Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a Protestant pastor who
spoke out against Adolf Hitler and and the Nazis. He spent the 7 years in concentration camps at the end of the war.
Here is his oft-quoted poem:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
I have watched several movies this weekend, including the Book Thief, and several documentaries and will be writing about them this week.
I was reminded of this poem after watching the movies and then reading about these crazy metal or cement spikes that are be placed in areas that are often places the homeless frequent in articles on the internet. According to a couple of things online, (yes, I am going to do some more research into this) there is a war on “cleaning up” desirables… the homeless. No one seems to be out there fighting for our aging society, for small business owners, for our children, for education, for women. I don’t know if I see more hatred out there or if it is just in our faces because of the evolution of media and social media.
Though, let’s admit it… hatred, xenophobia, scarcity mentality, and sociopathy. Go back in literature, watch movies, television shows. We’ve been blood thirsty, we’ve been nationalistic, taken sides with religious fervor. In our country alone, we killed African American males by giving them Syphilis, we robbed and massacred First People’s, fenced in Asians, sterilized those who are disabled, and laughed when AIDS was spreading through the “gay community”, etc. Now, we fear that the government will take away our arms and leave us vulnerable rather than thinking about the innocents that are being shot or could be shot on the playground, park, or Target store.
Who will we be someday? Will we hide someone in a basement? Will we give up our bread? Will we watch on the net and televisions as peaceful Occupy protestors are beaten?
We all sat and watched in horror the events of 9/11. . . disgusted that someone’s hatred could take so many innocents. . . what about the innocents or helpless that are in danger today? Can we get past our fear, hatred, and trauma to see “the Other” as one of us?