Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In The Beginning

What do you think of when you read the series of statements below?:

1) A government rounds up people that it has deemed to be “undesirable”

2) These undesirable people are forced to produce papers proving who they are and where they are from

3) The undesirables are then catalogued, separated into different groups, and given a highly visible marking which reflects their final disposition

4) The undesirable people are then “processed” according to a predetermined fate selected for them by the government

If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t have to read through all 4 of those statements before visions of Swastikas, death camps, and smoke belching chimneys came to your mind. It is an accurate description of what occurred in Nazi Germany.

The problem is, this isn’t Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, this is Ontario today:

'Ontario Residents Only' at Tent City
Dozens of Ontario police and code enforcement officers descended upon the homeless encampment known as Tent City early Monday, separating those who could stay from those to be evicted.

Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.

Many who had taken shelter at the camp -- which had grown from 20 to more than 400 residents in nine months -- lacked paperwork, bills or birth certificates proving they were once Ontario residents.

"When my husband gets out of jail he can bring my marriage certificate; will that count?" asked one tearful woman.

Another resident, clearly confused, seemed relieved to get a white band -- not understanding it meant she had to leave.

Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."

Ontario officials, citing health and safety issues, say it is necessary to thin out Tent City. The move to dramatically reduce the population curtails an experiment begun last year to provide a city-approved camp where homeless people would not be harassed.
Read Entire Article

Granted, we’re talking about homeless people, not Jews & Gypsies.
Granted, they are only being marked with wristbands, not tattoos.
Granted, they are only being removed, not exterminated.

I’ll grant you all that. But those 4 statements above still apply in their entirety.

I’m not saying that this is the same thing – because it’s not – but you have to admit, the similarities are disturbingly close. I also understand the justification for doing it; after all, it sure seems to be in the best interests of everyone.

But then again, I’m sure the German people thought the same thing over 70 years ago.

At least in the beginning.


Kathy said...

Have you read War Against the Weak by Edwin Black?

Blaine Staat said...

No, I haven't. I'll put a request in for it at our library if it's worth reading.

Kathy said...

I found out about the book on a bioethics blog in which that author said it was one of the best books available on the history of eugenics. War Against the Weak seems to be very well documented. One thing that I did find strange was the author seemed to be very protective of Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood fame, yet he let her speak through her own quotes, which were quite shocking. I didn't notice such partiality in any other part of the book. I thought it was worth reading.