Reflecting on Holocaust Remembrance Day


Today I think about this unfathomable event that took the lives of 1.1 million people in a mere 5 years and affected the lives of millions more for generations to come. Perhaps I have always identified with the Holocaust because our own Tamil people of Sri Lanka were victims of genocide 40 years later. Remembering my own aunts, uncles and cousins, whom I love like my own siblings, forced to escape in the middle of the night to refugee camps, leaving well established, even affluent lives to start again with no money and worse no respect as if they were teenagers looking for a summer job. And they were the lucky ones. Indeed they know it and live grateful, faith-full lives today.


What I can do today is think about it. Remember it. Pray for those still experiencing it- this event that we remember today as well as the many victims who still live in fear of genocide that exists today. When we minimize the lives and struggles of those different than us, and this includes never thinking about them either, in this mere act or lack of action starts the process of desensitization: desensitization to dehumanization to eventually these historic tragedies.


Today (and hopefully everyday) I can watch my words and my thoughts to monitor are they reflecting love or judgement? I can look to encourage or support someone going through something. Everyone knows a someone. It’s about taking the time to step out of our own all consuming world and into the pain of someone else’s. Not with answers or solutions, just with presence. I am writing about it not because I do this naturally, but I, too, even in the profession of helping others, have to consciously remember and make time to do it. 


So do what you can in your own world, start with yourself, speak to your kids about it, create awareness that these situations existed and still exist. Even small acts that validate and acknowledge the lives and challenges of others have incredible power to bring peace and strength to someone’s world and collectively change our own.


“Many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world” Eduardo Galeano


PS: this is my last long post…stay tuned!

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© NIRO FELICIANO 2020