Something To Think About | Teen Ink

Something To Think About MAG

By Anonymous

   This year social studies has been a very aggravating class. I enjoy the course immensely, but unfortunately there are some kids who truly ruin it by constantly disrupting the class with their talk and laughter. I, as well as a number of others, have watched them in silence, never uttering a word at their stupidity until a short time ago. We were sitting through a lesson on the Holocaust, when the group started again. This irked me, as usual. The teacher informed us that among the millions who died during the Holocaust some were homosexuals. This was met by a number of nasty comments. I am not a homosexual, but I have tried to understand them. The first thing to realize is that they are human beings, and those who died in the Holocaust suffered grisly deaths like any Jew or gypsy. That they should mock such unfortunate individuals made my blood boil. As the lesson continued, the remarks grew nastier until finally my anger spilled.

"Let me say something, " I shouted above the ruckus. My anger then suddenly turned to sadness as I turned to the group and said:

"I cannot understand this. How could you possibly sit here knowing that so many people died and joke about it, and not care? I mean ..."

What followed were flustered words, many of which I cannot recall. I did end up feeling quite shaken and infinitely sad. When I got home, I thought about the messages I had wanted to convey. This is what I would have said:

"What amazes me is your audacity to sit and listen with half an ear and not take such a topic a little more seriously. I am not accusing you of being Nazi sympathizers, nor am I saying you should dress in black and mourn for each life lost in the Holocaust. But look at your clothes, the food you eat and your homes. Now imagine it all being taken away because you are Jewish, African-American, Asian or some other difference. Imagine what you would be thinking as you count the days until your death. I don't know what you would be thinking, but I would make some final wishes. I would ask never to be forgotten, that my name and identity would remain long after I died. But there were so many other people dying, and I would only become a part of the 12 million people who would die. So I would ask that these 12 million nameless faces and the horrible atrocities be remembered, so that if society survived, it would know not to let such a horrible thing happen ever again.

"Unfortunately when people forget, history repeats itself. And we are slowly, but surely forgetting ...

"Another Holocaust can happen at any time. You would be surprised how many bigots there are out there, waiting to seize power with massive genocide projects as Hitler did. The Holocaust ended over 50 years ago, you might say AWe are much more civilized, and must less ignorant.' But what was the Khmer Rouge doing in Cambodia in the 1970s? The fact is we, the world, are just as susceptible to genocide as we were back in World War Two. Prejudice is a component of humankind, one that we have been trying to root out and destroy. The process takes a long time, however, and cannot be accomplished without understanding and respecting the Holocaust.

"You might think you understand the Holocaust, but you do not. How do I know? You are not listening. You may not mean to ridicule the Holocaust by laughing, but your lack of reverence tells me much. The Holocaust was one of the most tragic events in not just European history, but the history of mankind. Twelve million people died, each like you, having known the joys and sorrows in life. They all died, sharing in their last moments a loss of hope for humanity. Only when one realizes its true meaning can he/she understand and respect it. At this realization, one would not be laughing. One would be listening."

It was disturbing and frightening to see how unconcerned people can be. The one question that ran through my mind (and continues to) is, "Where is humanity going?" The true meaning of learning and thinking is slowly vanishing. Existentialist ideas are being replaced with, "I have to get my hair done next week." The ability to permeate thoughts of superficial quality is fading with the passing of time.

A while ago, I read "The Hollow Men," by T.S. Eliot. The beginning of this poem perfectly describes what I fear we are becoming:

"We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless. ?

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i love this so much!