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Mr. Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and
Social Committee thank you for welcoming us in this house.
Mr. Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Parliament
Baron Philippson, President of A Jewish Contribution to an
Inclusive Europe
Your excellencies, dear friends,
We are here to commemorate the lives of 6 million Jews, all
victims of Nazi persecution and victims of crimes against
humanity.
As time goes by and the number of survivors decline, our
responsibility to remember grows.
Today we are gathered not only to remember their suffering but
also to reaffirm the idea that those who do not share our ideas,
our faith or our race, share our humanity.
We also have come together to learn from the heroes who risked
or lost their lives for others. Those who recognized our common
Humanity, saved OUR world from tyranny and became an
example of commitment to Liberty and freedom. We are
determined to follow their path and emulate them to the best of
our abilities.
There is no equivalent to Remembrance in the millenary
Hebrew language. Instead it's called Zikaron which means "Memory". this word gives us a better understanding what we
do when we commemorate. It's not enough to recall a part of
history which we fear that it may be forgotten but instead we
make it OUR memory, we engrave it in our very essence so as to
never allow such horror to happen again.
As we stand in this house of hope, the heart of the European
dream, committed to promote Liberty and Freedom, actively
working to give meaning to the words "Never Again". We know
that dreaming for a perfect world it's not in vain.
When we look at pre war pictures in history books of members
of the nazi party, well dressed with suits and ties, they seem like
people you would meet on a typical morning taking their coffee
getting ready for their work as civil servants of a government
representing a respectful and educated nation.
At first sight its extremely puzzling to understand how people
that LOOK modern and like minded can come to be involved in
such evil actions against children, women and unarmed man in
any way? It's even more perplexing when we realize that this
polished, shiny looking people perpetrated the worst genocide
in the history of humanity.
Much has been written about this. Some suggest that the worst
comes especially from the banality of people when they refuse to
care about the global consequence of their actions. Some speak
of the danger of blindly following leaders, just because they say
it in a high tone and when people are afraid to contest authority.
others see this as the outcome of 2 millennia of hatred inflamed
against Jews which enabled a lunatic leader to easily promote a
"final solution" to the "Jewish question". Some religious leaders
suggested that this was the cause of a society which foundations
were made solely of rationality with no faith to mitigate the
flaws of human mind culminating in a selfish and perverse
disrespect of life.
This is surely an important debate but allow me if i may, to add
another layer to this discussion from an age old idea for
universal peace which was much discussed by Jewish
philosophers here in Europe during the middle ages in spain,
france, germany and probably in many other places of this
continent.
"Knowledge" Jewish philosophers prescribed as the best
antidote for human conflict.
The central interest of a living creature is to survive and
prosper. Most clashes between people seem to originate from
their self centered interested.
When limited resources cannot satisfy the needs of many
people, then you will end up with winners and looses. The cake
may seems too small for them to share. and the battle begins.
Maimonides believed that a great amount of diverse knowledge
may help us solve most conflicts. More knowledge of life,
history, the natural world, astronomy and the understanding of
our mind, our feelings and most basic impulses, he argued that
would shed light to the obscure universe of human nature.
and by that illuminating new ways of how groups in opposite
sides can both find ways to achieve their own interest while
allowing the other to attain his own interest. and even helping
each other reaching their goal. Education can helps us identify
new resources which can bring more prosperity to all.
He said that global peace can only come as a result of an
"inundation" of knowledge in the world.
He called that "the knowledge of God" - as all the existence is
part of the divine. Therefore he considered that by observing
the universe, accepting evidence and even experimenting was
not only a way to reach a scientific grandeur but also a spiritual
exercise.
I am sure that there is much to learn from that today especially
that modern technology gives us the best tools to try this.
Knowing too much it's not the problem, I am confident that it's
the solution, or a part of it.
Atrocities in the second world war were not made on the name
of knowledge but on the name of hatred and dogmatism. the
pseudo scientific excuses of Nazism like the study of races and
Social Darwinism shows too little wisdom and understanding of
our biological world as many biologist and game theory experts
suggest. Clearly not too much knowledge. Instead they took
some ideas and held them as hostages to excuse their evil
agenda.
More global education should result in more tolerance. If young
generations leave school with the simple understanding of how
different pigment in the skin of humans come develop. It will
make them less suspicious to others that don't look like them.
If we discover new sources of energy we will have less conflict
for natural resources.
If we learn the history and the developments of nations and
religions around the world we will find more things in common
between us and will dissolve any ground for fundamentalism.
The one common thing you can find in extremists and
fundamentalist is not oppression or suffering. Its ignorance. If
they would investigate better they would find many answers.
So if we want to assure a peaceful world to future generations.
we me must consider global education as our main strategy to
fight extremism, not only in our part of the world but in the
world over, because any long term stable strategy involves all
sides to adhere. Education should be the heart of our foreign
policy...
Even when it's difficult to be optimist for a balanced and
peaceful world we should dedicate our effort and ideas to the
point of fanaticism to reach this peaceful goal because the life of
a single individual in Europe, in Africa in the middle east or
anywhere else in the world is equally sacred and should awake
the same degree of responsibility.
Today we say that the flame of hope will not be extinguished.
Thank you
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