Action Card - March 2018
Creating a just society and world
In January we remembered those who died in the Holocaust of World War Two and the question of why such a horror was possible has been raised yet again.
Why do people kill people?
Professor Christopher Browning, an American academic, has offered some very challenging answers to that question. Those who killed were a wide cross section of people, of all classes and educational backgrounds. They were not monsters but ordinary people. Professor Browning has divided them into three main groups: those who did as they were told, those who didn’t kill but who supported what was going on and those who enjoyed killing. The latter group was a small minority of people but there is no evidence that they were psychopaths.
The suggestion is that we have to look at how people do things in groups which they wouldn’t do alone. Most people tend to conform to the climate they are living in and to what is going on. It has been observed that the camp guards changed when they put on their uniforms and became part of the group of camp guards.
The obvious challenge arising from this research is the challenge to every person to strive to make the societies they live in honest, free, equal and just for every person, so that most people will strive towards what is good, honest and even noble.
And in today’s world we move out from our families to our communities, our nation and to the world, where more than a hundred million people are homeless.
There are a million refugees in Gaza alone, and thousands of them are children, mostly children with no clear water. It is impossible to know the number of refugees in and around Iraq and Syria.
If our families, communities, country and world are to be part of our concern and if we are to make a difference we must recognise that we ourselves can’t do very much alone. Our own learning and commitment to work for justice must be shared as widely as possible. We must learn and also teach. We must work for a brave society, where evil cannot easily happen and where there is help for those who suffer, including refugees and all homeless people.
Daniel Finkelstein’s mother and aunt met Anne and Margot Frank in Belsen. He has pointed out that now the world weeps for Anne Frank but at the time of her death there was no help. There was no help for the people of Rwanda in 1994 when the genocide broke out there. There is little help for the people of Syria now.
Professor Aubrey Newman has said that many people ask the question,
‘Where was God during the Holocaust?’
He suggested that a more appropriate question might be,
‘Where was humanity?’
Where indeed were and are we all in the face of suffering in our world?
Write to your MP and ask for injustices in the UK and in the world to be raised.
Today - raise the issue of the people of Syria who are refugees or are being murdered as we watch.
Pray for all people who face injustice and death, for those who oppress them and for those who stand by.