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Statement by Ernesto Kahan MD, Israel Physicians for Peace and Preservation of the Environment
Peace Movement AotearoaPO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173, email@example.com
12 April 1999
Today, is the Holocaust Memorial Day... People in Israel and I are remembering the past, the enormous and unimaginable suffering of the victims of the Nazi regime 50 years ago.
Although nothing is comparable to the programmed and systematic industrial killing machinery implemented by the German's SS and their allies the Nazi doctors, I think about the present and all what happened during this half century. Obviously, after such a traumatic experience humankind should have avoided any new further genocide. However, dozens occurred in almost every continent. Even now, several communities are confronting collective assassination just because they belong to a specific ethnic, nationality, religion or culture.
The human experience of the XX Century is enough wide to teach us, the modern society, why those crimes take place, who is the victim and who is enjoying economic and politic benefit from that.
The post World War II big powers did not showed in their military, diplomatic, and economic policies any moral behavior. All the contrary, all those policies that were main factors for modern genocide's directly with weapons or with economic exploitation (Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Rwanda, Congo, Argentina, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kurdistan, etc. etc.), were clearly in support or "defense" of economic and politic corporations or groups in those powers.
Now, is the sad turn for Kosovo! I do not want to add to the wide existing discussions and publications a large speach on the subject of the Kosovo crisis, only to tell you, in a telegraphic way, and in my foreing English, some comments and feelings:
The reaction of the people in Israel is impressive. Started when we watched in TV that Albanian families were obliged to abandon everything, that their houses were burned, that they were put in line, men to the right and women to the left... The media also reported stories about mass killing. And even if that is nothing compared to the Holocaust, the collective memory associated these pictures with the initiation of the ghettos and concentration camps at the beginning of the forties. The general comment was "we must do for them what nobody did for us 50 years ago". I think that the fact that the refugees are Muslims add a note of honor to the local population. Do not forget that Arab and Israelis are in conflict.
Israeli Jews and Arab are now seeing working for the same cause: In every city, kibbutz, school, etc. people are donating blood, goods, food and money (until now more than 200 tons and 3 million US$ in bonus of 30-50 $), 50,000 participated in a beneficial rock concert, 8 airplanes were sent to Maccedonia, the Ministry of Health and the Army installed a big complete hospital and today, refugees started to arrive here.
NATO answered the crisis with the "Humanitarian intervention". It was so human that instead of a non-violent invasion of disarmed soldiers they bombed Yugoslavia and escalated the war. The same NATO, that incited during the past 20 years the appetite of any national chauvinist group in Europe and Asia against the federative countries, the same NATO that do not see the killing of African and Iraqi children, that ignore the annihilation of the Kurds, that persists with the maintenance of the nuclear arsenals, is the moral institution that impose order in this world.
Very sad indeed, very sad.