Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 1999

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / April 7, 1999

In the last 20 years, I don’t think I’ve been to a movie theater more than five times. The last time was a few years ago when the movie”Schindler’s List” first came out.

I’ve always been interested in the history of World War II, but especially curious about the Germans’ treatment of the Jews. In my mind, I couldn’tconceive human beings acting so evil against other humans. Whoever issoft on depravity should see “Schindler’s List.” It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s cruel, evil, vulgar, shocking, and an expose of unbridledprejudice. The scenes were absolutely chilling – trainloads of innocentmen, women and precious children being hauled like cattle to their slaughter – the inhumane conditions of the work camps, the ovens, the gas chambers, but most of all, the ability of human beings to carry all that out with hardly a shrug.

Believe me, I don’t suggest anyone see the film. To be honest, after themovie, I was emotionally drained, stunned and saddened. All of thathappened 60 years ago. Historians tell us that many countries, includingAmerica, knew about the atrocities committed against the Jews, but we all turned our heads and ignored the evil. (I’m reminded that, for evil tocontinue, good men must do nothing.)It’s been stated many times that history repeats itself. For the last twoweeks, we’ve seen pictures of people being driven from their homes in Kosovo by the Serb forces – refugees being driven like animals in trucks and trains, separated from family and loved ones, many walking miles and miles to escape the massacre of mostly young men, but also of women and children. It’s almost a replay of what happened 60 years ago.The United States made a decision to intervene with air strikes, with hopes of bringing peace to the area. As of now, it looks like that actionhas caused more harm than good. Now, there’s talk of the possibility ofsending ground troops to police and aid the victims. Public opinion pollsare split on the issue. My personal feeling is that what we started, wemust finish, not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of doing what’s right and saving human life.

Someone once asked me if I would feel the same if my son or grandsons were asked to fight. I certainly hope so. I’m a firm believer that we areour brother’s keeper and that life is not worth living unless you have a cause for which to die.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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