Last night, I went to a Holocaust Remembrance Service or Yom HaShoah at the local synagogue here in Regina. Yom HaShoah is held annually to remember the estimated 6 million Jews that we systematically persecuted and destroyed by Nazi Germany. The main part of the service included an address from investigate journalist, Edwin Black. Black is best known for his writing on how the corporations of America profited from the Holocaust, specifically IBM. I encourage you to follow the links here and to read for yourself what Black has uncovered. To summarize, Blacks message was that corporate greed made this injustice possible. Desire for MONEY about PEOPLE made the Holocaust a reality and led to the deaths of 6 million Jews, along with homosexuals, gypsy’s, Jehovah Witnesses and more, at the hands of the Nazis.
If we do not understand our past, we are doomed to repeat it.” This phrase was stated a couple of times last night and it makes sense to me. If we forget the atrocities that occurred, we may very well repeat them… but what are we supposed to do if these atrocities are STILL occurring? If you knew to Holocaust was happening right now, what would you do about it? If you knew that corporate greed was still marginalizing people for profit, choosing MONEY over PEOPLE, would you do what you could to stop it?
The very sad, but true, fact is… this is still happening in our world. I am so blessed to live in Canada and living here, it is easy to forget that there are people in the world who do not have things so well off. It is estimated that between 12 to 27 million slaves exist worldwide. I recently took an online quiz which told me that because of the things I own (clothes, smartphones, laptops, T.V’s, jewellery) it is likely I had 43 slaves working for me. You can find the quiz here. Corporate greed is having the corporations I buy things from finding the cheapest possible way to purchase the raw materials needs to create their goods for me to consume.
I get to live the way I live (with all of my fancy toys, clothes, etc.) because somebody else is being marginalized. I am not OK with this. In a recent conversation with peers, I was told that we ‘cannot care about everything that happens in the world’ and that ‘that’s just how things are.’ These answers are not good enough for me. If I knew that the Holocaust was happening right now, I would do what I could to stop it. I KNOW that corporations are causing slavery and I am doing NOTHING.
And to be honest, I’m not even sure where to start. What can I do to stop slavery? I have tried looking into the companies I purchase goods from and have yet be able to find any links to slavery. I have found many accusations, and many defenses, but no actual facts. It would appear that companies would rather you not know that their raw materials are purchased from supplies who have forced or unpaid labour. Awareness is something… but awareness without action is useless.
If you know of ways I can help to end slavery, please send me a message.