Remembering Kristallnacht: It starts with apathy

  • Article by: ALEJANDRO BAER
  • Updated: November 9, 2012 - 5:59 PM

The events of Kristallnacht teach a valuable lesson. They show that a modern society can become numbed to the fate of its minorities.

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goferfanzNov. 9, 12 6:22 PM

So, for all the alleged 2012 election hoopla, 100 million citizens choosing NOT to vote-->is that the indifference this author is citing? One cant really begrudge a victorious President Obama when Romney only needed to get a few million more citizens to do their civic duty.

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swmnguyNov. 9, 12 9:10 PM

These atrocities against minorities of whatever sort happen not just through apathy. The majority, most of whom probably have decent values, have to be beaten down into a feeling of being beleaguered and threatened on all sides, and vulnerable to personal harm if they say anything. There must be constant warnings of dangers real and imagined, and everyone must feel that they are at risk of losing their livelihoods, if not their lives, due to all those dangers.

It's fear, as much as apathy. We would do well to keep a sharp eye on those who encourage us to be fearful and focus our fears on the "others" among us.

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frfinbarrNov. 10, 1212:14 AM

The old story of the frog in the warming pot applies to each individually and to all of us as a society. Every age has its moral blind spots. We are obliged to ask ourselves, "What are ours?"

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loop80Nov. 10, 12 1:50 AM

I find it relevant to this story to note that Shelby County Indiana today filed a challenge to the 1965 Voting rights act, citing "such racism is history now". Note the voter id attempts of this election, the robo-calls calling minority areas, telling them the election is on Wednesday. Listen to non-mainstream news, or read comments and tweets this week and try to claim that. In 1930's Germany, they were in the throes of deep depression. Throughout history, during economic downturns, scapegoating minorities occurs. Here is today's news: "Shelby County's case alleges that Section 5 threatens state sovereignty by forcing every city and county in covered areas to get permission to move a polling place or redraw district lines, for example. The areas were singled out by Congress 47 years ago because of their record of blatant discrimination against blacks at the ballot box. Such racism is history now, the states argue." SEVEN states are backing this challenge. Remember the lessons of history. Will you be apathetic and just let the incremental steps happen?

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liora51Nov. 10, 12 3:24 AM

Actually, gopherfanz, swmnguy said it perfectly. It IS fear, and the apathy that comes from a belief that our lives are threatened by those who are different from us. Demagogues appeal to the emotions, prejudices, and ignorance of frightened people in order to gain power. They demand immediate, usually violent, responses to perceived threats and characterize moderation and taking time to determine facts as a weakness. And demagoguery occurs across the political spectrum, which is why compromise and candidates that are only slightly left or right of center are the healthy choice for our country.

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loop80Nov. 10, 12 3:46 AM

"First they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me"

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Jakein08Nov. 10, 12 5:22 AM

Could obvious GOP attempts to block minorities from voting be the start of this in America?

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tonyrozyckiNov. 10, 12 6:45 AM

Cortez was a new minority when he arrived in the new world with his brothers. Should the majority have been more tolerant of the new arrivals even though they were a little different? Have you heard Brook Benton's song about the Boll Weevil... "just looking for a home"?

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nonewtaxesNov. 10, 12 6:56 AM

It can happen again. We don't learn from history.

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roscoe2511Nov. 10, 12 7:07 AM

goferfanz- Come on! Comparing apathy towards imposing hate, violence, and genocide to voter apathy? Really? It is ridiculous to put those 2 together here.

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