Monday, April 08, 2013

Apparently today is holocaust rememberance day.
My own family was relatively unscathed by the war. My mother was born in France but left well before the Nazis invaded. Her mother spent the war riveting airplanes instead of her usual job as a French teacher.
 If you count Vietnam as a continuation of the Pacific conflict, my cousin Steve survived the war but killed himself afterwards. I had met him but didnt really know him. His son would be the leader of our particular tribe of Stewarts, as the only surviving male descendant of the oldest son of my grandfather, but we don't really track it that way anymore.
I'm not married, but I had a long term relationship with Lindy Fay many years ago. Her mother was raised in occupied France and pretty much driven mad by the experience. Her parents (Lindy's grandparents) were active in the resistance, and several cousins of hers went to the death camps, for being respectively priests or labor leaders. This story is complicated by that we are no longer sure Lindy's mother was really her mother; she may have been her father's child by another woman.
But her grandmother was the person she was closest to, and was someone I had the chance to stay with in 1983, the last time I've been over to Europe.
Holocaust means burnt offering, and refers to the ritual sacrifice of animals. During the 20th century, something like 200 million people were killed by governments, usually their own governments.
And people wonder why I'm libertarian.
Meanwhile billions of chickens, millions of cows, and numerous other animals are sacrificed each year, in a continuation of the violence that pervades our society, and occasionally manifests in things like the Nazi movement. The holocaust is not something that happened once and never again; it is something that continues today, in factory farms, in Tibet, in American prisons and reservations.
Life offers us a chance to live violently or nonviolently.

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