Saturday, 10 October 2015

Letter to The Times - History Repeats

Subject: A parallel between the current refugee crisis and the Evian Conference of 1938, by a pupil of Leaving Cert History Sir, - I am a 6th year student studying History for my Leaving Certificate in June 2016. One of the main reasons I chose History as a subject is that I believe it is a subject of critical importance, I believe that the most important lesson that can be drawn from this subject is that we must learn from past wrongdoings and that we cannot let history repeat itself. In July 1938 the leaders of 32 nations assembled in Evian, France, to discuss the situation of Jewish refugees. The leaders in attendance all expressed concern about the dangers that the Nazi party posed towards German Jews. However, none of the aforementioned leaders felt obliged to take in any more Jewish refugees than they had already granted asylum to. For the majority of countries, this was none. Our Taoiseach at the time, Eamon de Valera, cited overcrowded professions and the emigration of Irish people as reasons not to open our borders to the refugees. In the following seven years, one of the most large-scale, efficient and systematic attempts of genocide this planet has ever witnessed was carried out. The result? The deaths of six million Jews and other persecuted parties. The Evian Conference may not have been the opportunity to prevent the Holocaust. However, had decisive action been taken, countless innocent lives would not have been lost. Furthermore, Hitler noted how “astounding” it was that, although condemning Germany, the surrounding countries did not open their borders. Ultimately the Evian Conference gave Hitler the signal that foreign countries would not interfere with his anti-semitic policies. As the leaders of the European Union meet to discuss the modern day refugee crisis, will they “condemn” IS or will they open their borders to what could be 9 million helpless people. As citizens of the EU, will we “condemn” IS or will we take action and force our governments to help these people. Seventy years ago six million people lost their lives as world leaders did not take action. We must not let history repeat itself. - Yours, etc, OIS├ŹN McEVOY,
The High School Dublin Rathgar, Dublin 6.

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