Nicolas Sarkozy´s Holocaust adoption proposal – Selective education?
By Ian Brockwell
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come under attack for his proposal to get schoolchildren to “adopt” Jewish child victims of the Holocaust. More than 11,000 French Jewish children were deported from France to Auschwitz and other camps during the Second World War. Sarkozy told the French Jewish community that every 10-year-old schoolchild should be “entrusted with the memory of a French child victim of the Holocaust”.
Some have reacted to the idea by saying that some of the children could be traumatized by identifying with a Holocaust victim. Gilles Moindrot, general secretary of the Snuipp-FSU trade union said “The emotional burden can have negative consequences for a child who is developing,”. However, Sarkozy responded by saying “Believe me, you will not traumatize children by giving them the gift of the memory of a country … Any psychologist will tell you, you have to tell a child the truth,”
Sarkozy also stated “Let us make our children, children with open eyes who are not complacent.”
Perhaps it would be better if President Sarkozy allowed the children to have “open minds” and let them discover the truth for themselves? And why should only Jewish victims be selected for this “adoption” proposal? As tragic as it is, many French children died during the war, are they´re memories less important?
The terrible “truth” of the matter is that millions of children have been killed in wars since the “Holocaust”, and it is still happening (Iraq is just one example). Is this obsession with reminding us constantly of the “Holocaust” helping to prevent similar horrors? Of course not, so how long must we pretend that it is?
Even Simone Veil, an Auschwitz survivor, has fiercely criticized President Nicolas Sarkozy´s plan saying “It’s unimaginable, unbearable, tragic, and above all, unfair… We can’t inflict this on 10-year-old children. We can’t ask a child to identify with a dead child. The weight of this memory is much too heavy to bear”
Simone Veil made a very important point when she suggested that Sarkozy´s idea could risk stirring religious antagonism “How a very Catholic or Muslim family will react when they will ask their son or their daughter to represent the memory of a small Jew?”
Could it be that Nicolas Sarkozy´s motives are a little biased? Although he is a Roman Catholic, his mother was of French Catholic and Greek Jewish descent. Perhaps his new wife Carla (who has some Jewish connections, according to the European Jewish Press site) has also influenced his decision?
With all the other problems existing in France (especially Sarkozy´s popularity), it seems an odd proposal to introduce at this moment in time. France has a large percentage of Muslim´s living in the country, and they might well be concerned that their President is “taking sides”. Let´s hope this is not the case.
Nicolas Sarkozy´s has said that “If you do not talk to them of this tragedy, then you should not be surprised if it repeats itself,” and “It is ignorance that prompts the repetition of abominable situations, not knowledge”. There has been plenty of talk over the last 60 years, and it is repeating itself all over the world! The current US administration (just one example) is guilty of causing the deaths of many thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, a country that Sarkozy wants closer ties with, do they not have the “knowledge”, or are they simply ignorant?
Maybe it´s time for less talk and more action? What would really help (and honor those already lost), is to stop killing each other! The only thing our children need to know is that their leaders create these “tragedies”, and should avoid voting for them when they are old enough to do so! We must not be tempted in giving our support only to “selected” victims of the past or present (every life is precious), and have the courage to speak out when this happens. Perhaps then we shall make some progress?