What do we really mean when we say "never again"?
Since the expression came into vogue after the Holocaust, the world has experienced countless genocides, from northern Congo to Cambodia’s killing fields to the Rwandan massacres. We can't seem to stop the killing. Worse, we don't seem to care. Indifference, the real culprit as Elie Wiesel has pointed out, is pervasive and systemic. But what is at the root of it?
Sadly, I fear that it is not so much aloofness as racism that drives this apathy. We are afflcited with the worst kind of prejudice: that which forgives the actions of a group because "they can't help it;" that which condescends to allow immoral behaviour because presumably not everyone can be expected to live up to the white man's morality.
Across Africa, thousands have suffered - murdered, raped, deliberately starved - with barely a blip in the world press. As the conflict continues to claim victims in the Sudan, we change the channel and turn the page. I hate to ask an uncomfortable question, but what is the source of your indifference?
Moreover, I think that for too long, we've made the mistake of allowing "never again" to hover over us like a hypothetical ideal for future age. If "never again" is to have any meaning, it must be reinvented as a call to arms. We must make "never again" mean "not now." And it must apply universally.
See my sidebar for links to information pages, petitions, emails and educational handouts on Darfur and what you can do right now.