Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Today is the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Today, April 24, is the anniversary and commemoration of the start of the Armenian Genocide of 1015 by the Turks.

After the worst genocide in the Western world (this could never have happened in Asia, that opened it’s doors to the small numbers of Jews who by fate or awareness did not hope for a Western country friendly to Jews fleeing for their lives), the Holocaust, Jews should be the first to be interested in keeping that gruesome piece of history in collective memory. But there is more.

Reportedly, when some of Hitler’s friends objected to his plan to exterminate the Jews, that he would never get away with that, he asked rhetorically: Who today talks about the Armenian Genocide?

Would that have been challenged, the Holocaust might never have happened!

***

At a smaller scale, this is already in the Torah, as our Sages point out (Sayings of the Fathers 5:25).

Two sons of Aharon the High Priest died on the festive and spectacular day the Tabernacle was inaugurated (Leviticus 10:2). Our Commentators fall over each other explaining what their sins must have been. But, with all due respect, where does it say that death must always be a punishment? The Torah doesn’t indicate any sin in them. In fact, their uncle, Moses, says to their grief-stricken father (ibid 10:3) that he knew that G-d would sacrifice someone on that day to instill respect and prevent levity in the Tent of Meeting. He assumed it would be him or his brother, but now he understood that these two youngsters were more holy!

Moses could have said to G-d: Its [Torah’s] ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace (Proverbs 3:17) – is there no other way to install respect? But he couldn’t, because we had thrown away that opportunity. Where-so?

We read Leviticus 10 close to Exodus 14:1-5, which is read on the Seventh Day of Passover. There G-d explains that He needs the Jews to return to the seaside so that He can trap and drown Pharaoh and his soldiers to gain the respect of Egypt. The last words in that passage are “And so they did.” – which I believe to be the Torah code for saying: At first there was objection but in the end, they agreed.

When G-d slew the mightiest, Egypt would give Him respect. When the holiest of the Jews would die, Jews would respect Him. In both places, it’s the same verb in Hebrew.

We should have said: No way, and persisted. Like Abraham pleaded for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-32).

After we failed to protest Gentiles dying for G-d’s honor, we had no leg to stand on to demur this procedure regarding ourselves.

After we failed to protest genocide in Europe, we had dis-empowered ourselves to demur this atrocity regarding ourselves. We should lead humanity in protesting darkness, as tells us Isaiah.

This does not exonerate Turkey or Nazi-Germany. It also leaves untouched that the Holocaust, more than a Jewish tragedy, was a colossal moral failure of the Gentile world. We don’t blame the victim. But it does explain why Jews became vulnerable to genocide.

***

I consider it a deliberate distraction that especially this morning my Jerusalem paper carried a long Reuters’ report on present political unrest in Armenia of 11 days, without a word on this unique day.

Today, I am burning a 24-hour candle in memory of the Armenians massacred.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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