, and they sure as hell were not going to die for the Jews.  Allied propaganda purposefully kept quiet about what it knew of the Shoah.  And they did know.  Reports of the Jews’ suffering reached the Allies as early as 1940.  They were regular and detailed.  Jan Karski, a Polish Armia Krajowa (Home Army) courier even went to Belzec Death Camp dressed as a guard so he could give a personal testimony of what he saw.  Before his last trip to the West he received a report from inside the Warsaw Ghetto and spoke with anyone who listened in London and in America.  Everyone knew.  No one did a damned thing.  They used to old excuse that by winning the war they would stop the Holocaust.  Meanwhile 6 million people got slaughtered.

Six million, such an artificial number.  Its almost unimaginable.  And it does not convey the true meaning and pain of the Holocaust.  Its easier to think about such a huge number than about the individuals.  Yes six million sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers.  How do you fit six million in your head.  Well, you don’t.  It becomes arbitrary, a statistic, hardly ever leaving the plain of mathematics.   Just like Eichmann we stop seeing the people, instead we see numbers.  Its not real.  Can we grieve for six million people?  How many tears are enough?  How many nightmares does it take to understand?  We see historians arguing over the exact number killed, 5.8 million, 5.9 million, 6, more than 6.  Each number looks like a math problem.  But they were not math problems, or statistics, they were people.  People who laughed, who cried, some were great people, some were undoubtedly pretty shitty individuals.  Some were happy, some sad.  Some loved and were loved by others.  Some were lonely.  Some were good looking.  Some ugly as sin.  Some were brilliant, others could hardly read or write.  How do you think about the Shoah?

Most of us don’t think about it at all, and worst of all, don’t care at all.  Just as when it was happening, we look away.  I heard many times a complaint that “we get it already!!!  We know, now shut up and lets move on, enough with this Holocaust!!!”  Do we?  Do we really get it when we talk and think like that?  When we are tired of “constantly” being reminded of the Holocaust.  Actually we don’t get it at all.  We did not want to watch about Srebrenica or Rwanda either.  Its not very pleasant to watch it on TV while we’re eating.  So we switch the channel to a game show, an action movie, a comedy show, anything, as long as we don’t have to watch the unpleasant pictures.  And we don’t want to learn about the Holocaust.  We are all experts, we know the number 6 million.  We know the names of Hitler, Eichmann, Auschwitz.  We know, shut up already.  It happened a long time ago, in some far away place most of us couldn’t find on a map.  Every once in a while a movie comes out, some more inspiring than others.  Some good, some not so good.  And we see it as a movie.  Hell, we watched movies about the end of the world, nuclear destruction, zombies even.  Some story about some people dying wont move us at all.  We marvel at the powerful scenes in some of those movies.  Sometimes we cry.  But then again, we cried when Bambi’s mother was shot.  A fucking cartoon got as many tears as 6 million people!!!

Yes, a cartoon of a cute, well drawn animal made us cry.  Did that old Jew make any of you cry?  Probable not.  After all he was only getting his beard cut off.  He looked silly anyway.  What we don’t think about is what happened to him after he finally got off that barrel.  He might have been shot right after.  Or he was let go.  Later he was forced to live in an overcrowded Ghetto.  Probably surviving on 200 calories per day.  Until he, if he was lucky, got sick and died of typhoid fever.  If he was not so lucky he went to Umschlagplatz.  There he waited for the train to arrive.  He might have been beaten, or not.  Maybe he was with his family.  Or maybe his family had already perished.  Then he was herded onto the train.  Inside a cattle car, stuffed, with not even a room to sit.  He might have suffocated in that train car.  A body standing until his co-victims were let out onto a ramp, which led into a camp, which lead into a changing room.  He might have survived all those long hours on the train.  And he was led into that room.  There he was told to strip.  And with hundreds of others he was led into a “delousing room.”  The doors were shut.  And gas came in.  He was not the first to die, he heard screaming, prayers, scratching.  Maybe he prayed himself, to his unmerciful god.  A god that wouldn’t let him be shot, or die of Typhoid, or suffocate inside a train car.  A god that let him hear the screams.  His own scream was the loudest.  Or maybe he was quiet, dignified.  He just went away into the night.

One of the aforementioned possibilities had an over 90% chance of happening.  Just imagine.  Out of over 3 million Polish Jews, over 90% ended up like that old man.  Just think about that.  Take the 10 closest members of your family, or 10 of your closest  friends, and imagine 9 of them dead!  Yes, nine.  Nine out of ten.  Your grandparents (lets assume you have all 4), both your parents, two of your uncles, one sister.  All dead.  Only you survived.  You have no family any more.  That is the scale of suffering.  Not some arbitrary number we can not even begin to imagine.  But a person.  Each had his own story.  Each suffered a fate none of us would wish upon our worst enemies.  And that is how it started, with a barrel.  It ended on a death bed, or a street, or a train car, or in a forest, or a gas chamber.  Each story is unique.  Did you hear about a doctor administering poison to her patients?  It was an act of mercy.  No, they were not terminally ill.  Or were they?  Their illness was that they were Jews, condemned to die in a horrific way.  Instead, the few lucky ones died peacefully in a hospital.  Did you hear of the beautiful 19 year old girl who went willingly because she saw her mother on her way to the Umschlagplatz?  She left her boyfriend standing there on the corner, and just went.  She did not want her mother to go through that alone.  Did you hear about the head doctors and managers of shop forced to give “life tickets” (as it turned out most were temporary anyway) to some of their workers while condemning those who did not get them to certain death?  How would you like to be the one who decides who lives and who dies?  Did you hear of Dr. Korczak and a few teachers and nurses who went willingly and knowingly to the gas chambers with the group of children in their care.  They sung songs with them as they were marching to their death.  Just so the children would not be afraid.  Is that sadder than Bambi?  Or do we not want to hear about this any more?

Does it make them too human?  Can you imagine yourself walking with those children, singing, knowing that you will die a horrible death?  Can you imagine not eating for 3 or 5 days?  Can you imagine real hunger?  Can you imagine being afraid all day, every day?  Once, in an interview Marek Edelman went off (he never was too shy to say what he felt) on a couple of reporters who asked him why these people went willingly to Umschlagplatz just on a promise of a couple of loaves of bread.  Yes in the beginning the Germans wanted the Jews to have an illusion.  That illusion was they they were being moved to a work camp.  And who in their right mind would waste bread if they were going to kill them.  So they went with the illusion.  Would you go, willingly?  What if you were offered bread?  Imagine real hunger.  No, not I missed breakfast and will be having a late lunch hunger.  But I have been surviving on 200 calories for months and have not eaten at all for 3 days hunger.  Well to be honest we can’t.  Hardly any of us know what real hunger is.  So we can’t relate.  But we can empathize.  What about the Ghetto policeman, or a Kapo in a camp?  Or a Sonderkomando?  You know those guys who on a promise of being kept alive pulled all those bodies out of the gas chambers and carried them onto carts, then pushed the carts to the crematoria, and threw them into the ovens.  Those guys?  Could we understand them?  Or the Ghetto Policemen, armed with truncheons, they would go out, each given the task of bringing 5 people to Umschlagplatz.  Can we judge them?  Can we say they did wrong?  They were complicit?  Are we capable of judgement over these people?  In the United States a person is judged by a jury of his peers.  Are we really their peers if we can not understand them.  Or care enough to listen about them?  Or even want to?

We hardly think of them as humans.  They are just some stories and numbers.  They don’t have names or faces.  Just as the others who senselessly perished.  Millions of us went to see Transformers.  Not many saw Hotel Rwanda.  Millions buy Dan Brown’s tripe.  Not many read stories, of real people.  And in doing that we become complicit.  Our indifference made the Holocaust possible.  Indifference is worst than the hatred people feel for one another.  They at least have some reason, irrational or not, that’s immaterial.  But they have some “justification” for their feelings.  We on the other hand do not.  We don’t hate.  And as good people that most of us are, we see the Holocaust as an evil thing.  So the question is, why the hell was it allowed to happen?  How the hell could good people allow this to happen?  How could good people just watch, with indifference as others died?  How could we then just say “enough of this already?”  And then we watch as others die?  We get mad when others attack us.  We want to fight.  We go off to Afghanistan and fight.  Great.  But what if we were not strong enough to fight back?  What if others came and started killing us for no reason?  What if others just watched as we got slaughtered?  What if someone put you on a barrel?  While others laughed, or just watched?  You think it can’t happen to you?  Can’t it?  Whatever you are, white, red, yellow or black, it can.  Short, tall, skinny or fat, it can.  Blond, or dark haired.  Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Atheist, it can.  Conservative, or liberal, it can.  Because I guarantee you, whatever the hell you are, there is someone out there who hates you for no reason.  He too does not think of you as a human.  You’re just an object of hate to him.  Not a real person.  He read some book or watched a movie, or heard a story that you are his enemy.  And one day, if he is strong enough, and gets a chance, he will put you on that barrel.  And no one will care.  And no one will cry.