After the Holocaust, many proclaimed “never again”. But the reality is that the phrase has become just words as humanity has proved that we have not learned from the Holocaust.
In 2002, former diplomat Samantha Power released her searing indictment of America’s attitude to massacres across the world in ‘‘A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide. Re-released in 2013, the book covers various atrocities across the globe and how America reacted. She starts with the Armenian Genocide and ends with the war crimes in Kosovo in the late 90’s.
Going into great detail, she uses historical documents, first hand accounts and press clippings to tell the stories of the massacres and the innocent lives lost.
When I finally finished the book, I noticed several things.
- Though the details of each massacre are different, the overall story is the same.
- The targeted group is a minority who has historically dealt with persecution.
- There were individuals within the United States who were ready, willing and eager to save as many lives as they can.
- However, the collective reaction from those in the halls of power range from cold indifference to talking about saving lives, but not actually doing anything to save said lives.
I’ve always believed in the greatness of the United States. More than a century ago, this nation welcomed my forebears and allowed them to flourish. But I ‘m also completely aware of this nation’s flaws.
We can do better, we must do better. While we cannot go back and prevent the loss of innocent life, we can learn from our past. Otherwise, we will repeat it at some point.