Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Man's Inhumanity to Man: Babi Yar

"Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn." ~Robert Burns

When I was in Bible college there was a student who came to our school who had escaped from Uganda during Idi Amin's reign of butchery. I have forgotten his name, but not his story. His village (and family) had been wiped out, but he managed to survive by hiding under a pile of dead bodies until dark and then running away through the forest.

This memory was unearthed by a Facebook entry I read last night, that today is the anniversary of Babi Yar.

Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukraine where one of the world's greatest atrocities occurred. On September 29 and 30 more than 33,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis in a single event. The massacre has been acknowledged as "the largest single mass killing for which the Nazi regime and its collaborators were responsible during its campaign against the Soviet Union and is considered to be 'the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust.'"

While reading about this tragedy many recollections came to mind. One of these was an anecdote from the book Hotel Rwanda in which the narrator saw the shipments of machetes arriving in advance of the slaughter there. In other words, slaughters on this scale require organization.

At Babi Yar, there must have likewise been a significant orchestration of weapons, deceit and bulldozers, for in the end the whole thing was to be buried. That there were at least three known survivors is itself astonishing. One of these tells how she had to play dead in the midst of the dead bodies which were ultimately buried. She somehow managed to dig herself out afterwards, sharing her story in a documentary novel about this dark stain in history.

The important thing about recalling these perpetrated horrors is that they can prompt us to study history and help us recognize the circumstances which brought them about. Perhaps, too, there was no outrage because people did not know the extent to which it was happening. Or, the power of fear silenced those who were aware.

Our Founding Fathers had more than one thing right: the importance of a free press and freedom of speech.

Here is a place to learn more about Babi Yar. Let's not forget...

2 comments:

LEWagner said...

I Goggled "Preparation for Iraq War", wondering if anyone could have possibly known ahead of time, just by keeping up on the news. This is the entry that came up on top:

USATODAY.com - Israel reportedly helping with U.S. war preparation
3 Nov 2002 ... Israel reportedly helping with U.S. war preparation ... The activities are designed to help shorten any war with Iraq and keep Israel out of ...
www.usatoday.com/.../2002-11-03-israel-usat_x.htm

The war didn't start, of course, until March 2003, but the planning and propaganda started long before that.
It was quite a massacre, mostly of innocent civilians, and it's still not over. Radioactive depleted uranium litters the country, and will be there, causing cancers and birth defects, basically forever.
No WMD were ever found, nor were any Saddam Hussein ties to 9/11.
I've talk to a German several times who has spent a lot of time in the United States. He tells me that so many Americans have sarcastically asked him how Adolf has been doing, and he has to inform their grinning faces that Adolf is dead.
His spirit lives on, though, in every aggressive war based on lies, greed and bigoted hatred.

ENNYMAN said...

As regards your post in general, yes, the drums of war always precede the actions themselves. From Napoleon onward the rulers recognized a need to induce the populace into supporting whatever they have determined to do.

As regards Saddam Hussein, I was reading Castro's last autobiography (My Life, which is essentially an interview) and in the introductory remarks they were talking about Saddam Hussein. Castro strongly disliked Hussein, but after he was taken down, his attitude changed. He said, (and I paraphrase) "It is wrong to gloat when someone had fallen so low from such a great height." That is, he felt mercy toward the man.

The last anecdote is revealing and sad, too.