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Monday, January 27, 2014

Honi soit qui mal y pense-reflections on the Holocaust.

I have always been taken by this ancient motto which translates as evil be to him who evil thinks. Deliberate evil inflicted on the scale of the Holocaust  is what we tend to think of but there is a deeper and more dangerous evil in our society. It is the small daily evil of malicious thought and malicious words which go unchallenged by those of us who see it for what it truly is. How often do we read or hear comments which have underlying and unquestioned prejudice. It is these almost casual intolerances and slights which lead to the large scale horrors of the Holocaust and other atrocities of persecution. When evil goes unchallenged, it seeds and grows in poisoned soil. The whispers become invective. The lies become accepted as true. The tale grows in the unquestioned telling. 

First we have to question our own thoughts and think through whether our gut reaction of anger and resentment is based on fact or reality. We need to understand that the behaviour of one or some of a group, religion, nation is not the behaviour or characteristics of all. Then we must challenge and keep on challenging others to examine their own thought processes. We were designed to think analytically, to reflect on the patterns of our own thinking. Yet we are also creatures who process the world around us through the emotional brain with all the unconscious programming of others' words and actions from early childhood. We absorb like sponges what is around us and form much of our behaviour through the emotional filters of such experiences which we internalise as our own views. We must make conscious that which is unconscious, unthinking and irrational if we are to, change it.

Honi soit qui mal y pense -the evil that we think rebounds back upon all of us.

We allow the ugliness of the Holocaust when we fail to challenge our own thoughts and feelings.

We enable the Holocaust when we fail to challenge such thoughts and feelings in others.

Please do not walk by on the other side. Stop, think, speak out.

Do not accept the unacceptable.

I have seen evil so close by,
Toxic words slithering forth,
Fangs glistening poison,
Ready to strike,
Hearts and minds.

I have heard vindictive thoughts
Spew from a void of bottomless hate,
Under the guise of reason or love,
Venom flowing in every word.
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