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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Islands In A Sea of Humanity
Morning sun and shadows drew my eyes toward islands arising from a mossy, grass threaded, leaf laced sea--granite boulders afloat, in hues of sap green, raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, a hint of Indian red. Dewy diamonds added enchantment to this land-turned ocean, in my imagination. So often I feel like a thief with my camera, trying to steal a precious moment of time--a memory all my own, something concrete to share with others as well. In truth it is gone before I've finished clicking the button, but the soullular memory remains etched in the secret spaces between skin, muscle sinew and bone, long after the sun dries the grass. With or without the photo, I can turn within and sink deep into the emotional residue of what has passed, and experience it anew with delight.
Not all memories are ones we wish to savor, nor experience ever, let alone "anew," yet to forget would be a mistake, perhaps opening a window to indifference, a door to the crime of stealing time, robbing life, from other people. Monday, May 2nd will be Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day; a day for shining light into one of the darkest shadows of our human story. Genocide continues to plague our planet, the capacity for heinous acts of cruelty and the mass murder of our human brothers and sisters in an attempt to wipe a “people” off the map, is not only history, it is an ongoing state of affairs in far too many places even as I write this. While one might say that the earth has never seen such a systematic, efficient “process of destruction” as the one constructed by the Nazi “machine,” the horrors that are still perpetrated, the dehumanization that rises up again and again throughout the world is no less horrifying and heartbreaking to me today than what happened over sixty years ago across the ocean in Europe.
So while Yom HaShoah marks the murder of six million Jews and five million non-Jews who did not meet with Nazi standards of who was suitable to live and pro-create, it is one day each year in which all of us can stop and remember the sacredness of every human being; those who are held in our collective soullular memory, those we meet today and the individuals we may meet tomorrow. It is a day that reminds us that we must always open our hearts compassionately, a day that instructs us to take the responsibility upon ourselves to teach our children and grandchildren to respect and love wholeheartedly, not just the people we like, not just the people we agree with, who look like us, speak the same language, share our political views, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, mental and physical abilities. It is a day for shining light into the dark shadows of our own prejudices, to see the beautiful array of fleshy colors that surround each of us; islands in a sea of humanity.
To honor the memories of those who have been murdered you may wish to participate in the Butterfly Effect, read a book, such as I Choose Life, the story of my friend Eve's parents, survivors of the Holocaust, or make a donation to an organization such as Save Darfur.