I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re intentionally missing my point. The Holocaust didn’t start out as a genocide. It began with dehumanizing rhetoric and policies that initially fell short of full-blown genocide. The concentration camps came later. The rhetoric that got that ball rolling was not dissimilar to the rhetoric we are hearing now directed at immigrants and other groups. No matter what method a country uses to abuse human rights, no matter what the status of the victim of the human rights violation is, no matter what justifications a human rights abuser uses in this instance or that, every case in history of human rights abuse is alike in that human rights have been violated. That is and has always been the only similarity between the circumstances I’m concerned with.

I totally agree with you that the US has not yet set up concentration camps or begun exterminations. I never said they had. When I said “it’s begun” in the US I meant we’re seeing the same kind of dehumanizing rhetoric and the initiation of policies motivated by the same spirit of hate that started the ball rolling in Germany. The time to make “oblique references to the Holocaust” is before we get anything like concentration camps, killing fields, or other atrocities.

Everybody likes to think “it can’t happen here” no matter where “here” is, and everyone will point out that the troubling signs beginning to emerge in their country are somehow different in some meaningful way from the signs seen in places like 1930s Germany or in Armenia during WWI. But I’m focused only on the human rights violations. The differences between the words, the methods, the targets of the abuse, the reason they’re in the situation they’re in; none of that matters when you’re focused just on the human rights abuse. That in this country they were Jews and in that country they were Armenians is an interesting fact of history, but it takes a great deal of intellectual gymnastics to argue my article was an historical analysis of that sort. Yes, in this case they’re migrants. So what?

I find the comment “Perhaps [you] have a more critical view of the German policies toward Jews” utterly beneath contempt. I’m sure it gives you great satisfaction to think you do, but frankly this isn’t a contest to see who is more outraged about the Holocaust. Not every dehumanizing word leads to genocide, but all genocides start with dehumanizing words. The next step is policies that are violations of human rights but which fall short of genocide. When these words and deeds reach a certain level we should always begin issuing warnings about where this same sort of pattern has led in the past so as to avoid anything like a genocide from happening again. That’s what I did, and I did it precisely because I find the Holocaust an example of evil in what can only be described as quite possibly its purest form.

I note with interest you avoided all questions I put directly to you regarding exactly when we start issuing warnings, “oblique” or otherwise. If not when people are being referred to as “animals” and when children are being needlessly taken away from their parents, when? That you chose instead to focus on the fact that we’re dealing with migrants is telling. If you choose to respond again, I remind you once more that the fact that the people in this instance are migrants has absolutely no bearing in the context of a discussion of human rights violations, any more than the fact that it was Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals in the Holocaust’s case has any bearing on whether the atrocities committed during the Holocaust were justified. Taking anyone’s child away needlessly is wrong no matter who they are. Putting anyone in a concentration camp and working them to death or gassing them is just wrong, no matter who they are. Referring to other groups of people as “animals” or “rapists” or using other dehumanizing rhetoric is just wrong, no matter who they are. What the hell difference does it make if they’re migrants? Human rights violations at all levels and by any means are wrong no matter who the victims are.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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