Guilt and Responsibility: Lessons from the Holocaust

If you shoot a person dead, you are rightly held accountable for their death. What happens though if you press a button to initiate a machine that shoots a person, are you just as responsible? How accountable are you if you are in the room at the same time that the process is occurring and you choose do nothing to stop it? Where does the responsibility for the death of a person begin and end?

In the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s Nazi Germany and its allies and satellite states embarked on a process of human extermination. The event we know as the Holocaust saw the most depraved and barbaric actions a human being is able to inflict upon another. Though exact figures are impossible to decide upon, approximately 11 million people were killed for being considered sub-human. Among them were the deaths of over six million Jews, as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis looked to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

In camps set up around central and eastern Europe, victims were transported to their deaths. The names of these camps will forever be etched in the history of the human race. A constant reminder of the cruelty that we as a species are capable of. Treblinka, Belzec, Buchenwald, Chelmno, Sobibor and Auschwitz are places that are considered as manifestations of pure evil. It is important to remember though, that evil did not create such suffering and destruction; humans did.

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From Gower To Gaza

The beach is a wonderful natural location to enjoy all manner of activities. There are those of us that surf, those of us who sunbathe, and those of us who play football. Whether you need peace and quiet, a good location for a barbecue, or a long flat stretch of land to play sport on, mother nature provides it for us.

Until I am full time writer, I have to do as everyone else and work a stereotypical office job for a living. The unfortunate business who is graced with my presence is a football academy based in South Wales. This weekend the football academy that I work for, The Champion’s Soccer Academy, were one of the leading figures in organising Swansea’s first ever Beach Soccer Festival.

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The IRC, Miliband and a Crisis In Afghanistan

With the Afghanistan elections only a few days away, the media were in overdrive reporting on what a historic occasion it was set to be. A press release landed in my inbox from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) which stated the findings of a new report and offered the chance to ask questions and schedule interviews regarding the reports findings.

What the report called for was “urgent aid investment in Afghanistan”, stating that there is a need for “renewed investment in humanitarian and development aid”. I was informed that I could be connected to experts in Washington and London to discuss anything that was on my mind.

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The Evil That Men Do

So I sat. And I waited. And I thought. The NewStatesman article staring up at me blankly. The words of Sophie McBain were being churned over in my head as something I had known for years began to creep to the front of my brain. The article was on Syria, a subject close to my heart, but its words began to form a deeper realisation within me.

The civil war in Syria is now into its fourth year and it is showing no signs of stopping. The inaction of the UK, and the rest of the world, has disgusted me, but I understand why it has been this way. I understand why the streets are not lined with people demanding action be taken. I understand why the press and the politicians are hesitant to speak out about showing support to those within Syria. And I understand why despite the known use of chemical weapons, despite the deliberate targeting of civilians, despite the evidence of torture, and despite it being the worst humanitarian disaster in my lifetime, nothing is being done.

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The Violence Inherent In The State

From its creation, on throughout its existence, and finally onto its demise, the concept of the state is inherently violent. It seems as if it can only be birthed with huge suffering and pain, it is then maintained with yet more blood loss and violence, before eventually succumbing to the inevitable, and self destructing in another wave of brutality. Why is it that we as people put so much faith and pride in the state? Why do we value its existence so highly?

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