Elie Wiesel has died. Reading the obituaries, the thing that astounds me is the thing that has always astounded me: how young he was. Eighty-seven now, in 2016. I’ve been burying World War II veterans throughout my years of pastoral ministry. How could Wiesel only be 87?
We are endlessly being misdirected in search of the crude “hate crime.” After centuries of racial oppression and violence, our society eventually became uncomfortable with the overtness of the racism of the past. Slavery is taken for granted as a horrific thing, something that couldn’t be assumed a few generations ago. For mainstream America, to be accused of being racist is to have been labeled something despicable. Few would willingly accept this charge upon themselves, defending themselves adamantly against such accusations. However, even worse than the racist label for those within the dominant culture, is for a person to be accused of a hate crime. Hate crimes have been created to isolate the most heinous of offenses that have been committed because of prejudice.
In 1920, not long after the Great War, a little-known agitator gave a speech in Munich on the topic, "Why Are We Anti-Semites?" The speaker concluded that it was important to prevent Germany “from suffering a death by crucifixion."
Of course this agitator became quite well known—it was Adolf Hitler—and we know what his antisemitism led to.
The 20th century has been scarred by the mass murder of ethnic groups in Armenia, Nazi-occupied Europe, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo. On a smaller scale, hate crimes against certain groups also erupt in this country. What factors converge to make such violence possible? Can anything be done to prevent it?
Number of wars in Europe in the past ten years: 4 Number of wars in Africa in the past ten years: 15 Number of European wars in which human rights violators can be prosecuted by an international court: 4 Number of African wars in which human rights violators can be prosecuted by an international court: 1
The worst place on earth to be a child today is northern Uganda. The suffering is far worse than in Darfur in duration, magnitude and long-term consequences. Genocide is being carried out by the government against the Acholi people.
The U.S. does little and the rest of the world does less
Oct 19, 2004
What happened to the United Nations?” asked Haruun Ruun, executive secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches. “The killings and rapes are still happening in Darfur.” Ruun was in New York last month to press the UN to impose sanctions on the Sudan government, which has implicitly backed the marauding Arab militias that have terrorized the black population in western Sudan.