April 27th, 2006 16:21 EST
Holocaust Legacy Demands Opposing Evil By Vince Crawley
Washington -- "The world must learn from the past and ensure that the
racist hate preached by Hamas and Iran`s new president cannot evolve into actual acts of genocide and massive violence", Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said at a Holocaust commemoration April 27.
Zoellick believes the United States can help defeat the ideologies of
militant Islamists by promoting policies that encourage tolerant,
democratic governments in the Muslim world. He also called for greater
international involvement in the ethnic conflict in Darfur. (See Darfur
Humanitarian Emergency (http://usinfo.state.gov/af/africa/darfur.html).)
Bearing witness means learning from history " but knowledge is not
enough, " Zoellick told members of Congress, concentration camp survivors and their liberators.
Bearing witness also means acting against evil, " Zoellick declared at the U.S. Capitol during the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance.
The Days of Remembrance marked the anniversary of the liberation of
concentration camps at the end of World War II, when Allied armies halted Nazi Germany`s program of genocide-- which included the organized murder of 6 million Jews and millions of other minorities.
In emotional language, Zoellick spoke of the shock and revulsion "
Allied soldiers felt as they discovered camps filled with the dead and
dying in the final days of World War II. He reminded his listeners that
former German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, had methodically described his
plan of racial extermination in stark frankness " in his book Mein Kampf two decades earlier, but that a complacent world ignored Hitler`s plan until it was well under way.
Zoellick noted that the United States itself is not immune to dangerous attitudes " of race and ethnicity. Elsewhere in the world, he expressed concern about the election of Hamas leadership in the Palestinian territories, and the election of Mahmud Ahmadi-nejad as the president of Iran. Ahmadi-nejad has called for attacking Israel and denied that the Holocaust ever happened.
None of us should take Israel`s position for granted, " Zoelick said.
The election of Hamas looks like a return to 1947, when the country`s
neighbors refused to accept Israel`s very existence, " Zoellick said. In
its response to the recent terrorist Passover bombing in Israel, Hamas
continued to rationalize terrorism and feed hatred. Instead of facing up to the challenges of creating a democratic Palestinian state, Hamas has
retreated to blaming the Palestinians` problems on the Jews. " (See related article (http://usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive/2006/Apr/17-359173.html).)
Zoellick said that he finds it equally troubling " that the modern
Jewish democracy that emerged from the Holocaust " today faces a new threat from Iran`s leader, Mahmud Ahmadi-nejad, who denies the very existence of that Holocaust " who threatens to wipe Israel and its people off the map " and who seeks nuclear weapons. "
Ahmadi-nejad`s threatening words are clearly spoken and easy to
understand, Zoellick said. And the threat he poses is not just to Israel,
but to the world, " he said. That is why the United States is working to
build a global coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons of mass
With the new Iranian president and the rise of Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, we are seeing scenes from the rise of political Islam, " Zoellick said. Theirs is a violent strain of radicalism
that seeks to pervert a religion into an ideology of hatred and racism. "
At the same time, a struggle for the soul of Islam " is taking place
throughout the Muslim world, he said. While some use religion to justify murder, other Muslims honor Islam`s noble past, welcoming diverse thought and living peacefully with people of other faiths, including Judaism. "
The United States cannot determine the winner of this epic struggle for
the soul of Islam, Zoellick said. Only fellow Muslims can lead their
brothers and sisters of faith to a better Islamic future, " he said.
Zoellick also spoke of his several visits to Rwanda, where more than
800,000 people were murdered in a genocidal rampage in 1994. Twelve years later, Rwandan peacekeepers in Sudan show us what it means to bear witness to genocide, " Zoellick said. The Rwandans are among the best of the [African Union] peacekeepers. They are serious men and women. They know what genocide is, and they are determined to do everything they can to stop it. "
The deputy secretary called on global leaders to press for a peace
settlement to the Darfur conflict in Sudan and to transition the African
Union peacekeeping force to a larger, more robust " peacekeeping mission with a U.N. mandate and strong NATO support.
There is resistance to overcome, but it must be done, " Zoellick said.
There is no time to waste. "
Zoellick also echoed a biblical passage from the Book of Isaiah that is
quoted on the wall of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We are all
witnesses, " he said. As witnesses, we are here to remember. As witnesses, we must be ever vigilant. But above all, witnesses cannot be bystanders. "
For additional information see International Religious Freedom
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
Source: The Dept. of State