Never again


Gage Hoekstra, Page Editor


On Nov. 26, 1944, the War Refugee Board released to the American press, in its entirety, the Auschwitz Report. Authored by two Slovak Jews, having themselves escaped the death camp seven months prior, the report detailed the mass internment and slaughter of the Jewish people within Nazi Germany and occupied-Europe. One year later, though Allied forces would finally bring an end to the Holocaust, six million men, women and children were left dead in its wake. While the atrocity was over, its scars remained, and we in the West made a promise to ourselves and to the world: “Never again,” we said. 

We have failed to fulfill this promise.

I bring up this example not because it stands alone, for many genocides have followed, but because the sheer magnitude of such a horrific act has persisted in our cultural consciousness to this day. Most of all, I bring this up because I fear, someday soon, we may once again fail to live up to our promise. 

In recent years, Western intelligence and news agencies have released a greater and greater number of reports concerning the People’s Republic of China’s internment and persecution of its  Uighur minority. The Uighurs are a majority Muslim ethnic group within the nation; hundreds of thousands of whom have purportedly been imprisoned without trial and forced into what the Chinese government has officially called “Vocational Education and Training Centers.” Independent reports and the accounts of those who have escaped claim that detainees within these facilities have faced family separation, involuntary labor, torture, political indoctrination, compulsory religious violation, mandatory sterilization and compulsory abortion.

While both historical precedent and the Chinese Communist Party’s current state of despotism render this situation alarming, our nation has positioned itself perfectly to intervene in such humanitarian crises as these. The United States has maintained both the largest economy and military in world history, and could easily use these powers to impose sanctions against Chinese imports and exports or even to liberate Uighur prisoners directly through military intervention. Conflict of any kind with our single greatest trade partner will undoubtedly be arduous, but nevertheless it is the responsibility of our leaders to take action against these appalling violations of the Uighur people’s most fundamental rights. 

It is the responsibility of our media to report this travesty with integrity and perseverance. It is our responsibility as citizens of this country and wardens of its principles to denounce in the strongest possible terms the ideologies of tribalism and tyranny which inevitably lead to such immeasurable suffering. 

It is our responsibility to finally fulfill the promise we made so long ago; Never again.