Many lessons to learn from Holocaust horrors
Condemning the general concept of teaching the young about the Holocaust inadvertently exemplifies the need for it.
A June 26 letter questions why we devote so much attention to the Holocaust when "it is of no practical value."
Having a better grasp of the events that led to the Holocaust can help us understand the human behavior underpinning other examples of mass injustice and thereby give us insight into how to keep the baser elements of human history from repeating themselves.
As the most meticulously documented genocide in world history, the Holocaust is a case study of the moral consequences of pushing our fellow human beings outside the universe of obligation.
Among many other lessons, the extreme example of the Holocaust allows us to see how we create "the other," why we cede responsibility in groups, and what compels us to act on our conscience.
And it is the unique nature of the Holocaust that makes it an especially legitimate starting point. Consider:
The Holocaust began in a democracy.
The murder of 6 million Jews could not have happened on such a scale without the participation of masses of ordinary citizens.
It occurred in a highly industrialized society, expedited by the most advanced science and technology then known to man.
One of the principal lessons of the Holocaust is to stand up to injustice wherever we find it, since great atrocities usually begin with much smaller ones. And that is exactly the sentiment that prompts this response to the letter.
Repeating the past
I'm always suspect of letters that quote Biblical passages as evidence, but the recent writer ("Put past in the past," June 26) who used the tale of Lot's wife as an exhortation to forget the past verged on lunacy.
Only by remembering, studying and understanding the past can we navigate our present and our future. By forgetting the past and, sadly, rather quickly (2010, anyone?) we keep repeating the mistakes of the past.
If the forgetful, impatient, easily distracted and attention-deficient dismiss the past this November, we may be voting for the exact GOP policies that gutted the middle class and got us into our current economic morass.
Charles Edward Pogue
Is it history that he objects to, or just the tragic treatment of the Jews under the Nazi atrocities?
Should Germany forget Hitler, Russia forget Stalin, Italy forget Mussolini, the United States forget slavery? Or, to put it in a simple way: Should we take down the eight NCAA championship banners in Rupp Arena?
It seems that 67 years ago is ancient history to a recent letter writer. But I was alive and remember many members of my family who were gassed by the Nazis. I and my family will never forget; but if the general public forgets, it will be doomed to repeat a dark time in human history.
Melungeon DNA history
Contrary to information in a recent article about a DNA study, Melungeons had a legitimate reason to claim Portuguese ancestry.
The Portuguese were in Africa more than a hundred years before blacks arrived in America.
The mixture of Portuguese and Africans produced people now identified by historians as Atlantic Creoles. Many Atlantic Creoles adopted the Christian faith and had Spanish names; they were among the first slaves in Virginia.
There is an early record of Atlantic Creoles claiming Portuguese, rather than African. ancestry. English explorer Richard Jobson documented his travels to Africa in The Golden Trade in 1620 and 1621. He described the Creoles, who controlled most of the coastal trade, as Portuguese speaking Christians who identified with Portuguese rather than African ancestry.
George. R. Gibson
Not another Williams
Surely, you jest. A recent article reported that Senate President David Williams' wife, Robyn, is considering a run for attorney general.
Please, the last thing Kentucky needs is another Williams in Frankfort. A concentrated effort should be made to send the one we have there presently home. Perhaps then Kentucky could begin to move forward.
Marilyn Hammond Owens