Sunday, 27th of January 2019 was no ordinary Sunday. It was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 74 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum puts the total number of deaths to be at 17 million which included 6 million jews, other racial and religious minorities, the physical disabled, political victims, and homosexuals.
I often think about it and question how was it possible? One mentally deranged leader? A society that turned a blind eye and focused solely on their wellbeing? Human beings are higher mammals in the tree of evolution. Surely we must have an internal genetic baseline that should have prevented this. Our conscience?
Today news of horrific killings enter our homes through news sources, or sadly through personal tragedy, as mental instability plagues our 21st century or as terrorist groups cause destruction. Yes, all life is as precious as the next, but 17 million people over the short span of time of approximately years 12 years beginning with the rise of Hitler to power, is shocking.
More shocking are the statistics that appear within Europe where significant percentages have no knowledge of the Holocaust. Do we want History to look back at our times and judge a complacent and indifferent Europe and world? Discrimination and intolerance is wrong and no individual should compromise their better judgement out of habit or out of fear that has been created collectively.
Understanding that kindness and love towards one another is not difficult and can be mindfully cultivated is uplifting. For kindness breeds kindness and rewards us with a sense of inner wellbeing.
Tulia Maria de Sousa is a medical doctor and mother who uses photography to capture the beauty of our world. For her, photography has the transformative power to inspire and empower us to cultivate awareness and empathy which is necessary for mindful living. Portuguese, born in Kenya and having lived in Thailand and Ireland, her life experiences have shaped her understanding of being mindful and the importance of love within and amongst families, communities and societies.