Holocaust Remembrance Day, said the President of Malta, George Vella, should be an occasion to denounce all political and military activity aimed at subjugating, humiliating, or segregating human beings based on nationality, ethnicity, religion, or race. “We owe it to the victims who paid the ultimate price and to their family members who, till this very day, continue to mourn what happened decades ago. We must make the most of the lessons we should have learnt. Most importantly, we owe it to the men, women and children still suffering persecution today,” stated President Vella during the annual Holocaust Memorial Commemoration Ceremony at Sant’Anton Palace.
President Vella noted that 80 years after the Shoah, he still sees a mentality of death, subjugation and traits of policies that came together at that moment in time to bring about the extermination of so many millions of innocent people still being practised and implemented around the globe with little or no shame or remorse, justified through domestic legislation and diplomatic allegiances. “Today, unfortunately, some human beings continue to face these atrocities, albeit not in such large numbers together. The ideology that certain people are superior to others still exists,” the President stated while noting that whether we admit it or not, this is at the basis of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and apartheid.
“Millions of unborn babies are killed before they ever have the chance to see the light of day. Others, also in their millions, are living in the most abject of conditions, deprived of the essentials for a dignified life, steeped in poverty, lacking food, in a permanent state of malnutrition, deprived of even the most basic health services, and complete lack of any educational services.” The irony of this, the President added, is that in many cases such deprivation is experienced by people who are living in countries rich in resources, which unfortunately are exploited by multinational business interests and politics of greed.
In his speech, President Vella warned that segregation through political and legal means and the use of dehumanising language and policies erecting mental and physical demarcations between ‘us’ and ‘them’ continue to be at the root of human suffering and injustice. “With all the professed good intentions on an international scale, and all the promises not to let the human degradation experienced by millions during the Holocaust ever happen again, we should be doing better. We should denounce the politics of division and instead promote the politics of peace, dialogue, and inclusion,” concluded the President.
The Holocaust Memorial Commemoration was hosted by the Office of the President and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. The commemoration was concluded by a prayer led by Rabbi Chaim Segal.