Letters: Don’t let it happen here

How could regular, average people have passively stood by while millions were murdered?

Editor, The News:

Many years ago, when I was young and in school and learning about the Second World War, I remember being profoundly confused at how such an atrocity could have happened.

How could regular, average people have passively stood by while millions were murdered?

I think I am finally beginning to understand.

In the 1930s, average people in Europe and North America were struggling with an economic downturn. There was wide-spread poverty and disorder in the streets. People supported populist movements, whose leaders promised a return to stability and security.

At the street level, big burly young men in brown shirts helped granny cross the street and drove the beggars away and made sure no degenerates bothered the little girls.

Entrenched political and media structures – from Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to the New York Times – vacillated. They didn’t believe the truth was as bad as the rumours were suggesting.

They said that once Hitler and Mussolini had real power they would tone down their rhetoric and govern pragmatically.

And, besides, maybe a dose of discipline would do the rabble some good and bring back respect for authority and a proper work ethic.

At least the trains are finally running on time, right?

We all know how that worked out.

Right-wing populism is back in the U.S. and Britain, and looks likely to win elections in  many countries in Europe.

Just like in the 1930s, these people justify their actions by claiming that they are simply concerned community members helping to maintain public order. They disavow accusations of racist motivations, despite the symbolic connotations with which they proudly cloak themselves.

I now understand how it happened. They let these people take over, first at the  neighbourhood level, then as local politicians, then as party leaders and elected officials and cabinet members and bureaucrats.

The movement quickly became so powerful that it was impossible  to stop.

Lest we forget.

Jennifer Zickerman

Maple Ridge


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

LOOKING BACK: A ride down memory lane or in this case Dewdney Trunk Road

Maple Ridge’s museum director offers a history lessson on how the major thoroughfare came to be

$75K will mean gifts for Maple Ridge man’s kids

Meneo Asperin had a rush of emotion when he thought he’d won $75 on BC/49

New Maple Ridge park to be finished this summer

Park located on the former site of the Anita Place Tent City

VIDEO: Supporters turn out to honour art gallery curator

LETTER: 40 people turned out to thank Barbara Duncan for her contribution to the arts in Maple Ridge

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Missing Fraser Valley woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Most Read