Acceptance and otherness …

Tempel Synagogue, Kraków
Tempel Synagogue, Kraków

So, I can finally articulate what it was that I felt at Auschwitz.

It’s not about the mass killing of Jews, Poles or Gypsies; but rather about our intolerance of “otherness” … and that includes the otherness within ourselves.

So, this is what I learnt while walking through the Old Town in Warsaw, from visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Krakow’s beautiful market Square, and Auschwitz.

Things like race, gender, nationality, faith, sexual orientation, language, and culture are the root of most conflicts.

These same things are the root of beautiful expressions that tap into what is magical about life.

I think the challenge, for me, is to extend the things that define me beyond what it is that creates my otherness. So even though I’m male it does not mean that I can be chauvinistic and so on.

So, even though I’m male, it does not mean that I can be chauvinistic… and so on.

For me to unpack the things that define me so that I don’t contribute to unnecessary conflict is key.

My unconscious prejudices are more dangerous than my conscious ones because, by their very nature, they are hidden. Also, my predispositions define where I work, who my friends are and so on, so that in a sense I create an environment where these predispositions don’t get challenged.

I saw in this country the consequence of prejudice without restraint.

Of everything that I witnessed on this short trip, probably the thing that I disliked the most was the Soviet occupation of Poland. And the extermination camps, because they attacked and devalued the most important thing in our humanity: and that is our freedom and our souls.

And that was what I learnt!

Spring is here. All young men should spend time in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Spring is here.
All young men should spend time in Poland and the Czech Republic.
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