'Never Again - Ever!' is a campaign led by grandchildren of those affected by the Holocaust. It is also supported by their allies, and the descendants of other international conflicts. Its purpose is to reflect on how we can stop genocide from happening to anyone ever again, and build campaigns on challenging injustice illegal today.
Our campaign will raise dialogue, understanding, and drive a movement to confront structures in society that are still vulnerable to fascist mentalities. We believe that seven decades on, the Holocaust has not been used to inform the construction of a better world, after seeing the nightmare of its alternative moral deterioration. These are times of of social upheaval and massive inequality, particularly with the advent of globalization, and there are still scapegoats being used to vent people's rage and confusion during these uncertain times. It has been seventy years, but we still cannot confidently say "Never Again."
We choose to honor those who died in the Holocaust by exploring why it happened, and pushing for the type of society that can prevent genocidal attitudes from gaining strength.
We are working in conjunction with a wide range of human rights grassroots groups and Holocaust memorial groups across the world. Our approach is unique, as we aim to anchor Holocaust memory in modern political action so as to overcome inherited trauma both spiritually and through tangible policy change. It is our belief that the Holocaust should be a time when we celebrate activism and the ability to create change, in order to build "Never Again," rather than get lost in memorials where we chant the phrase emptily. We say 'Never Again - Ever!'
1) We confront the existing structures that let the Holocaust happen. While the Holocaust is no longer with us, the phrase “Never Again” cannot be said definitively because the structural and philosophical problems in our social and economic system that ultimately led to the Holocaust are still at play in the world around us. There are still scapegoats being used to redirect people’s rage in times of social upheaval and massive inequality, particularly with the advent of globalisation. Genocide is still very much a part of modern politics, and we choose to honour those who died in the Holocaust by exploring hpw and why it happens, with an eye on confronting the injustices that cause it to fester.
2) We expose the seemingly irrelevant structures of genocide. The Holocaust wasn’t simply done by evil people. It was far more complicated, and part of what happened is that the murders were compartmentalized for everyone involved. As the bloodshed occurred, every person who played a role in the Holocaust had the plausibility of denial. The labour necessary to make the Holocaust happen was so intensely subdivided that no single person felt like more than a cog in the machine. Most importantly, it relied on people willingly forgetting that their work had social consequences, and behaving as though facilitating genocide was just another profession. We believe that this core problem is still present in many professions, even if it isn’t being used for mass murder on the same scale. It is crucial for the infrastructure of many current injustices such as the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.
3) We transform our societies. We do not seek to compare the Holocaust to other events crudely, and thus “relativize” the horror of what occurred in Nazi Germany. It is not our objective to argue that “Gaza is the new Holocaust,” or that “starvation is the new Holocaust,” and so on. Rather, as grandchildren of the Nazi Holocaust and their allies, we seek to understand which dysfunctions led to the Holocaust. From there, we want to use our knowledge to explore how these social issues are still present, even if they may never lead to another Holocaust. We seek to help transform societies so that these dysfunctions are not even present, making the risk of another genocide moot. After that, “Never Again” would really mean something substantive.
4) We let corporate power know that we are watching. We wish to emphasize that the War on Terror has allowed many states, including Israel, to use the justification of national security in order to trounce on the ideals of international law and human rights that the Holocaust partially made necessary in the first place. While the Holocaust was just one part of the experience of 20th century totalitarianism that drove the concept of human rights, and indeed led to the creation of the United Nations, these ideals are a major part of its legacy. They are the best defense we have to ensure the ideal scenario of “Never Again.” We are therefore intensely troubled that a renewed disrespect for international law is occurring, especially since it is occurring at the same time that global corporations are rising without serious checks on their power. After all, fascism was made possible in part by a sudden concentration of corporate power to be levied against working-class movements. It dismays us greatly to see that this is still occurring. Not only is it amoral for its own reasons, but it also betrays the memory of those who died in the Holocaust.
5) We wish to be life-affirming rather than obsessed with mourning. The Holocaust was a horrific event. Still though, we find that our historical memory of it is often too obsessed with commemorating death, at the expense of celebrating life. The Holocaust was a systematic slaughter of human beings, but it shouldn’t destroy our ability to feel and experience one another. We feel that this is crucial to the world finally moving past what happened, and opening a new and gentler chapter in human history.
During 2015, the ‘Never Again Ever!’ Holocaust memorial project explored the very notion of a memorial. ’Never Again Ever! is based on the idea that memorialisation without action is part of the problem, and this was reflected in our events over the past year. 2015 was a year filled with commemorations to the Holocaust, owing to it being the 70th anniversary of its “end.” 'Never Again Ever!' successfully created many exciting, creative, and unique events in this context, and will continue to do so. Here is our 2nd year plan.
In 2015, we oriented our events on communities that are often ignored in the ‘Holocaust hierarchy.’ These included its disabled (Holocaust Memorial Day Vigil on January 27), LGBTQI+ (The Homocaust on February 28), and Roma-Sinti (Roma Holocaust Memorial on August 2) victims. These groups suffer from continued marginalisation, and their exclusion from the official Holocaust narrative obscures the full horror of what happened. This is essential to spotting how fascist mentalities continue. Never Again Ever! attempted to unravel that complicated question through events such as the creative activism workshop Beyond the Ballot Box on June 14, the screening of Cabaret: The Musical on September 29,
and the Kristallnacht memorial Is the Past Ever the Past? on October 10. Our most well-known action was the Beyond UKIP Cabaret on March 11, during which we performed our opposition to fascism as it continues to exist.
Our 2016 plan will continue to acknowledge and highlight these significant anniversaries but move beyond to provide a meticulous understanding of how the general public can assert itself in intervening in the production of violence. For this reason our key focus is on the arms trade and its impacts on the migrant 'crisis', sovereign immunity and the rise of the Neo-Nazi's.
The purpose of an anti-arms focus in ‘Never Again Ever!’
1. To expose the continued colonial ‘conquering mentality of the 'Other'
2. To provide a beautiful space for the questioning of war, provide a space to critique power, to expose the hypocrisies of institutions (political, arms and media) perpetuating warfare and
ultimately to stop it in the first place; and expose the addiction to power and domination.
3. To encapsulate for the general public how we can celebrate life and challenge assumptions in the production of violence
4. To challenge our audiences to think about anti-violence i.e. how not to retaliate and perpetuate predictable cycles of violence.
Never Again Ever! Launch video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_vXLF2GfAo
Never Again Ever! Behind the scenes video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK-t4q8Km0o
Never Again Ever! and myself - alongside our work with In Place of War (IPOW) have a vast array of networks working on a wide range of interconnected human rights issues. It would be an honour to share the great work that the Anna Lindh Foundation does.
I wholeheartedly support the mission of the ALF Foundation and believe the work you do is pioneering and has a great deal of integrity. I think there can be a lot of mutual benefits of building our relationship across your great work in media, culture, education and the arts.