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Neil Seeman
A writer conversant in grief, seeking virtue.

Anne Frank, Genocide, and Contranyms

Anne Frank in 1940. Montessori school, Niersstraat 41-43, Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Photograph by unknown photographer.
Anne Frank in 1940. Montessori school, Niersstraat 41-43, Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Photograph by unknown photographer.

In death, I weep when words decay,

like “genocide,” born in ’44,

now twisted, its truth led astray.

 

In The Hague, where Justice is sought,

Lemkin’s word, to falsehood, was brought.

 

The Nazis’ words, deceit, and denial,

masked their horrors with Hitler’s guile.

Nietzsche’s ideal of the “Übermensch

strove to transcend classes and creeds.

Yet, under der Führer’s command,

the concept transmogrified—

to its opposite: a wicked chauvinist screed.

 

That is why, for my sister Margot,

for The Temple Mount,

I’ve an unbroken vow,

to use words with precision—

to expose sly mellifluous lies.

 

In the labyrinth of hollows, where words are stored,

are the Untermenschen, who sleep, yellow-starred,

dead, distorted, and bent, their souls still tarred.

 

Let’s reclaim their power, their meaning, their grace—

to ensure that Justice finds its rightful place.

 

You, South Africa, defiled the word “genocide”.

For this, you’ll be called to account.

Your chest-thumping “J’accuse“—

is its opposite: a moral stain paramount.

About the Author
Neil Seeman is an author, educator, essayist, mental health advocate, and entrepreneur. Neil is CEO of publishing firm Sutherland House Experts. At the University of Toronto, Neil is an Adjunct Professor and senior fellow at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, the Fields Institute, the Investigative Journalism Bureau, Massey College, and the HIVE Lab. Neil founded technology and Big Data firm RIWI Corp. and he is the author or co-author of several books on mental health topics. He was a founding editorial board member of the National Post and co-founder of the Health Strategy Innovation Cell. Neil’s last book was "Accelerated Minds: Unlocking the Fascinating, Inspiring, and Often Destructive Impulses that Drive the Entrepreneurial Brain" (Sutherland House). Neil is a graduate of the University of Toronto Law School (JD) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (MPH).
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