Us and Them

Submitted by UbuntuFM on Fri, 08/14/2020 - 14:10
When they came, there was nobody to speak out for me...

Julian Assange: exiled, imprisoned, convicted? After many years they came for him. What makes you think they won't be coming for you. If not for your personal freedom then at least for your civil liberties.

There is historical precedent... 

First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Socialist...

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Trade Unionist...

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out,
Because I was not a Jew...

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me...

"First they came ..." is a famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt, and responsibility.

Niemöller in fact was an anti-communist and supported Adolf Hitler's rise to power at first. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. He managed to survive the Nazi concentration camps, where millions did not, and was finally released in 1945 by the forces who had defeated the Nazis.