Monday, July 11, 2016

Remember Srebrenica

Back in the Nineties, while I was watching the cable talk show, Phil Donahue and a Russian guy were talking. One of them discounted the rapes of Bosnian women in a shameless cavalier manner, as if the women (Muslim) meant nothing to him.  By the way, as a disclosure, I was an Atheist then, but was outraged and could not sleep, went to my office and set my fax machines through Mac to fax non-stop to them to cut the crap out.  The next day they stopped…. it was depressing… I can never forget the outrage I had felt.
Those were the bad times watching the massacre in Bosnia, Serbia and Herzegovina.  When I watched this video from Aljazeera, my blood boiled again.
We organize an annual event called www.HolocaustandGenocides.com  and had covered this event at that time. Christiana Amanpour’s documentary on the subject is admirable.
Dr. Peerwani from Dallas area had visited Bosnia and did the post-mortem on many and had a difficult report to share.
Thanks to Al-Jazeera for this video, way back in July 1995, around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed in mass executions on July 11, 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces. This is where the bodies of those who have been found are laid to rest.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Tribute to Elie Weisel, a great humanitarian


Elie Weisel has just passed away, may his soul rest in peace. I have been watching his picture in the wagon for many years and we had highlighted the picture in our programs at Holocaust and Genocides for nearly a decade.

I am pleased to share the tributes written by ADL and Parliament of World Religions.

Mike Ghouse
HolocaustandGenocides.com 
# # #

------

Elie Wiesel stirred the world with the necessity of madness


Courtesy : https://cruxnow.com/obituary/2016/07/03/wiesel/?mc_cid=bce73da150&mc_eid=d97a8b6779


Elie Wiesel stirred the world with the necessity of madness
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, died July 2 at the age of 87.

For Elie Wiesel, who died July 2 at 87 years old, madness was not insanity. It was rather the willingness, often in the face of incredible odds, to stand up for human dignity no matter what one's national identity, racial heritage or sexual orientation might be.

 
My first encounters with Elie Wiesel came during several early conferences on the Holocaust where he was a plenary speaker.  I was amazed at the way he could silence a large ballroom with his message. It clearly had profound intellectual content, but most of all, it spoke to the heart.
Without the latter, the passionate commitment to remembrance and continuing human dignity that were the hallmark of Wiesel’s contribution to contemporary global society likely would have fallen on deaf years.

My encounters with Wiesel took on much greater depth when he graciously included me in the original membership of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which was charged by President Jimmy Carter, with the unanimous consent of Congress, to erect a suitable memorial to the victims of the Nazi genocide in the nation’s capital.

This presidential appointment allowed me to participate in one of the most meaningful events of my life, as I worked with Elie and many other committed Jews and non-Jews in transforming Carter’s mandate into concrete reality.

During the years of work with Wiesel on the design and construction of the museum, I gained many insights from him as he worked through the often difficult process of deciding on what should be and not be included in a memorial museum located on some of the most sacred space in Washington.
Many of those insights have remained ingrained in my consciousness to this day.

On occasion, Wiesel would speak of the necessity of madness. For him, madness was not insanity.  It was rather the willingness, often in the face of incredible odds, to stand up for human dignity no matter what one’s national identity, racial heritage or sexual orientation might be.

Early on in the process of building the museum, a wealthy benefactor offered to contribute the first substantial gift to the museum.   But the offer had a condition attached.  The donation depended on Wiesel agreeing that only Jewish victims of the Nazis would be memoralized in the museum.
The gift was tempting, because the U.S. Congress was pressing the Holocaust Council to get started on the museum, and its funding had to come largely from the private sector.  Yet in the end, Wiesel declined the offer.

From there on in, he remained committed to memorializing all the Nazi victims, meaning the disabled, the Poles, gay people and Roma and Sinti (Gypsies).  While Wiesel certainly recognized the special features of the Nazi onslaught against the Jews, he was committed to the principle that one can never prioritize victimization.

And so, the inclusion of all the victims in the museum’s permanent exhibits was settled.
One of the most trying moments in my relationship with Wiesel came on the occasion of President Ronald Reagan’s decision to visit the German military cemetery at Bitburg.  Wiesel was deeply disturbed at the president’s choice, and publicly criticized it.  He summoned a number of the members of the council to an emergency meeting in his office, myself included.

He expressed serious reservations about remaining the chair of the council. Resignation seemed the only way to protect his own integrity and that of the victims.  After profound soul-searching with those of us in the meeting, he decided continuing his commitment to the erection of the museum had to take priority over his profound regret that Reagan’s visit had compromised the moral challenge that the Holocaust continues to place before humanity.

For me, these several hours in the room with Wiesel showed the depth of his own moral commitment and demonstrated how moral decision-making might emerge in very difficult circumstances.
Wiesel also showed great foresight in agreeing with a notion originally proposed by the late Hyman Bookbinder of the American Jewish Committee, a longtime social activist and a member of Carter’s original exploratory commission on the Holocaust, which eventually recommended the creation of the permanent council.

Bookbinder insisted that a future museum should not focus exclusively on memorializing the Nazi victims.  It also had to include a futuristic dimension.  Wiesel took up this idea, and made it a central part of the museum’s motto - “Remembering for the Future”.

He clearly saw the need for the museum to include programming with regard to any subsequent genocides through the creation of a Committee on Conscience.  Though it took some time for this committee to see the light of day, because of political opposition and concern on the part of some survivors, Wiesel held firm to his support.

Today the museum is a major force in Washington on the issue of genocide, thanks to Wiesel’s persistence.

Finally, I cannot help but think about one of Wiesel’s most notable quotes as we today struggle to see our way through a time of continuing terror.  Wiesel said that if we forget the victims of the Nazis, in effect we kill them a second time.

As I listened to the news about the terror attack at the Istanbul airport, this quote haunted me as the news media reported on how quickly the airport was reopened (the Turkish Airlines flight from Chicago to Istanbul was delayed only about fifteen minutes).  I can certainly understand the desire on the part of the Turkish authorities to prevent the terrorists from any ongoing victory.

But Wiesel’s powerful comment must also challenge us against accepting such a situation as the “new normal”, as one U.S. government official put it.  We must continue to mourn the victims of genocide and terror attacks, as well as the killing of so many in our urban areas. Otherwise such human destruction can easily become the “new normal.”

The final chapter of Elie Wiesel’s legacy has been closed by his death.  But the passion of his vision for human dignity and the continuing challenge of his personal moral commitment grounded in his personal experience of victimization will live on.  For me, they remain seared in the depths of my soul.

For this, I am grateful that our lives intersected.

Father John T. Pawlikowski OSM, Ph.D., is Professor of  Social Ethics and Director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  He served for four terms on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and continues as a member of its Academic Committee and its Committee on Religion, Ethics, and the Holocaust.

------------
Jonathan Greenblatt of ADL writes;

Courtesy - ADL
We were deeply saddened to learn the news of the passing of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate, Holocaust survivor, professor, and a longtime and dear friend of the Anti-Defamation League.
He was a Holocaust survivor who used the memory of his personal tragedy to spark worldwide awareness of the Shoah and the memory of the six million Jews.  Through his books and his speeches, he emerged as one of the most important moral voices of the 20th century, a man whose message reached billions of people.
But the power of Elie’s voice lay in its ability to contextualize the Holocaust and to connect lingering outrage to contemporary action. He spoke out vigorously about the plight of Soviet Jewry; advocated for the repatriation of Ethiopian Jews in the state of Israel; spoke out on behalf of Bosnian Muslims during the Serbian Civil War; and called world leaders’ attention to the Rwandan genocide.  Along the way, he acted as a global conscience, repeatedly reminding the world of the dangers of unchecked racism and anti-Semitism. He embodied, in both word and deed, the admonition of “Never Again!,” and sought to protect the downtrodden of all races and religions with unrelenting passion, determination and pluck.
Throughout much of his life, Elie remained a true friend of ADL and a staunch advocate for our efforts to combat global anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. Elie was always willing to help in any way he could. Often, behind the scenes and publicly, he played a pivotal role in our efforts, whether as an advisor to our leadership, as an interlocutor in our interactions with diplomats and governments, or as a soft-spoken but undeterred voice against recurrences of anti-Semitism around the world.  It was reassuring that Elie was always just a phone call away.
Most memorably, he and his wife, Marion, were frequently our guests at key moments in ADL’s history. He was one of the early recipients of the prestigious ADL Joseph Prize for Human Rights. In 2003, when ADL convened a World Conference Against Anti-Semitism in New York City, Elie delivered the keynote address, speaking passionately against the tide of old and new anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe, and calling on governments to do more to combat this pernicious hatred. In 2004, we praised his bold action of returning an award he received from the government of Romania in protest of the same award being bestowed on two anti-Semites.
We honored him on the occasion of his 75th birthday, and again in December 2013, when ADL presented him and Marion with the ADL Jabotinsky Prize for Courageous Jewish Leadership. The award recognized their combined efforts, working through the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, to various causes, including that of supporting the needs of Ethiopian-Born Israeli youth. That same year he served as an honorary member of our Centennial Committee.
Almost a year ago, Elie joined us at a gala tribute in New York City in recognition of Abe Foxman’s 50 years with ADL and his retirement as national director. True to form, Elie once again delivered an impassioned appeal for the world to wake up to the forces of intolerance and bigotry that led to the events of the Shoah in the 1940s, and which again were being manifested in new guises in places such as Iran.
We will never forget his intellect, his passion, and his impact. May his memory be for a blessing.
Sincerely,
MDN signature
Marvin D. Nathan
National Chair
Anti-Defamation League
 
JG signature
Jonathan Greenblatt
CEO
Anti-Defamation League

Thursday, February 25, 2016

10th Annual Holocaust and Genocides commemoration

X  ANNUAL HOLOCAUST AND GENOCIDES COMMEMORATION | www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

The purpose of this event is education, information and activism. We hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”. 



We hope you will walk out of the event with a genuine feeling of being a contributor towards building a cohesive world where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. 

The Holocaust event has been commemorated by the Jewish community since 1953 for the loss of  6 million Jews during the Holocaust, known as
 Yom HaShoah in Synagogues around the world. The general public learns it by visiting the Holocaust Museums and educational institutions.

We at America Together Foundation are committed to spread the knowledge of Holocaust and Genocides through interfaith and public events.


Our format has been simple and consists of four parts: interfaith prayers, the Holocaust, Genocide (one or two each time), a Massacre, action items for individuals and the pledge of peace. Silently we acknowledge all suffering, but physically we are limited to a Genocide and a Massacre at one time.  

I believe, when we acknowledge each other’s grief and participate in each other’s commemoration, we connect with the humanness within ourselves and seed the relationship of understanding and caring for each other. 

There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our own suffering, and every community and nation has suffered through this.

The purpose of this event is education; we hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”.

Our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us and hope to find the solutions.

The goal ought to be respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us, anything short of that will leave unattended-sparks ready to flare up at short notice with the whiff of oxygen.

It is a bridge building event and we sincerely hope the attendees will walk out with the following understanding:

  • Other people’s suffering is as legitimate as mine;
  • It is easy to see ourselves as Victims, we must also see the perpetrator in us;
  • When we strip the politics out of a conflict, we see hope;
  • We can value others suffering without lessening our own;
  • The overriding desire to highlight our own blinds us from other’s suffering.
  • A sense of responsibility for creating a better world is awakened.

A initiative of American Muslims, organized by the Foundation for Pluralism, World Muslim Congress and America Together Foundation.

We are looking for participating organizations, sponsors and volunteers. Please text or call me at the number below.

References:

Our first event: Hon. Roslie and William Schiff, the Holocaust survivors delivered the key note, while people from many faiths participated in sharing scriptures from their holy books:.http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_HolocaustDay/HMD2006_ProgramReport.asp 

Holocaust and the Muslim guy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html 


United Nations proclamations:  http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml
Dr. Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslam, (Muslim). politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy.

He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and for his writings at www.TheGhousediary.com

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 | text or talk
SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The plight of Kashmiri Pundits

 No human being should endure the humiliation and injustice.  This is what makes the society less than civil. 

The suffering of Kashmiri Pundit’s is shameful, and they have been thrown out of their own homes where they lived for centuries. It is time that we the people talk about it and resettle them back in their homeland.


No nation should ignore injustice to her citizens.  I hope Mr. Modi can take care of this, it’s long overdue.  It's painful what has happened to the pundits.  We have addressed this issue in our annual Holocaust and Genocides programs over the last ten years, along with many issues around the word including the Sikh Genocide, Bangladesh Genocide, Gujarat Massacre, and Burning of Dalit Villages.

As humans, we should feel the pain for every human and rise about the religious lines; indeed, it is the sectarianism that breeds most of the conflicts.

The menace of terrorism must be dealt with appropriately. The war on Terror will not cut it, it is the dumbest idea ever floated by Bushmen, and it has not receded, but aggravated it further. A dialogue is critical, only the powerful have the ability to shape things for common good. Only the powerful have the ability to demonstrate their civility, our government should take responsible steps to restore justice to the Kashmiri Pundits.

Here is a video produced by Anupam Kher.
https://youtu.be/P-mX7k_Z8qs



Mike Ghouse
www.HolocaustandGenocides.com 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

U.S. Holocaust museum says this Muslim minority could face genocide

Rohingya Genocides | Buddhist Hate | www.HolocaustandGenocides.com 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/05/07/u-s-holocaust-museum-says-this-muslim-minority-could-face-genocide/  By Ishaan Tharoor May 7 at 5:00 AM 


Women and children wait in line for medical care at the makeshift Aung Clinic, which serves many Rohingya, with a few dedicated staffers providing free care. (Paula Bronstein for The Washington Post)


Women and children wait in line for medical care at the makeshift Aung Clinic, which serves many Rohingya, with a few dedicated staffers providing free care. (Paula Bronstein for The Washington Post)
The official American institution memorializing the Holocaust sounded the alarm this week on the threat of a genocide facing the beleaguered Rohingya of Burma, one of the world's most neglected communities. A report published by the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, a wing of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, charted the persecution, violence and systematic discrimination endured by this Muslim minority, and warned that it was a "population at grave risk for additional mass atrocities and even genocide."

The plight of the 1.3 million Rohingya is well documented, if not particularly well known. The majority live in Burma's Rakhine state, on the western border with Bangladesh and India. Even though many Rohingya can trace their roots in Burma, also known as Myanmar, through a number of generations, they are not recognized as citizens of the Burmese state, which has insisted on classing them as "Bengali" — a designation that suggests that they may be interlopers from across the border. They, therefore, struggle for access to basic state services in what is already an underdeveloped, fractious, multi-ethnic nation.

The partial democratization that has taken place in Burma, once dominated by a military junta, has not helped the Rohingya. In recent years, the climate of hostility has, as the report puts it, led to the Rohingya being "subject to dehumanization through rampant hate speech, the denial of citizenship, and restrictions on freedom of movement, in addition to a host of other human rights violations." 

Ethnic violence in 2012 led to tens of thousands of Rohingya fleeing to miserable, squalid camps; countless others have chosen to leave the country altogether, sometimes at hideous cost. The waters of the Andaman Sea and the jungles of Thailand still hold the unclaimed corpses of many Rohingya, whose vulnerable position on the margins of the Burmese state have made them prey to human traffickers.

The Simon-Skjodt Center's report was partly based on a fact-finding mission to Rakhine state in March, in which the researchers found what they deemed were "early warning signs of genocide." Earlier research and advocacy conducted by the Holocaust Memorial Museum has included studies on the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, as well as the Central African Republic.

"We’re very cautious when we invoke the term 'genocide,' knowing that it can be quite polarizing and sometimes even unhelpful," says Cameron Hudson, the center's director. "But there is a combination of factors — many of which you saw in 1930s Germany and 1990s Rwanda — that are quite concerning."

To be sure, slaughter and upheaval of the magnitude referenced by Hudson are so far not in the cards in Burma, but it is his institution's mandate to spot the roots of potential mass violence.
"What we're talking about here is the targeting of a specific group, based on their religious and national identity," he says. For the Rohingya, their continued denial of citizenship rights — a U.N. General Assembly resolution passed in December that demanded that Burma recognize the Rohingya was dismissed with derision by the Burmese government — has been reinforced by a growing Buddhist nationalism among some Burmese.

The report found the Rohingya to be the subject of "rampant hate speech" in Burma. It also documented widespread impunity for those carrying out violence against the minority, as well as worrying trends of local and national discrimination against the Rohingya, including restrictions on their movement and probably their ability to vote in elections expected later this year.

No wonder the United Nations recently described the Rohingya "as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world."

Questions that Hudson and his colleagues asked of local government authorities about the group's treatment were met with responses that "were not at all satisfactory," he says.

What has disappointed many outside observers, including Hudson and his team, has been the relative indifference of Burma's pro-democracy camp to the plight of the Rohingya. This includes Nobel laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who's now a prominent opposition politician.

"One of the things that concerned us the most was that this pro-democracy segment has been largely silent on the issue," Hudson says. The Rohingya's desperate lack of wider support within the country leaves them particularly exposed in the febrile, fractious Burmese political scene.
"This [upcoming] election could be the flash point that sets off an episode of mass killing," Hudson warns.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.

# # #  


Why do these Buddhists hate these Muslims so much?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/02/13/why-does-this-buddhist-majority-nation-hate-these-muslims-so-much/

In 2009, Burma's then-consul general in Hong Kong sent a letter to local newspapers and fellow diplomats posted in the Chinese territory. It was addressing concerns over the treatment of refugees from Burma's Rohingya population, a Bengali-speaking Muslim minority long marginalized in the country. Incidents of shipwrecked boats bearing half-starved, desperate Rohingya from Burma had won wider attention in the region.

 February 13  



Ye Myint Aung, the Burmese envoy in Hong Kong, hoped to dissuade others from feeling sympathy for the Rohingya. His method for doing this was by revealing his shocking racism. The Rohingya, he said, "are as ugly as ogres" and do not share the "fair and soft" skin of other Burmese ethnic groups.

Therefore, the Burmese consul general concluded, "Rohingya are neither Myanmar people nor Myanmar’s ethnic group," using the other name for Burma while trotting out his government's long-standing contention that the Rohingya are interlopers in Burma and don't deserve citizenship rights.

Burma to revoke minority ID cards(1:15)
The government in Burma, also known as Myanmar, is set to revoke temporary identification cards for minorities including its 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims. (Reuters)
More than half a decade has passed since then, and the situation in Burma has changed for the better. The country has opened up. The secretive, dictatorial military junta that once held sway has allowed the advent of a fledgling, albeit heavily curtailed democracy. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from decades of house arrest and is now a main leader of the opposition.

But the miserable condition of the Rohingya, a forgotten, stateless people, persists. The United Nations deems them "one of the most persecuted minorities in the world." There are some 1.3 million Rohingya, the majority of whom live in Burma's Rakhine state, on the western border with Bangladesh and India, and struggle to access basic state services. As WorldViews reported last year, around 140,000 Rohinigya eke out a squalid existence in ramshackle camps, displaced by ethnic and sectarian strife in 2013 and neglected by the Burmese government.

Recent U.N. calls on the Burmese government to grant the Rohingya full citizenship rights, including a General Assembly resolution passed in December, have been received with hostility. Angry anti-Rohingya marches this week persuaded the government to scrap tentative plans to give Rohingya carrying temporary documents the right to vote in an upcoming referendum.


Much of the ire is fanned by a hard-core of nationalist Buddhist monks. Certain groups play an outsize role in fanning sentiment against the Rohingya, whom they like to characterize as "Bengali" illegal immigrants rather than a distinct Burmese ethnic group. (Never mind that many generations of Rohingya have lived on Burmese soil.)

Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk notorious for his xenophobic rhetoric, even earned a spot on the cover of TIME magazine's international edition, with the cover line: "The Face of Buddhist Terror." The saffron-clad Ashin Wirathu dubs himself the "Burmese bin Laden," and indulges in frenzied, un-monk-like speeches calling for tough action against Muslims. He raises the fear of forced conversions and terrorism. Last year, he addressed a gathering of nationalist monks in Sri Lanka, another nation with a Buddhist majority, warning of "a jihad against Buddhist monks."

But critics say Ashin Wirathu and his ilk, more often than not, are the ones inciting mob violence against Burma's Muslims, including non-Rohingya Muslims. Hundreds have died in recent years amid riots and tit-for-tat attacks.


It's a worrying development in a diverse nation that's just emerging from the straightjacket of authoritarian rule. Perhaps the most depressing indication of the Rohingya's plight is the relative silence of Suu Kyi, a global icon for democracy and human rights. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, in keeping with Burmese government policy, refuses to even say the word "Rohingya" — which in Burma's polarized context would be an act of recognizing the community's rights, let alone its very existence.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

8th Annual Holocaust event held in Dallas

Dallas Morning News, Jan 26, 2015 issue
Event at Unity Day. 

Report will be added later

Mike Ghouse, Chair
8th Annual Holocaust and Genocides event

A Holocaust pledge by Justin Amler

 Justin Amler, I will take that pledge with you.

"So I pledge in this moment, of this day, in this time that no matter how rough the seas will get, and no matter how strong the storm will blow or how hard the rain will fall, and no matter how dark the night will become, I will be there, holding up a candle and honoring the memory of my family and my people." 

And as a Muslim, along with several other Muslims, we will continue to light the candle in the memories of Holocaust and genocide victims at our annual (just passed the 8th) Holocaust and Genocides event. God willing some day, I would like this interfaith event to be organized in every place by non-Jews as a part of understanding the tragedy - to remind ourselves to see the inhumanity in us, each one of us, and learn to say never again. 

When you talked about the dignified way in which they endured the death, it reminds me of my own story that I have shared before, how those images have been a part of my life and made me a devoted human rights activist. I will include this piece at our site www.HolocaustandGenocides.com 

Thank you for sharing this. 

God bless you.
Mike Ghouse


A Holocaust pledge
Courtesy of Facebook/Progressive Zionism and Jerusalem Post
http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/The-Energy-of-Thought/My-pledge-389245

Over the last few days, I have seen pictures and read stories and watched videos of people who once lived on this earth.  People who played and laughed.  People with goals and dreams.  People who worked hard to make a living and to make a life for themselves – only to have it all ripped away by the evils of man. 
And as the 70th commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp rolls away, the memories of that time do not roll away with it.  Because those faces that stared up in wonder from faded black and white photographs, and decaying film strips with scratches and white patches of overexposure, were my people and my family.
In America they speak about the Greatest Generation – those who grew up among the depression, but we too have our Great Generation who for many did not grow up, but remained forever young, and whose dreams did not die with them, but passed on to those who came after.
They were all my heroes, and who I am today is shaped from who they were yesterday.  Because behind the hollow eyes and the broken bodies, there were souls.  Souls that burnt bright.  Souls that yearned to live, in a time where life itself was a scarcity.  A time where a slice of bread was the difference between living and dying, and a potato was worth the combined fortunes of an entire country.
I think about the boys who once might have played with an old soccer ball in the streets behind their homes.  I think about the girls who dressed up small dolls and held tea parties.  I think about the children who never even got to play, or the babies whose time on this earth was as short as the taking of a small breath.  I think of the fathers and the mothers who tried their hardest to look after their families and give them a good life.  And I think about the grandparents who watched as the entire world they had known and grown up with was destroyed before their eyes.  I also think about those whose faces will never be known, and whose photos along with their bodies were burnt in the fiery pits of hate. 
I think of all of them and the fate that would have been my own, if not for my grandmother who at the tender age of 12, along with her brother just one year younger was forced to leave her small town of Ponevez and everything she had ever known to board a ship that traveled to the less dark continent of Africa.  Two small children traveling alone across the world.  She survived, not because of the world, but in spite of it.  She lived, but her aunts and her uncles did not.
They are all my family – those who survived through the horrors and those they didn’t.  And even as the last of those survivors begin to fade away and return to the heavens from whence they came, and those dark forces that tried to smother them before begin to gather again, I will stand here tonight and make a pledge.
My pledge is directed to you and to me and to the entire world.
To those who try to tell me these heroes who are my family didn't exist and their memories are false, I will stand before you as proof.
To those who want the memory of the Holocaust to disappear like the fading mist of a winter’s morning, I will hold up their testimonies for all to see.
And to those whose desires are filled with darkness and their hearts with evil and somehow want to revisit that period in history, I will fight you.  And by doing so I will fight for my own survival just as those who went before me fought to stay alive - even as their last breaths of life slipped away.
So I pledge in this moment, of this day, in this time that no matter how rough the seas will get, and no matter how strong the storm will blow or how hard the rain will fall, and no matter how dark the night will become, I will be there, holding up a candle and honoring the memory of my family and my people.
The human body is frail, but the human spirit is not.  And the spirit of their generation will live on through mine and forever more.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

8th Annual Holocaust and Genocides commemoration

The purpose of this event is education, information and activism. We hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”. 



We hope you will walk out of the event with a genuine feeling of being a contributor towards building a cohesive world where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. 

The Holocaust event has been commemorated by the Jewish community since 1953 for the loss of  6 million Jews during the Holocaust, known as
 Yom HaShoah in Synagogues around the world. The general public learns it by visiting the Holocaust Museums and educational institutions.

We at America Together Foundation are committed to spread the knowledge of Holocaust and Genocides through interfaith and public events.


Our format has been simple and consists of four parts: interfaith prayers, the Holocaust, Genocide (one or two each time), a Massacre, action items for individuals and the pledge of peace. Silently we acknowledge all suffering, but physically we are limited to a Genocide and a Massacre at one time.  

I believe, when we acknowledge each other’s grief and participate in each other’s commemoration, we connect with the humanness within ourselves and seed the relationship of understanding and caring for each other. 

There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our own suffering, and every community and nation has suffered through this.

The purpose of this event is education; we hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”.

Our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us and hope to find the solutions.

The goal ought to be respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us, anything short of that will leave unattended-sparks ready to flare up at short notice with the whiff of oxygen.

It is a bridge building event and we sincerely hope the attendees will walk out with the following understanding:

  • Other people’s suffering is as legitimate as mine;
  • It is easy to see ourselves as Victims, we must also see the perpetrator in us;
  • When we strip the politics out of a conflict, we see hope;
  • We can value others suffering without lessening our own;
  • The overriding desire to highlight our own blinds us from other’s suffering.
  • A sense of responsibility for creating a better world is awakened.


A initiative of American Muslims, organized by the Foundation for Pluralism, World Muslim Congress and America Together Foundation.

We are looking for participating organizations, sponsors and volunteers. Please text or call me at the number below.

References:

Our first event: Hon. Roslie and William Schiff, the Holocaust survivors delivered the key note, while people from many faiths participated in sharing scriptures from their holy books: .http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_HolocaustDay/HMD2006_ProgramReport.asp 

Holocaust and the Muslim guy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html 


United Nations proclamations:  http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml

Mike Ghouse, Event Chair
(214) 325-1916

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holocaust and Genocides commemoration – VIII Annual event in Dallas and Washington DC.

The purpose of this event is education, information and activism. We hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”. 

We hope you will walk out of the event with a genuine feeling of being a contributor towards building a cohesive world where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.


The Holocaust event has been commemorated by the Jewish community since 1953 for the loss of  6 million Jews during the Holocaust, known as
Yom HaShoah in Synagogues around the world. The general public learns it by visiting the Holocaust Museums and educational institutions.

We at America Together Foundation are committed to spread the knowledge of Holocaust and Genocides through interfaith and public events.


On September 11, 2005, the Unity Day USA was established to bring people of different faiths, races and ethnicities to rededicate their pledge for the safety and security of fellow Americans,  as their positive contribution towards building a cohesive America.  FBI Chief, State Senators, Mayors, Police and Fire Chiefs and 650 people attended the event.  One unfortunate thing happened during the event that led us to Holocaust and Genocides commemoration; – the fire alarm went off causing panic, and the Mayor of Frisco called his Fire Department, and it was a false Alarm, the Mayor, FBI and the Police Chiefs assured the public that we are safe… almost everyone joined us back.

However the “apprehension” I saw on the faces of my Jewish friends was difficult to bear, they came to this Muslim's event as his guests and were in tension.  I wanted to do something about it and it is here at Huffington Post -  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html

Thank God for paving the way.  In less than two months, on November 1, 2005, the
United Nations passed a resolution designating January 27th of the year as the Holocaust commemorative day - http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml

We took it upon ourselves to commemorate, we experienced the good, bad and ugliness of organizing this event - nothing deterred us from doing it and thank God for helping us out. On January 26, 2006, we commemorated the first interfaith Holocaust commemoration – extending the education of Holocaust to people of different faiths.  Hon. Roslie and William Schiff, the Holocaust survivors delivered the key note, while people from many faiths participated in sharing scriptures from their holy books. http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_HolocaustDay/HMD2006_ProgramReport.asp

Our format has been simple and consists of four parts: interfaith prayers, the Holocaust, Genocide (one or two each time), a Massacre, action items for individuals and the pledge of peace. Silently we acknowledge all suffering, but physically we are limited to a Genocide and a Massacre at one time.  

I believe, when we acknowledge each other’s grief and participate in each other’s commemoration, we connect with the humanness within ourselves and seed the relationship of understanding and caring for each other.
There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our own suffering, and every community and nation has suffered through this.
 
The purpose of this event is education; we hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”. 


Our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us and hope to find the solutions.

TWO LOCATIONS | DALLAS, TX | WASHINGTON, DC

Dallas Event:  Holocaust and Genocides
Theme: Sparks of Hatred and how to extinguish them 

Date: Sunday, January 25, 2015 
Time: 3:00 – 6:00 PM
Venue: TBA
Email: HolocaustandGenocides@gmail.com  

Washington Event: Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Time : 2-5 PM
Venue: TBA

The goal ought to be respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us, anything short of that will leave unattended-sparks ready to flare up at short notice with the whiff of oxygen.

We sincerely hope the attendees will walk out with the following understanding:
  • Other people’s suffering is as legitimate as mine;
  • It is easy to see ourselves as Victims, but we must also see the perpetrator in us;
  • When we strip the politics out of a conflict, we see hope;
  • We can value others suffering without lessening our own;
  • The overriding desire to highlight our own blinds us from other’s suffering.
  • A sense of responsibility for creating a better world is awakened.

A initiative of American Muslims, organized by the Foundation for Pluralism, World Muslim Congress and America Together Foundation.

We are looking for participating organizations, sponsors and volunteers. Please text or call me at the number below.

Dallas Contact: OS Modgil ( 214) 934-3438
Washington DC Contact: Marryam Chaudhry 

Mike Ghouse, Event Chair
(214) 325-1916