Makes an Ass Out of You

This is a rant. It will be judgmental, disrespectful and crude. I hope you understand that this is not who I am all the time, but I think it is healthy to give free reign to your pent-up emotions every so often and say what you are feeling. If you are in any way offended by what I say in this article, here’s what you do: read the article in its entirety, get really, really mad, even look in the mirror and make sure you have an angry look on your face, say things like, “how dare he,” and “who the hell does he think he is,” then call your mom and tell her all about it, because she’s the only one who cares. I don’t.

The issue that I want to discuss is the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a tragic event that should never repeat itself; that is something we can all agree on, I simply don’t like how people talk about it. People say things like “I can’t believe they killed all those people, it’s so sad,” and “those damn Nazis man, Hitler was insane.” What bothers me is that everybody I have ever heard talk about the Holocaust seems to have it in their heads that if they had been alive back then, they would have defended the Jews and opposed the Nazis. They assume they would have been benevolent angels and helped Jews while looking down the barrels of SS and Gestapo rifles. I am not trying to say that you wouldn’t have helped the Jews if you had been alive back then, or that there is no good in this world, all I am saying is stop assuming. Stop overestimating the content of your character, because nobody knows how they would behave until they find themselves in that situation.

You disrespect so many people by assuming: the Jews, because we know precisely how many people refused to help them, the Nazis because you make them seem like they were some other breed of vile creatures when in reality they were human beings like you and me who followed orders (I’m not trying to justify their actions, I’m just reiterating that they were humans like us). By speaking down on Nazis and people who helped the Nazi cause, you are immediately placing yourself on a higher moral ground which you have in no way earned because you have never found yourself in a situation similar to the one they were in.

By now you’ve probably realized that this doesn’t particularly pertain to the Holocaust — it’s relevant to the Rwandan genocide, to views on immigration, to the Syrian and Libyan atrocities happening as I am typing and you are reading this, even to the girl or boy at school who others tease because they’re different; it is a matter of humanity and doing what is right, and not assuming you would before you actually do.
That is what really gets me, when people decide what kind of person they are without having any evidence or experiences that prove as much. All I’m trying to say is don’t assume, learn the facts, be honest with yourself and don’t let the way teachers, friends or family teach you information dictate the way you interpret it and perceive yourself — you’ll learn more about yourself in the end.

Rant over. Read it, think about it, love it or throw it away. Obviously everything I’ve written is severe and hyperbolic, don’t take it all literally. You’ll miss the entire point by literalizing everything I write, you’ll overlook the possibility of there being any worth in my words. But I think the basic idea is in each paragraph; and my message as well. Peace!

Belester Benitez is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached at bbenitez@uci.edu.