Never Again

Last weekend I sang with the Midland Center Stage
Chorale in the Celebration of Hope
concert. Our part was the Holocaust Cantata
which consists of writing and music created by prisoners incarcerated in the death and forced labor camps. I
had the privilege of reading the piece by Irena Augustynska Kafka, and it was a
powerful experience.  Since my knees were
knocking nervously, I asked Irena (who is deceased) to “stand beside me” while
I read her piece, and I believe she did. I believe many souls who were victims
of the Holocaust surrounded us as we sang, and helped us to overcome the
emotion that clouded our eyes with tears and choked up our voices.
The music had haunted me for weeks as I rehearsed at
choir and at home, and when the concert was over, the music remained and asked
me, “So what will you do now?” A valid question, I thought.  I have had this incredible experience, have
sung the words of people facing suffering and death, and now, somehow, I must
take it somewhere. Never again. This kind
of thing should never happen again, yet it is—all over the world. We
acknowledge that back in the 30s and 40s people should have done more, that
people knew and did nothing about it. While that sounds cold, isn’t it still
true today?  I know we get tired of
seeing on TV refugees from Syria huddled in camps, of war and killing in
Africa. I know we feel hopeless to help and ask, “What can I do?” And because
the problems are so many, it leads us to the same ennui that existed while the
Nazi’s took over Europe.  Not because we
don’t want to, but because we don’t
know how.
At the end of the concert the question in my head
was, “What do I DO?” The honor of singing this music calls me to act, calls me
to own some part of the suffering in our world. 
Yes, I support many worthy causes financially, but have I gotten my
hands dirty? Have I taken action? Sometimes, but not often enough. I am in a
process of discerning what I am called to. 
I am a writer—could my pen be mightier than the sword?  Even writing letters to Congress would be
action.  I have strong legs—is there a
march I can take part in? I have a brain, and a penchant for research; can I
learn more about the suffering so that I can write about it? I have some wonderful
friends who are doing something, and
perhaps it is one of these causes that will call me to action. Here are two:
GlobalCompassion, Inc. – Indira and Ed Oskvarek started this non-profit
charity because of the needs they saw with the “poorest of the poor” in
India.  There is no middle-man and
minimal administrative costs because Indira deals with family members in India
who give the proceeds directly to the people. Indira is also involved in jail
ministry with young women in our town. 
Her home is always a hive of phone calls, goods, and people dedicated to
helping others.
NonviolentPeace Force – Jeanne Schaller works diligently to
get information out about this organization which goes into hotspots like Sudan
to sit with leaders on both sides of the conflict to resolve issues using peace
instead of violence.
you agree with me, Never Again, do you have other ideas that I might consider?

2 thoughts on “Never Again

  1. A powerful post. I share your frustration, your commitment and your emotional response to what has happened, what is happening and what will happen again if we don't do something. All of us. Each of us. Letters to Congress, yes. Speaking up, certainly. Teaching our children and grandchildren, absolutely. And remembering–what happened under Hitler and what happened under Pol Pot and Stalin and Idi Amin. The list is long and brutal. And goes on.

    • You are so right, Peggy. I can't believe there are people who claim the Holocaust never happened (a former student's parents!) And it continues, and I feel so compelled to act…I just have to discern where I belong. Thanks so much for stopping by and standing in solidarity with me 🙂

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