Hungarians, Ahmadinejad, and the Big Mac

Today, the world honours Holocaust Day. In Israel, sirens will ring out for 2 minutes to recall the millions slaughtered by the Nazis.

The official name of the day is “Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes  Remembrance Day”. This is not just a reference to those who died in the gas chambers. It refers to those who fought back as partisans or otherwise. And it recalls those true heroes, a few thousand rare individuals, who performed supreme acts of courage to save the lives of the persecuted.

Take Hungary, where the Jewish community of 400,000 humans was wiped out in months.  A few weeks ago, Yair Lapid, an Israeli journalist, attended a ceremony in Budapest, which marked the heroism of 11 non-Jewish individuals, who risked their lives to save people they did not know. Lapid’s late father, a former cabinet minister, was one of the few Hungarian Jews to survive the Holocaust.

Lapid has written that the 11 were ordinary, ordinary people. For example, a lady had realised that she was simply staring a 3 Jewish orphans. On the spot she simply decided to hide, feed, clothe and protect them, until whenever. No payment. No reward.

Why? Yair’s sister, a psychologist, provided an answer. These were people with a profound, ingrained sense of right and wrong. No indoctrination or ideology can override that.

Lapid asks if he or his readers would have done the same in similar threatening conditions. And that is obviously impossible to answer. BUT, what can we do do in less challenging situations in order to correct an injustice?

The United Nations was set up to combat hatred. This week, it is hosting its second conference against racism. The first event, held in Durban, was hijacked by totalitarian countries who poured their bile and venom onto Israel and her supporters.

The follow up meeting is being held in neutral Switzerland, the country who “lost” millions of wealth owned by Jews, who died in the Second World War. The Swiss President officially welcomed  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his Iranian counterpart. In the name of free speech, Ahmadinejad, a known Holocaust denier, let forth his opinion as the opening speaker at the conference.

So, the UN, established to counter hate, allowed the world’s prime defender of such disgusting acts to state his views in front of the world’s media. DUH!

It is difficult to find an equivalent. Maybe at the next annual vegetarians conference, the organisers should invite the CEO of McDonalds…in the name of free speech. Not quite the same, but you get the point.

All the world had to do was say: “No. This is disgusting. We the world, the UN, cannot allow this.” True 9 countries boycotted the conference. 24 walked out of Ahmadinejad’s speech. But 10 + the UN’s General Secretary remained seated.

Two of those, who sat silent in their seats, were the reps of the Vatican and Switzerland, harrowingly similar to the blacks years of the Holocaust. They had a chance to act, but their sense of “right and wrong” was found wanting.

What has the world learnt in 70 years? What hope for the fight against racism, against anti-semitism, against hatred?

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2 Comments on “Hungarians, Ahmadinejad, and the Big Mac”

  1. Michael Horesh Says:

    As my wife said:
    “…the ingrained comprehension of ‘knowing right from wrong’ is still lacking from the same people who lacked it 50 years ago. Maybe their culture is such that they will never be able to reach the moral strength of those 11 normal people, despite their knowledge of history, education and wealth….”


  2. […] 21 באפריל 2009 הונגרים, אחמדיניג'אד ו'ביג מק' Posted by תרצה הכטר under חברה 1 Comment  הבלוג מארח היום מאמר, שנכתב על ידי בן דודי, מיכאל חורש. […]


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