22 January 2008

How Horrible and How Beautiful

I just read this on Neil Gaiman's blog, and thought it was too elegantly stated not to pass on:
"While it is important to learn about the Holocaust," she says, "it is even more important that we learn from the Holocaust."

The most chilling of those lessons, to her, is that extermination, civilization's ultimate betrayal of its own humanity, was the work of highly civilized people.

"These were educated, erudite individuals, thinkers, who came to the conclusion that the final solution was perfectly plausible.

"And then they were able to enlist the help of chemists to devise an efficient gas for extermination, and architects to design an efficient death house, and industrialists to create the machinery of annihilation."

The lesson of the Holocaust is not that human beings are "somehow capable of resigning from their human obligations to one another," she says, but that "they do so out of conscious moral choice."

This is why I think everyone needs to see Night and Fog, even though it is truly scarring.

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