The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the defence of the vulnerable while tormentors are brought to justice. We must always defend the vulnerable and bring tormentors to justicerdquo;, he said in his message on the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust held on Friday, 27 January 2017across the world.
Presenting the message of the Secretary General at an educational briefing attended by 900 high school students and held at Sacred Heart Catholic College, Abeokuta Ogun State, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, noted that ‘We can never remain silent or indifferent when human beings are suffering.’
Mr Guterres said further that the world had a duty to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people and so many others. It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis,rdquo; he explained further, On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.rdquo;
He called on everyone to honour the victims of the Holocaust by joining hands to build a future of dignity and equality for all.
The message of the Secretary General had preceded series of educational activities including screening of the film, The Path To Nazi Genociderdquo; and a Poster Exhibition titled, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propagandardquo;.
The students who expressed shock and dissatisfaction about the events that led to the Holocaust as detailed in the film, unanimously resolved never to be involved in such. Responding to a question on the lessons learnt from the film, scores of the students, one after the other, chronicled key lessons, amongst which are ‘We should not be cruel and wicked’, ‘We should regard fellow human beings as equal’, ‘We should not discriminate based on race or religion’, ‘We should love one another’, among others.
Curating the 16 posters on exhibition, the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, spoke on how the Nazis used propaganda to manipulate the people at the time. Drawing from the posters, he explained to the students that propaganda ‘is a biased information designed to shape public opinion and behavior.’
Propaganda, he said further, ‘uses truths, half-truths, or lies; omits information selectively; plays on emotion; attacks opponents and targets desired audiences.’ This obviously informed a student who noted that her lesson learnt was to always think twice before believing or acting on any information picked in the various media. Mr Soremekun therefore, urged the students to be wary of information they come across on the social media.
Other speakers included Barrister (Mrs) Chinyere Agu of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs; Reverend Father Patrick Oke, the Administrator of Sacred Heart Catholic College, Abeokuta and the Principal of the school, Sister Cordelia.
Source: United Nations (UN).