On Wednesday, the United Nations as well as various other organisations around the world will commemorate the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly designated the 27 January as a day of commemoration for Holocaust victims. The date coincides with the day of the liberation of the biggest extermination concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau were over a 1 million people died, 90 percent of them Jewish.
In South Africa, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa, a prominent Palestinian rights group will too commemorate this day by hosting a closed session at the BDS South Africa offices along with their volunteers and staff to discuss the Holocaust and other injustices happening around the world.
“We want to draw a context around the Israeli-Palestine conflict and how we can better strengthen our fight to free Palestine,” explains Kwara Kekana, BDS South Africa spokesperson.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jews, 2 million Roma, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
“This day must be used to reaffirm humanity’s commitment to fighting injustices elsewhere, in particular we must focus on and do away with the use of this day by pro-Israeli agents and friends of Israel to use this for their own agenda,” Kekana continued.
“In particular the current conflict in Israel and Palestine is not a religious war, but a human rights issue and any attempt to use the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust must be looked down upon.”
BDS will be commemorating this day with some of their partner organisations. These organisations have members that are part of university forums as well as the Young Communist League of South Africa will be participating in the BDS discussion.
Kekana feels that not enough is being done to educate the youth in South Africa on the Holocaust, but also not enough is being done to educate people on the anti-Apartheid struggle as well as the Palestinian struggle. She believes this should play a prominent role in the education of young learners.
“The history of the anti-Apartheid struggle, the Rwandan genocide, the Holocaust and the Palestinian struggle narratives should be captured and a proper narrative should be unpacked in the school curriculum at a basic education level,” Kekana concluded. VOC