Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Caveat Lectores on a Lesson from Martin Niemöller

I was having a productive day at my desk without serious interruption when it came time for lunch, and I made the mistake of going to Facebook. The first item on the list was an opinion piece by Keith Olbermann of MSNBC entitled: There is No “Ground Zero Mosque”. Naturally, I clicked on the hyperlink.
The editorial comment was long and after watching the entire piece, I found myself in tears. I have made some comment on the Mosque issue but have been timid because public sentiment has been so seemingly overwhelmingly against the Muslim Cultural Center near the site of the 9/11 disaster. Many of my friends and clients are firefighters who have a very strong sentiment about the lives of brother and sister public safety personnel lost to terrorists that day. It is a sentiment I share with them.

The tears were from shame because I had failed to remember the saying I kept on my refrigerator door all through law school that was to serve as a reminder of why I left the fire service to become an attorney dedicated to the causes of working people and organized labor.

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

and by that time no one was left to speak up."

I encourage you to click on the hyperlink and reflect on what is occurring. For some of you, this is just Keith and Jeff preaching to the choir. For others there may be a lesson that is worth learning. A few of you may be so far gone nothing can help you. Maybe your God will forgive you. Such is life.

And oh yes, have a nice Day?


Caveat Lectores by Jeff Carnes
7312 Readers in 498 Cities, 46 States and 22 Countries
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Although he (Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984)) was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[2] he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph,[3] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[4] For his opposition to the Nazis' state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945.[5][6] He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment.[7] After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis.[3] He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.[3] From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist,[7] and vice-chair of War Resisters' International from 1966 to 1972.[8] He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.[7] (Wikipedia, of course)

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