Working together for a better world

From: Deacon Dave Havard, Pitsmoor

I want to write to express my enormous gratitude to those who organised and all who took part in this years annual Holocaust Memorial.

We have a lot to be proud of in Sheffield that we are able to welcome so many diverse people who have come here to find sanctuary from oppression abroad.

As we reflect on the events in Nazi Germany more than 60 years ago it is sobering to remember that the racism, nationalism and hatred that led to those events still exist as strong as ever in many parts of our troubled world.

It is a great credit t o the organisers of Sheffield’s Holocaust Memorial that they have been able t o include the many various groups who with the Jews suffered under Nazism.

Sadly the Roma representatives who were due to speak for the first time this year were not able to join us at the last minute.

The theme of this years Holocaust Memorial was “Untold Stories”.

I hav e been to three of these memorials and have been greatly moved by all of them.

It struck me however that there are at least two communities in Sheffield whose stori es of ethnic cleansing have not been told here yet; the Karen people from Burma and the Palestinians.

Both these stories involve betrayal of former allies by the British Government, giving away their ancestral lands to other races who have oppressed them ever since.

We British have a lot to answer for in the many conflicts that continue to mark the legacy of the British empire.

I think Sheffielders have demonstrated that we are now able to hear the stories of all our fellow citizens however painful to us.

I know it is hard for Jewish people to hear the pain that Palestinians have suffered as they lost homes and land in the creation of the new state of Israel and the ongoing suffering of occupation.

However if peace is to come to the Middle East then Jews need to listen to the suffering of Palestinians just as Palestinians need to hear the suffering of Jews.

The stories of the Holocaust and the Nakba (disaster) need to be told and heard.

We need to work together for a world in which holocausts do not continue for anyone.

We need an end to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, an end to ethnic cleansing an d an end to ghettos where only one race or religion can live.