I Don’t Want to Be a “Bystander”

Published May 17, 2018 by Nan Mykel

Who Were the “Bystanders”?

….“Bystanders” as used to refer to German and European populations close to the actual events are often defined by what they were not. They were not the “perpetrators” or the “victims.” Nor were they among the tiny minority of “rescuers” of the “victims.” “Bystanders” as a group have often been characterized as “passive” or “indifferent.” They included those, for example, who did not speak out when they witnessed the persecution of individuals targeted simply because they were Jewish, or during the phase of mass murder, did not offer shelter to Jews seeking hiding places.

The two words “passive” and “indifferent” themselves have distinct connotations. “Passive” implies “inaction.” Passivity could derive from a range of quite different feelings: from a sense of powerlessness, fear for one’s physical safety, social pressures within one’s group or community, or tolerance or support for the perpetrators’ actions.

“Indifferent” is defined as “having a lack of interest in or concern about something: apathetic.” The “indifference” of “bystanders” to the plight of Jews is often attributed to people’s daily preoccupations, from surmounting the hardships of the economic depression of the 1930s to focusing on the survival of their families in the face of wartime deprivations and suffering.

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008207

Photo NY Times

There is an ongoing brutal war on immigrants and their children that amounts to ethnic cleansing. Just this week, the administration was revealed to be floating plans to create internment camps for detained migrant children. Internment camps for kids, and this is happening before our very eyes.  “No matter how the Trump administration attempts to spin its actions,” the ACLU continues, “the suffering it is causing is intentional and illegal, and the administration must be held accountable.”

Daily Kos, Gabe Oritz


 

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