Today January 27, marks the UN General Assembly’s designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the official UN website they urge every member state to honor the victims of the Nazi era and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.
I want to go from the Holocaust to Hope. I want to remember the atrocities of the past but focus on the opportunities of the present. So often I find that the news focuses on the ugly in the world. And don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of horrible things out there. The evil. The gross. The plain dumb (Obama meeting a lady that once ate cereal out of a bathtub).
But there is light in the darkness. There was then. And there is now. I don’t want to just hear about the destruction. I know it is there. I am aware of it. But I want to be aware of the good things too. I want to know about the happy. The funny. And even the plain dumb (cute animals: today’s latest, the drunken squirrel).
A few weeks ago I had the honor of meeting the Jerusalem PeaceMakers Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa and Eliyahu McLean, the founders (along with Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari of Blessed Memory) of an organization that doesn’t talk about peace (not around a table, not in big speeches and certainly not on paper) but actually does it as the verb. They meet with people, they make people meet each other, they cross lines, borders, and narratives. Haj Ibrahim donated his home which is officially known as the Peace House, keeping its doors open for anyone and everyone to stop by, eat or sleep. Even Alicia Keys wandered over for a meal during her trip. But as Haj Ibrahim pointed out, John Kerry has yet to leave his fancy hotel and meet the real people (that’s my sarcasm not his).
Here is the interview, where you can take this day of Remembrance and remember the Holocaust but also to Hope. It’s a positive story. About positive people. Doing positive things. This is how I remember. I hold on to my past as a way to hold on to my future.