[insert candle photo and graphic from Jan AMM report]
We should never forget how important it is to take the time to remember and reflect on the atrocities of the past. It was an honour to speak in the Parliamentary Holocaust Day Memorial debate. I talked about the need to do more than just going back to normal in the wake of the pandemic.
In these dark times we talk a lot about going back to normal. But we have to remember that our normal was rising levels of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism across the UK. I quoted 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who recently said that she hopes the coronavirus pandemic “will wake people up to have better attitudes towards each other”.
The atrocities of the Holocaust, and other past events, teach us that we must challenge prejudice and the language of hatred on a daily basis. We must condemn it when it marches across our streets. We must expose it when it tries to rear its head on online platforms. We must stamp it out when it seeks political legitimacy. When prejudice is reinforced and empowered, this threatens the very fabric of democracy.
The recent situation in the USA is a reminder of what happens when hatred and discrimination are left unchecked. The responsibility is with us to be the light in the darkness, learning from the past to ensure that such horrors can never happen again. That means making a conscious effort to challenge racism every single day.