Comparing Palestinian Unique Suffering with Holocaust Leads Nowhere

Muslim WakeUp!, United Arab Emirates
Jan 28 2005

Remembering Auschwitz: Comparing Palestinians’ Unique Suffering with
Holocaust Leads Nowhere

By Ayman S. Ashour

The horrible genocide committed against the Jews by Nazi Germany,
with the collaboration of other Europeans, during WWII was one of the
worst events of the 20th century. To be sure, the last century had
many other horrible episodes of genocide: the Gypsies, the Armenians,
the Hmong, the Tutsis, and others. Horrors perpetrated by the likes
of Stalin, Pol Pot, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution make the 20th
century a very bloody one indeed.

Meanwhile, some Muslims and other sympathizers of the Palestinian
cause have taken to comparing the ongoing suffering of Palestinians
to the Holocaust.

The mass killing of millions of people from the very old to newborns
with industrial efficiency for the sole purpose of exterminating a
whole race is beyond words in its cruelty, criminality, abhorrence
and indeed in its uniqueness. The road towards peace and
reconciliation does not go through denial of the suffering of Jews;
understanding the narratives of the “other” is a prerequisite for any
real reconciliation. Those Muslims and other supporters of the
Palestinians who deny or minimize the Holocaust do major disservice
to the Palestinian cause and cause more Jews and Israelis to turn a
blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinians.

Indeed, Palestinian suffering is unique as well and should not be
compared to anything else. The courage of ordinary Palestinians
living under a brutal occupation, the non-violent Palestinians who
suffer in the refugee camps generation after generation, the
Palestinian families living in New Jersey or Michigan, leading their
new lives but remembering ..still remembering, writing, demonstrating
is unique. The ability of Palestine to remain a viable dream in the
hearts of millions despite its very powerful foes is unique! For over
a hundred years now, Zionism has enjoyed the backing of the world’s
most powerful powers; it has captured the imagination of the world’s
so-called liberals and progressives then moved on to capture the
imagination and support of its conservatives and evangelicals.
Throughout this time, the ordinary people of Palestine have continued
to struggle, and the word Palestine is now again an accepted part of
the vocabulary.

In Tibet, the suffering, destruction and colonization were brutal,
yet the world’s liberals, intellectuals and celebrities spoke out
against China and raced for a piece of the Dali Lama. The suffering
of the Tibetans is recognized by the world. In certain respects, the
eradication of their culture has been more complete than that of the
Palestinians. In much of the world, Tibetans are seen as peaceful and
spiritual, while Palestinians are portrayed as militant
double-talking terrorists.. Whose suffering is greater? Which wound
is more painful? When is a killing by one brutal occupier less
painful than the killing by another brutal occupier? Comparisons and
more senseless comparisons lead nowhere.

For Palestinians, where else are there such overwhelming odds against
a people, people who have sadly not been blessed with wise leaders
but who have an abundance of courage and perseverance? The suffering
of Palestinians should not be compared to the suffering of others,
and in the process be belittled by those who support them.

Let’s not compare, all suffering is unique, and the suffering of the
Palestinian people is no different. Let us today join the Germans,
the Russians, the French and pray for the souls of the countless Jews
who perished in the horrible ovens of Auschwitz – let’s honor and
respect their memory, and please, let us not compare!

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