History repeats itself

By Joe Rector

For some reason, I feel as if my writing has been more on rants than lighter topics. I’d like that to change, but too many topics cry out for attention. The most recent topic deals with the latest Holocaust news. It seems that history repeats itself.

According to CBS’s “Sixty Minutes,” Father Patrick Desbois has taken upon himself the task of discovering unmarked mass graves of Jews who were slaughtered at the hands of German death squads. For thirteen years he and his team have traveled to meet with villagers across Eastern Europe. There, he listens as they tell the tales of mass murder with all its horror.

The priest said that the witnesses were children at the time, and some were even chosen by the Nazis to dig up graves to retrieve gold from teeth, jewelry, and clothing. Debois also made the observation that people can act differently in the most deadly situations.

He said, “I learned that you like to see other people dying in front of you, killed by other people, when you are sure you will not be killed.”

Thousands upon thousands of butchered individuals are being added to the 5-6 million Jews who were recorded as being murdered by the Nazis. To my surprise, research indicated that the entire Jewish population living in Europe at the time was only 9 million. Had Hitler’s hate for Jews not been stopped, the entire Jewish people would have been eradicated from this world.

I think of all the soldiers who gave their lives in the war against the Nazis, and have in the past. I’ve wondered if such a huge sacrifice was worthwhile. We eventually entered World War II when it became clear that Europe could not defend itself. Young men traveled across the ocean to fight on land that wasn’t their native soil. So many of them never made the return trip and left heartbroken families.

After learning more about what Germany’s maniacal leader and blood-thirsty killers did, the answer is clear that the sacrifice was honorable and right. We in the world owe those men all of our gratitude, for they stopped a man hell-bent on racial cleansing.

Today, the world faces the same kind of threat. ISIS, which stands for Islamic State, is intent on once again cleansing the world of all who don’t measure up to the strict standards of the group. They’ve begun the same kinds of activities that the Nazis used: overtaking cities and killing all who oppose them. This time, Christians are major targets. We’ve heard horror stories of the indiscriminate killing of people. The Internet and some television stations air the beheading of individuals who were innocent of any crime. As bad as this, the terrorists in ISIS vow to destroy all relics and historic sites as they aim to erase the past accomplishments of great civilizations.

So far, the world has stood back and allowed ISIS to have free reign in Syria and other areas close to it. The flood of refugees continues as the strength and power of the organization increases. Leaders call for summits to discuss the problem, but they seem not at all committed to putting an end to things. Russia’s Putin pledges 150,000 troops to stop ISIS for good, but his bombing runs have done nothing but attack groups opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad without touching ISIS forces.

The rest of the world must find the courage to confront ISIS. That means sending troops, arms, and supplies to the region. It also means being as ruthless as the enemy when battles break out. The threat that the terrorist organization brings must be ended, and that means that all countries opposed to the spread of such radical violence and intolerance must willingly send soldiers and money to cause.

If our world is too afraid to fight or if countries aren’t willing to fight to the fullest extent to exterminate the evil known as ISIS, then we might again see the rise of another group that believes all who don’t agree or don’t have the right genetic make-up must die. I hope our leaders have the backbone and resolve to stop a growing cancer known as ISIS. The balance of history might well hang in the decision. If we haven’t learned from history, we surely will live to repeat it.

 

 

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