January 27, 2014
Symposium cum exhibition on Holocaust and Genocide
By Saeed Qureshi
Let me first of all warmly compliment Mike Ghouse and his companions for holding the Seventh Exhibition cum Symposium on a crucial phenomenon that we all know as holocaust. This august event took place on January 26 in the spacious hall of the Unity Church of Dallas.
Holocaust is a dreadful and ghastly dimension of human civilization that has been happening since the dawn of civilization and perhaps even earlier than that. Let me quote one important episode from the known history preserved in Bible and also in the holy Quran. When Prophet Moses liberated the Jewish nation from centuries old stranglehold of the Pharaohs who were the mighty emperors of their own time, they marched into the Sinai desert and settled there for 40 years. Thereafter they perpetrated the first distinctly documented genocide of the peaceful population in the land of Canaan. They killed the inhabitants including the infants indiscriminately and with savagery that is beyond description.
The Jewish nation itself suffered terrible genocides at least four times in history: one at the hands of Babylon Empire, second under the Roman Empire, third in Spain and fourth in Nazi Germany. The Muslims too faced the similar appalling genocides. Apart from other cities of Muslim rule, the Mongols, laid waste the capital of the Islamic caliphate Baghdad in 1258 and killed 1.6 million Muslims. This mass annihilation of Baghdad is recorded as the most heinous genocide carried out during the Middle Ages.
Besides the Muslims suffered terrible genocides in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Spain at the hands of the victor Christian crusaders. In Spain where they ruled for seven centuries, they were entirely massacred and expelled along with the Jews. Those left somehow were finally deported in 1609. In history the Muslims, the Christians and Jews have been alternating in killing each other adopting a parched earth drive and ethnic cleansing policies. England passed through a spell of genocides at the hands of Romans and Vikings in early times.
Holocaust and genocide can be treated as synonyms carrying the diabolic connotation that implies the wholesale massacres and extermination of a race of segment of human beings. During the last two centuries several grisly genocides have taken place.
The British colonial armies in their frantic onslaught to expand the abominable colonialism marched on the vast continent of America. Those who arrived first were called pilgrimages. Their beastly annihilations of the local population have no parallel in history. They kept on wiping off the local population called native Indians with such a diabolic obsession that continued till it culminated into a civil war between the federalists and the co federalist.
The native inhabitants called red or native Indians and now American Indians were easy prey to their superior weaponry and fighting tactics. The natives fought back with primitive arrows, batons and swords against the merciless pogroms of the invaders who were more like bounty hunters. The natives’ mainstay of living, cattle and buffaloes were totally wiped off. They were infested with deadly epidemics of diseases like small pox to die if left alive from the pointblank shooting of the well armed and disciplined killers. Even children sucking their mothers’ breasts were not spared. The slogan of the British generals was that “only good Indian is dead Indian”. Approximately 100 million native Indians perished in this the most macabre genocides in the human history after Mongols’ curse.
The exhibition of the Indian genocide displayed extremely heart wrenching and harrowing scenes making the onlookers wonder how human beings could be as callous and barbaric as to slaughter a helpless, primitive and defense segment of human race.
The exhibits and graphics showed huge piles of dead bodies with killer soldiers standing aside with devilish smiles on their faces after performing this hideous job. The copies of the scrolls, orders and parchments issued by the British commanders were also displayed. In those documents reflects the hate and obsession to kill the local population without any compunction. The exhibition continued from 3p.m.to 7 p.m. when the whole program came to close.
I was thrilled and rather entranced by the presentations and speeches’ during the two hours session conducted in the main hall of the church. The speakers’ spoke about the Native Americans holocaust, the 2002 Gujarat massacre and the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in India. The Jewish holocaust at the hands of the Nazis in Germany was portrayed in video clips, prepared by Christiana Amanpour, the celebrated CNN anchor. Mike Ghouse, the principal organizer of this phenomenal yearly event told his side of the story about the genocide.
The keynote speaker and host of this memorable evening Mary Ann Thompson-Frank expressed her empirical impressions about the Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 humans were killed. Mary is immensely knowledgeable, highly articulate with flair of oration. She was eloquent, vocal and gave an excellent account and grasp of the subject and kept the audience riveted to her discourse. I was personally greatly impressed by fluency and candor in dishing out her thoughts and observations. This highly fruitful and greatly enlightening session included a peace pledge by Mike Ghouse followed by a poignantly sad and moving Native American Mourning Song.
This distinctive and remarkable seminar would add another feather in the cap of Mike Ghouse and his associates in highlighting and rekindling an issue for the civilized nations to reflect and ponder how to foster love and harmony among the people of this planet mother earth. It should serve as a grim reminder and resounding lesson for the human race that never again any genocide or holocaust be allowed to happen.Such seminars and symposiums emit the divine and cardinal message that the age of barbarians and beast is over and we should all live in harmony and peace and work in unison for the collective good of the entire human race. Those who voluminously collaborated and sponsored in this effort among others were ‘Muslims Together’, ‘American Indian Genocide Museum’, Mnemosyne institute and Foundation for Pluralism. A sumptuous dinner was served at the end to all, the speakers and the spectators alike.