Monday, May 02, 2005

"Die Kinder von Izieu"

"Die Kinder von Izieu" is a song by Reinhard Mey, my favourite German composer, singer and songwriter. It used to be also one of my favourite songs.
I listened often to it and taught it to my children.
The song is about a group of 44 Jewish children between the ages of 4 to 17 years, who in 1944 were hiding from the Nazis in a house in Izieu in the mountains above the Rhone valley in France.
The song gives us the names of some of those children like Elie, Sami, Max und Sarah. It tells us that Joseph painted landscapes with horses, Theodore liked to feed the chickens and the cows, Liliane could write like a poet and Raoul would sing all day long. The song also tells us, that these children were betrayed to Germans. On the Thursday before Easter, the day of Getsemane, they were picked up by trucks, sent to Auschwitz in a train and that none of them escaped the murderers.
This song made me see those children in my mind, even though they died years before I was born. The song let me feel their hopes and then their fear, their pain and their despair.
Those children were real human beings, with names and a life history, who suffered because of the Nazi ideology of racism and racial superiority. And they were victims of war against the ethical values of humanity.
To remember those children, meant for me, that never, never again should children be murdered for such ideologies.
We should do everything to work against racism.
We should become a society that shows respect for all human beings, a society that shows respect for differences of religion and culture, a society that sees the value of every human being as absolute, to protect his dignity as the maxime of all political acts, just as our constitution, the "Grundgesetz" states.
This is what the rememberence of those real children symbolized for me.

But then, not very long ago, I found out that remembering the murderous atrocities of Nazi-Germany meant something a whole lot different for Zionists.
Zionists do not see those atrocities as acts of racism and an ideology of superiority, they see them exclusively as acts directed against the Jewish people per se. For them those atrocities show what they thought all along, that gentiles are inflicted with the uncurable decease of Anti-Semitism, a murderous insanity which can break out without warning erverywhere, and that all Gentiles are a potentially lethal danger for Jews.
Some Zionists use those Nazi atrocities as a justification for their own atrocities against other people, other children. They do not object racism or an ideology of "√úbermenschentum". They believe in that same ideology in a value system where the Jewish race is on top.
Some Zionists do not see the children of Izieu, with their names and their history. They do not see Elie, Sami, Max, Sarah, Joseph, Theodore, Liane and Raoul. They see numbers adding up, the higher, the better, sacrificed for an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine, for
"One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe",
said Izaak Greenbaum -- head of Jewish Agency Rescue Committee February 18, 1943.

So, no longer do I sing the song "Die Kinder von Izieu", but I still remember those children and I cry for them, as I cry for all those other Kinder:
The Armenian Kinder of Turkey in 1915,
the Ukrainian Kinder in 1932,
the Chinese Kinder of Nanking in 1937,
the English Kinder of London and Coventry in 1941,
the Tschek Kinder of Lidice in 1942,
the Polish Kinder of Volhynia in 1943,
the German Kinder of Hamburg in 1943 and of Dresden in 1945,
the Japanese Kinder of Tokyo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945,
the South African Kinder of Sharpeville in 1960,
the Vietnames Kinder of My Lai in 1968,
the Indian Kinder of Killevanamani in 1969,
the El Salvadoran Kinder of El Mozote in 1981,
the Nicaraguan Kinder of El Juste in 1987,
the Rwandan Kinder of Kigali in 1994,
the Chechnyan Kinder of Grozny in 2000,
the Russian Kinder of Beslan in 2004,
the Darfur Kinder of Sudan in 2004
and the Iraqi Kinder of Fallujah in 2005.
I cry for the children of wars against humanity.
I cry for the children shot, bombed, burned, or starved to death or humiliated, beaten, maimed, imprisoned, tortured and raped because some grown-ups believe themselves or their race or their people or their class as more deserving of life and the treasures of the earth than others.
And I cry for the Kinder of Palestine,
the Kinder of Deir Yassin in 1948,
the Kinder of Qibya in 1953,
the Kinder of Kafr Qasim in 1956,
the Kinder of Sabra and Shatila 1982,
the Kinder of Hebron in 1994,
the Kinder of Jenin in 2002.
I cry for Shayma Al Masri, 4 years old, killed together with her brother Arafat and three neighbour children Mohammed, Bara and Aziza on March 4, 2002 in a failed Israeli assassination attack.
I cry for Raghda Adnan Al-Assar, 10 years old, struck in the head by Israeli fire while sitting at her desk in UNRWA’s Elementary C Girl’s School in Khan Younis camp on September 10,2004
I cry for Imam Al-Hams, 13 years old, killed on her way to school when she came too close I to a check point and an Israeli officer empied his weapon into her, on October 5, 2004.
I cry for Rajeh Ghaben, 10 years old, killed by Israeli shells together with his brothers Jaber and Mohammed and his cousins Hani, Mohammed and Bassam, while he was picking strawberrys on his family’s fields in northern Gaza on January 4, 2005.
I cry for Nouran Iyad Dib killed by an Israeli sniper during recess in her school in Rafah on January 31, 2005
I cry for Ashraf Moussa, 14 years old, and his friends Hassan and Khaled who were killed when they played soccer in a field in Rafah on April 9, 2005
And in my heart and in my mind those children are there, together, on exactly the same place as the children of Izieu.
And I see them when I close my eyes and hear Reinhard Mey sing in the end:
"..I talk and I sing
And if necessary I scream
So that our children
Will know who they´ve been….
They were just like them,
Like all children everywhere…
Die Kinder von Izieu
Above the Rhone valley there
."