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Holocaust Memorial Day: The fragility of freedom

Date: 25 January 2024
Author: Cllr Jo Humphreys
Title: Councillor for Whitton ward

27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day, an opportunity for us to remember the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, and reflect on these truly horrific events.

This year's theme is the fragility of freedom, and although freedom means different things to different people, what is clear is that in every genocide that has taken place, those who were targeted for persecution had their freedom restricted and removed. The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers but with the slow erosion of the freedom of not only those who were being targeted, but of others around them.

Freedom is fragile, and too often can be taken for granted, and this Holocaust Memorial Day, we can reflect on how these freedoms need to be valued and protected.

Here in the UK, as elsewhere in the world, there are signs that we must remain vigilant. Changes in legislation regarding the right to protest have caused  concern, and without a doubt we have seen a noticeable increase in prejudice and the language of hatred and division. Political discourse is becoming more and more polarised, and our reputation as a nation that is welcoming and tolerant, has changed.

Genocide tragically is not something that has been consigned to the history books, and this threatens the very fabric of civilisation and must be resisted every day. If we can truly learn from the past, we can hopefully create a better, safer future.

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Updated: 25 January 2024