Updated: Apr 17
Photo, a Nazi rally in Argentina, before the Second World War, the largest event in support of Nazism outside Germany
Hatred is like a disease. There are reasons for it. There are reasons for the disease itself and for why hatred is like it. The disease can just appear as if from nowhere. So too with hatred. Or it can arrive slowly and fester gradually. Thus hatred grows.
The hateful or diseased, though are different, too. The hateful can be guilty. This, as a result of that hate, a hate for example, not caused by their victimhood at the behest of another who has troubled them and who is the object of that hate, but a hurtful and dangerous hate. The hatred felt, spewed, expressed, bigotry, racism, prejudice. Haters like that, unleash their hatred on innocent victims.
The victims of a disease, though, the ill, of a pandemic, are innocent victims. Hatred can be contagious. If the politically weak begin hating, it is the beginning of a downward spiral. If the physically weak get ill, getting better is hard. Some forms of hatred are inexplicable but fascinating to try to understand. Prejudice is a form hatred political scientists might think of thus. Other sorts of scientists would say the same of disease.
We are told often, that the Corona virus, this pandemic that is wreaking havoc throughout the world, is a once in a century event. Once in the twentieth century there was a ferocious pandemic of flu. Once there was a hideous pandemic of hatred. If we refer to one, as Spanish, the other, as German, we miss the pont. The 1918 flu, infected much of the world, and could have started anywhere, and most probably did not, according to the experts, start in Spain. The Second World War Holocaust, spread throughout Europe, and though it did start in Germany, its effects were indeed worldwide. And ongoing.
To think of a pandemic of hatred while we endure a pandemic disease, is especially poignant. As we think of the victims of that Holocaust, we know that every community affected, every individual victim, suffers, in sympathy. We know that with the Jewish community, especially, we share empathy. The deaths from Covid are becoming so many, millions of innocent victims, too many to sometimes take in, the realisation difficult, already becoming, millions, lost. The horrors of the Holocaust are more difficult to comprehend than most outrageous tragedies, however terrible. The world can be a place of hatred and disease. And the disease of hatred. It is a challenge to deal with both. Every day people are dying of a disease. The remembrance of them is only at the beginning, though, for many, shall not end. On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember those long dead from the disease of hatred. Their memory lives on in ours.
Author : LORENZO CHERIN
Published : 28 January 2021