As World War II came to a close, Allied troops made German citizens who lived in towns near recently liberated concentration camps go to these places of torture to see the horrors their government committed in their names. I remember as a kid seeing a photo of horrified German citizens walking past corpses. I’m not sure if the image above is the one I saw as a kid, but it was similar. In the photo I saw long ago, a woman had a look of horror on her face, much like the woman in this image above. That look of shame and horror has stayed with me.
In the last year, our government committed atrocities in our name. In camps made of canvas or concrete, US agencies kept migrant children from Central America in cages. They beat the children to get them to stop crying. They kept them separated from their families. Some of the children were toddlers with little or no language skills. What language did they learn in a cage in a camp? Two children died in custody. This ugliness happened in our name.
The US has a long history of separating children from their families in communities considered “undesirable.” Slaveowners ripped babies from their mothers soon after birth, to be sold into bondage elsewhere, like fruit plucked from a tree. Native Americans saw their children taken from them, raised far away, separate and apart from their own families and culture.
We don’t talk much about these atrocities. When something doesn’t get talked about, it vanishes. When it vanishes, it repeats again and again.
How do we stop repeating this evil? What will finally make us see the horrors done in our name, that we may never do them again?
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