We can’t hide our heads in the sand over racism

Ignore mistakes of the past or allow racist policies in the present and we embrace our own demise

We can’t hide our heads in the sand over racismThere has been a great deal of discussion in the American media about the teaching of critical race theory. Some states have passed legislation to prevent the discussion of this topic in schools, and others have similar bills before their elected assemblies. Michigan is one of these states, and I recently came across a document…

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppression

Wealth can’t make what’s wrong right. It can’t make the truth disappear, and it can’t stop great people

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppressionIn his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discusses the internal character that allowed people to survive the Holocaust. He speaks of an “inner greatness,” where despite the horrendous circumstance, one can choose their attitude, their own way. This is the ultimate human freedom. We recently saw this inner greatness displayed by…

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them right

What can be said of those who deny the past and ignore the inherent human rights of their neighbours?

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them rightIt’s a normal human reaction not only to acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong but to seek to make reparations and heal the relationship with the person we’ve harmed. This is also true on a societal level. As I complete teaching my unit on the residential school system in Canada, I ask students to reflect…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

Troubling trends for human rights in China and India

Genocide is the outcome of nationalistic, populist movements that tolerate hate speech and discrimination and incite violence

Troubling trends for human rights in China and IndiaIf left unaddressed, the rising extremism and persecutions in China and India will undermine the well-being of millions of people. These acts will also set a precedent the international community will regret for generations, both in terms of the human cost and the undermining of many gains made in human rights over the past several…

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremism

Imagine what the Nazis would have done if they had access to today’s social media platforms

Only respect for diversity will defeat extremismI recently showed Steven Spielberg’s classic film about the Holocaust, Schindler’s List, to a group of students. Watching Nazi soldiers terrorizing and murdering Jewish people, I thought to myself that on some level they had to have known that what they were doing was wrong. Yet they seemed to be unaffected. Were they impacted at…

Silent Witness of a Holocaust Suitcase

A Canadian family helped solve the mystery of a teenage girl’s life and death at Auschwitz

Silent Witness of a Holocaust SuitcaseHana Brady could be another Anne Frank except she did not leave a diary. But the suitcase that 13-year-old left behind when she died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz concentration camp continues to teach millions of children around the world the importance of respect, empathy and compassion. It bears silent witness to the agony…

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stopped

Putting the health of the people in the South Caucasus at risk puts us all at risk. Diseases spread and mutate rapidly in refugee camps

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stoppedWhen teaching history, it’s rare that an issue more than 100 years old becomes a current events lesson, but that’s what happened as I began teaching about the Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman Empire is responsible for the death of 1.5 million Armenians, primarily under the cover of the First World War. The empire collapsed after…

We can forgive but we should never forget

Regardless of how a survivor processes their trauma, simply speaking the truth is what’s most important

We can forgive but we should never forgetDuring the 2015 trial of former SS guard Oskar Groning, as presented in the documentary The Accountant of Auschwitz, Holocaust survivor Eva Kor forgave the man she was testifying against. The response to Kor’s statement was extremely varied. Some praised her, others were shocked and some even reacted with scorn. Forgiveness is one of the…
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