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On the recent Holocaust vigil:

Recently, the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation conducted its annual 24-hour vigil in remembrance of the Holocaust. This effort is designed to increase tolerance and understand oppression. In a lovely piece NPR produced focusing on the Jews who perished in the Holocaust, I noted a glaring absence of reference to others who also were brutalized, tortured and murdered during this atrocity. As a Jew, I have heard about the Jewish victims of the Holocaust ever since I can remember, but less often do I hear about the nearly 6 million others, including the Romanies (Gypsies), the disabled, mentally ill, homosexual and transsexual people, Slavics, Soviets and other political dissidents, i.e., anyone who Hitler did not consider pure Aryans, who he systemically murdered. In an effort to broaden the understanding of the many who were obliterated during this tragic historical period, I urge the Hillel Foundation in its annual event to add to its list of names they read, the names of other, non-Jewish victims who also perished at Hitler’s hands. Many of these same groups of individuals continue to be victimized by prejudice, ignorance and intolerance. Honoring those others who died would serve to further the understanding of oppression and increase tolerance for people whose differences make them special and important and worthy of protection in today’s society, as well as to remember those who died in a time not so long ago.

— Vicki Gotkin

In response to “Immigration reform does not mean ending deportation” (By David Weissman, March 20):

“People who pay such little respect to the legitimate framework of immigration should be deported.”

What is “legitimate” about this framework, built on the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Native Americans, and forced immigration of people from Africa and other lands for the purpose of slavery?

What is “legitimate” about the U.S. and other Western entities colonizing Central and South American nations, politically (for example via assassinations, coups, and government takeovers) and economically, and then implementing laws there, making living conditions unbearable for the poor and forcing residents of these countries to seek refuge in the United States in hopes of finding a more livable lifestyle, and then forcing them out of the U.S.? In case you’re wondering which Latin American countries the U.S. has militarily intervened, here’s a list of a few: Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Grenada, Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela.

“This country is built on immigrants — legal ones” Oh really? Is that right? That’s news to me — in what history book did you read that the Native Americans who were here before us gave us legal permission to take over each and every square foot of what is now the U.S.?

“When people think they can enter this country illegally, without repercussions, it is an insult to those who go through legal channels to live here.” Yes, especially when you come here illegally and then rape, murder, and enslave the native inhabitants. That is, indeed, quite an insult. And then you further go on to establish your own “anti-immigration” laws and call it “legitimate.”

— Joe


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