David O. Smith - July 2019
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Our nation has just concluded commemorating D-Day and the Allied Victory in Europe. We have been reminded of the sacrifices of our citizens to preserve democracy. And, we have been reminded of the horrors of the Nazi regime from the brutal prisoner of war camps to the unspeakable evil of their concentration camps - Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and Dachau, and the extermination camps - Auschwitz, Warsaw, Treblinka, to name a few.
Concentration camps are my subject today, as we MUST remember history. Our nation has had brutal POW camps on our land, such as Andersonville during the Civil War, a place one would rather forget and for which we have sought forgiveness. Prior to the Civil War, we had huge concentration camps that still exist - the Indian Reservations. They serve the ultimate purpose of all concentration camps - to seal off perceived undesirable people and to act as if they do not exist. Concentration camps concentrate individuals those in power do not want to associate with and punish and ignore them.
During WWII we brought Nazi military prisoners to our country and treated them better than our black soldiers in our then segregated military. At the same time, we opened concentration camps, yes concentration camps, in the West and forcibly placed all Japanese - American citizens and Japanese residents in those facilities. Our country downplayed them by calling them “relocation centers.” The Nazi regime “relocated” Jewish and other non-Aryans to concentration camps and later to the extermination camps. “Relocation” is a convenient euphemism for Concentration Camps. Our government has apologized for the Japanese concentration camps and paid restitution to those still living who were interned.
Then came 9-11 and we started a military prison/concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some prisoners have been there for 17 years. With the Guantanamo concentration camp, our sense of history and the evil of a concentration camp may have diminished, but it is still people in cages. And some may not think about it since it is on Cuban soil, not U.S. soil. We know the horror, but we have pushed history aside as we are busy with our daily lives.
However, our complacency and disregard of history has currently resulted in numerous concentration camps across our country for non-white immigrants. They are “undesirable people” per our government leadership - just like the American Indian, the Jews, the non-Aryans, the Japanese - Americans.
This is no different than Germany under Hitler. The concentration camp system was small at first, but this racist tenor will only grow unless stopped. If not stopped, more and more ethnic groups will be rounded up and “relocated” until the administration has a country of the “right kind” of white people. Trump, like Hitler, started separating immigrant children from their parents, just as the Nazis did with Jewish families. No one can really account for the location of all the separated children in our country.
Now, back to the concentration camps. The Trump Administration has over 48,000 non- white people/ humans/ immigrants in their camps which include what are sarcastically referred to as “ice boxes” and “dog cages.” If we do not stop this racially motivated mass arrest, incarceration, and the death of children, our grandchildren will remember American concentration camps of Adelanto, T Don, Hutto, Port Isabel like we remember Dachau and Auschwitz.
Do not be like the silent Germans who let these atrocities happen. STAND UP. BE AN AMERICAN. STOP TRUMP. Or, his racist movement will grow exponentially. How long, if unchecked, will it be before Trump and his ilk establish secret extermination camps in our country for non-whites?
- David O. Smith
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