Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yom HaShoah and Searing Remembrances

Recently I watched from afar as my good friend journeyed to Rwanda.  She was drawn there, to this African country to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and the noble work of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.  She is the daughter of a man, hidden during the Holocaust, but who as an adult reclaimed the forgotten Jewish memories torn from her father and slaughtered with her paternal grandparents.  And now she traveled to the sites where one million Tutsi were murdered by their neighbors, the Hutu, in the span of one hundred days.  They were not killed in gas chambers but by hand with machetes and clubs.

Philip Gourevitch observed in The New Yorker (April 21, 2014), “A lot of Rwandans will tell you that all through mourning week they are prone to bad and bitter feelings. For those who were there in 1994, during the genocide, memory can feel like an affliction, and the greater imperative has often been to learn how to forget enough for long enough to live in the present for the rest of the year. And for those who were not yet born—more than half the country today—what does it mean to be told to remember?”  

Indeed, what does it mean to remember?

Last week as well the Internet was abuzz with reports of renewed antisemitism in the Ukraine....  

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