Failing to call out dictators fails humanity

Published in The Examiner 13 January 2020

So it helps if you enjoy reading.

The Christmas break affords the opportunity to read for leisure.

This year it included, thanks to my staff, the autobiography of a humble champion, Gary Ablett. Well worth a read and yes the writer may well be a Geelong tragic.

Another awesome (in the true sense of the word) read was the story of Eddie Jaku. This centenarian Sydney-sider decided to tell his story last year. The title: The Happiest Man on Earth. One could imagine from the title that it was a story of a charmed life.

Instead, it is the story of a holocaust survivor.

That's right, a holocaust survivor self-describing as the "happiest man" despite the depravities and inhumane brutalities that he witnessed and personally experienced.

For Eddie Jaku, life was beautiful if you made it beautiful. For him, happiness is something we can choose - a worthy new year's resolution.

Amid this uplifting life story is the provision of detail of the full horror of the National Socialist evil perpetrated against so many.

And he begs the question why did people allow it to happen? Why didn't people speak out and say 'enough is enough'?

If enough people had spoken out, history might well have been different, and the atrocities of World War II avoided.

We can't rewrite history, but we can learn from it and be on the alert, which is why our security personnel thankfully take emerging right-wing extremism very seriously along with other forms of extremism.

So, it was heartening to see the public repulsion at the national socialist symbols displayed at a local residence last year.

Eddie's recounting of his observations of a past era bear a stark resemblance to certain current-day occurrences.

German society was being totally reorganised for war.

There is a country today which has adopted a 'civilian-military fusion' concept whereby anything from the civilian sector that is potentially valuable for military purposes needs to be made available to its military.

The rounding up of people deemed to be unfriendly to the State was simultaneously pursued; Communists, political prisoners, Slavs, Freemasons and Jews.

Today another country is rounding up Uighurs, house Christians, Falun Gong practitioners and pro-democracy advocates.

The use of slave labour exploiting the able-bodied in concentration camps (which included Mr Jaku) was part of the so-called nation-building exercise. Today the Uighurs are experiencing similar exploitation.

Illegal land acquisition tested the resolve and commitment of the world community which was tried and found wanting, so it proceeded. Recently islands in the South China Sea have been illegally seized and turned into a military base. The consequences again regrettably zero.

The so-called medical experiments of national socialism have been documented in all their barbarity.

A tribunal headed by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has determined that forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience occurs today in this particular country.

Chillingly, commitment to the Party above all other moral or ethical considerations was demanded.

To allow all this to occur required a concerted campaign of charm offensives by the leadership and representatives of the evil regime... think of a relatively recent visit to our State, which many of us welcomed.

Given the privilege of hosting an Olympics is another similarity. One was hosted in 1936. Another will be hosted in 2022.

The similarities between fascist and communist dictatorships are visible for all who want to see.

That's why Sir Robert Menzies in setting out the founding principles of the Liberal Party spelt out exceptionally clearly his party's opposition to both communism and fascism (para 9).

To call out brutal dictatorships which inflict themselves on their populations is to do the right and proper thing.

The oppressed deserve nothing less.

The free world delayed for too long in calling out Germany's fascist dictatorship in the 1930s. Let it not delay for too long in calling out the Communist Dictatorship in China in the 2020s.

And so, leisure reading turned into a valuable reminder that for evil to prevail, all that is required is for good people to do nothing. 

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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