RememberingManolo Quezon dedicates his column today to the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, "one of the most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps." He goes on to quote Martin Niemoeller, a German pastor, in a speech to the US Congress in 1968:
"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned."
This statement should find a continuing resonance among us, even if an increasing number of Filipinos have never met a Jew, or read of Hitler, or experienced life during martial law. The politics of division and hate, of "us" against "them," that feeds on hatred and resentment of other people because of the color of their skin, the God they choose to worship, the politics they practice or the type of persons they choose to love, is one that found its most horrible expression in Germany but also bloodily attempted in Rwanda, the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, and, yes, the Philippines.
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The story so farSeptember 2004