Is this bugging anybody else?
The "news" networks devoted hours this week to the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march, and devoted not one second to the 70th anniversary of the liberation, by the Russians, of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, also this week.
This comment is not meant to belittle the courage and righteousness of the Selma marchers, or to whitewash the atrocities committed by the cops and racists on Pettus Bridge in Alabama.
Watching the Selma events on a grainy black-and-white TV from the comfort of Canada, I wondered what kind of a goofy country that place
(Nevermind that we gentle Canadians kept Natives and Chinese in their own ghettos in the 1950s; we never talked about such indelicate matters in grade-school. We just fretted about what the Yanks were up to.)
Selma resulted in one death, that of Jimmie Lee Jackson, shot in the back by a state trooper.
In Auschwitz, or by its Polish name Oświęcim, 1.1 million people were murdered by gas, starvation, exhaustion, bullets and other means
between 1942 and 1944. Not one person as in Selma: one million and one hundred thousand people -- a population about the size of Dallas
or San Diego. Ninety percent of them were Jews.
I've never been to Auschwitz nor do I care to, but once during a visit to Munich I ventured out to Dachau, which was the small-scale training model for the larger Nazi death camps to follow and killed a mere 32,000 during its 10-year run. Jews, Russians, homosexuals and
Jehovah's Witnesses comprised the casualties.
I was struck by how pretty it was: green grass, luscious flowers, nice, orderly brick-work buildings in a temperate climate. Just the place to take your family on holiday.
Dachau was where the Nazis perfected the gas chambers and ovens for Auschwitz.
By all means, if you're ever in Munich, go see Dachau. It looks so, gosh, normal.
Six or seven murders of civil rights proponents in this country in the 1950s and 1960s changed our whole way of thinking. We saw racism, from cops to bumpkins, at its naked worst.
Why do not six or seven million murders just 20 years earlier, also racially based, get our attention as well?