It's been a while since I did, well, anything here on my very own website. There are a few reasons for this, the most prominent of them being that there really wasn't much to talk about in the last few months. The days where I informed the whole world (or at least the part of it which read my online-effusions from time to time) on a permanent basis while I was swimming, cycling and running have been over for quite some time now. Not because I wouldn't do those things anymore, but because times do change.
I simply don't feel the need anymore to convince the ether of the oh so brutal fate of an athlete. Hard training, aching, paincave... the times where I saw myself in an elite, tough and successful light due to these attributes are, well, over. Also, there's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the likes and there are enough people on there who continue to do just that. And they are better at it than I ever was! So if you're looking for this sort of thing, you'll find it.
So why today? What's different on this very day than on all of the other 364?
Granted - there isn't a single day in our calendar that isn't paired with something remarkable that happened somewhere, somehow, that is of historical importance and should be remembered.
What makes January 27th into something special, however, are two things in my opinion: First, that it is the date on which the Red Army liberated the concentracion camp Auschwitz Birkenau on this day. As of 2005, January 27th is the official rememberance day for the victims of national socialism. Second, that almost noone seems to know about this anymore these days and it's often dismissed with a mere shrug.
"Auschwitz? Yeah, wait, that was... help me out here real quick..."
Is the awareness for the most deepest, darkest abyss of terror and horror caused by the NS-regime during World War II something that should be considered general knowledge?
It's not on my to decide this, but I do stand in for my opinion that, this should definitely be the case. Yes! Especially in this our time where it has become a common thing to follow propaganda and disperse hatred and violence in about every shape imaginable it is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary that we keep in mind to what pointing fingers, the spreading of ideologies, the pillory and, above it all, the grim clinging to blind opinions for the sake of one's own insignificance can lead. Have lead. Lead?
Perhaps I'm a snob. I can live with that. But it scares me, frightens me, worries me when I meet people nowadays, be it on the internet or in real life, who don't know what Auschwitz, the Holocaust, World War II, Hitler, the "Judenfrage" ("Jewish Question") are all about. I'm not asking for nor expecting a knowledge that's on the level of a history professor, but the the absolute ignorance that one can encounter especially on this very day in a variety of forms on about every channel is just not tolerable.
The way I See it, there is absolutely no excuse for ignoring the systematic murder of over six million people because it's more fun these days to debate the fact that it might be uncomfortable to wear a piece of cloth over one's face when entering a grocery store. Our past should teach us not to repeat mistakes and not be abused to justify our own wrongdoings with those of our ancestors.
If, as the Israeli scientist Yuval Noah Harari phrases so aptly, the taming of fire has been the first step towards the atomic bomb, then the first scribbles on the walls of a quaternary cenozoic cave have been the symbolic first step towards our modern day communication.
Starting from here, one could go as far as to state that the need for destruction has always overshadowed the one for communication. Meanwhile it could also be said that the biggest works of annihilation in modern history have all but begun with written word. Holy scriptures like the Quran and the Bible have lead to religious wars, ideologic persecutions, burning witches on the stake. Political coups, pamphlets, the Wannsee-conference.
The feather is not mightier than the sword, but it sharpens better than every whetstone.
We are living in disturbing, fear stirring and unsettling times. The Corona crisis has gotten our whole world into a state which lots of us have only been able to imagine in bad dreams. Or... it has made it visible? It's a fact that we as a society, as the peoples of the German-speaking regions, are at a point of which those few who were there back then can say: That's not how it started. That's half way there...
I'm not trying to start a pro-vaccination rally, nor do I wish to denounce anyone for their views and opinions. We are all allowed to believe and to do as we please and see fit - however, with the small yet important suffix: as long as we don't harm anyone else with it. That's what our freedom and also, possibly, what we can learn from Mr. Kant.
Whomever wants to believe that wearing a mask will harm them - that is your right. Whomever wants to believe that we will all be chipped and then tracked by the vaccine - that, too, is your right and in case you're reading this on a mobile phone, you could google the term "irony" as well. Whomever wants to believe that the Queen of England is having young kids delivered to Buckingham Palace on a regular basis to bath in their blood and thus stay alive forever - that is your right (and, measured by the colourful history of Transylvania, despite all rediculousness by far not the most absurd theory on the internet these days).
What you have no right to, however, is to compare your current discomfort to "concentration camp-like circumstances" on Social Media. You have no right to use those channels to invite "the elites" to surround your house with barbed wire "as a final twist" to "be back in 1940". You have no right to take a selfie at the Holocaus memorial in Berlin and post it with the hashtag #almostthere on your profiles.
(For clarification: a mere twelve minutes on Social Media was enough this morning to find these three gems. Who, what and how I won't publish - that's not MY right).
76 years ago today, mankind learned by the most brutal illustrative example what consequences it can bare when we look away, don't punish ignorance and aggression and be above all relieved for not standing in the line of fire.
In case you don't have anything better to do on this 27th of January I can only suggest you read this article:
Down't allow our generation to have to look back in thirty, fourty years and say: back then, we could have done something...
We can do something. By speaking out for those without voice - and not for those who never asked us to. And above it all: by just NOT sharing, liking or posting a lot of stuff without really questioning it first. This has never been easier than it is today, right?
In this sense I do wish all of you a happy new year 2021. May it be a real happy one!