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By now you all know of US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's remarks...
”The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are—they are concentration camps[...]"
Ever since the US Representative's remarks many people are taking issue with this. Most of her progressive, social democrat base is in agreement. Meanwhile conservatives and neo-liberals take much offense with this. Part of the problem stems from the idea that concentration camps equal Nazis and Hitler. If you do not like the Trump administration and their policies, fine. However, the idea of tying it with the worst crime against humanity is just tasteless. at least, that is basically their take.
Now 93-year old Holocaust survivor, Mosberg, speaks out.
“She should be removed from Congress. She’s spreading anti-Semitism, hatred and stupidity, [..] The people on the border aren’t forced to be there —they go there on their own will. If someone doesn’t know the difference, either they’re playing stupid or they just don’t care. Her statement is evil. It hurts a lot of people. At the concentration camp, we were not free. We were forced there by the Germans who executed and murdered people— there’s no way you can compare.”
AOC is spreading anti-semitism? The people on the border are choosing to go there? She is endorsed by Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish and all of his supporters and base. No one chooses to go to a concentration camp. Many of these people are coming here seeking asylum, which is perfectly legal, but instead they are told no and worse.
No doubt this man suffered a horrific moment in World History and no one can truly defend or apologize for the Holocaust. However, I dare say he is almost exploiting his victim complex. Concentration camps are not an original tool devised exclusively by anti-semites. Any concentration camp occurring after 1945 does not happen because they are fans of the Third Reich, or read a book on them or never had the idea prior to The Third Reich's own camps. Believe it or not, many of the atrocities the Nazis are known for have occurred in history, without them. It may even be possible these atrocities could exist even without the Nazi's involvement in history. The Armenian Genocide rings a bell? That occurred roughly two decades prior to the Holocaust. Why do the Nazis get so much credit? The Nazi ran it all so efficiently; hence they get so much credit.
The Second Anglo-Boer War
Ever hear of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1900 to 1902)? What people know as the free state of South Africa today was once the South African Republic, one of the two Boer states in southern Africa created by Dutch-speaking inhabitants. Britain was simply exercising its imperialist policy over the Boers. This resulted in Britain's victory and their domination of the Boer states.
The British led a scorched earth policy during the Boer Wars, resulting in burning homesteads, towns, and even their enemies' livestock. With this policy it left many women and their children drifting homeless. In return, the British decided to concentrate these 'undesirables' into camps. Or according to Mosberg, these people drifted into these camps of their own will and volition. Later on the British are bringing many other people in on wagons to these camps against their will. These camps' sanitation was poor, with inadequate food, little to no medical assistance and over-crowded tents. One part for these camps was to deny any assistance to the rebels. A clever war tactic this is, but not a humane one. These concentration camps would lead to the death of 48,000 people.
You know of Stalin, Hitler, North Korea, and more under the sun. Who is this Valeriano Weyler though? He was a Spanish general, made Governor-General of Cuba during its rebellion under Spanish rule. Cuban rebels used guerrilla tactics and blended in with the civilians, therefore Weyler had to find a way to combat these rebels. One method upon arrival in 1896 was singling out the rural population, by giving them eight days to move the newly designated camps. If they did not move, they were shot dead. The camps were uninhabitable, decaying, with famine and disease spreading. Two years later, one-third of Cuba's population had been forced into concentration camps. By the end, 400,000 people had died.
The United States of America
Concentration camps are truly nothing new to America, to be honest. The Japanese interment is common knowledge among most. During World War 1 they interned German-Americans and Italian-Americans. Take a crack at it and you can find all other belligerents doing this in during The Great War—the British, the Germans, the Canadians, the Australians, the Danish, the Netherlands, and New Zealand as well. Shortly after World War 1 the Russians are doing this during The Russian Civil War.
Prepare for things to possibly get worse. Almost no one knows of this story, given its a recent find by historians—Devil's Punchbowl in Natchez, Mississippi. This concentration camp came into being during the American Civil War, after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Not only that, but this was under Union Army control, in a state where the Emancipation Proclamation took full effect. These Union soldiers simply had no desire to follow an executive order and wanted to hold on to their racist views. Union soldiers concentrated these vast numbers of newly freed slaves into forced labor again. I ask Mosberg again, did these freed slaves choose this? No internet, but they had the telegraph back then therefore they should have heard of The Devil's Punchbowl, right?
Waitman Wade Beorn, a Holocaust and genocide studies historian and a lecturer at the University of Virginia puts it best...
"Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they're putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way."
Beorn gets at the point here. The immigrants we are dealing with are civilians who are being detained. The Trump administration sees them as undesirables (They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.) And even agents working these camps seem to agree. No one is being given a trial. People are overly packed into crowded facilities with little to no food, medicine, and or sanitation. In most scenarios, the casualties in concentration camps do not stem from systematic murder but from poor living standards.
Again this is not to penalize or criticize all and any Holocaust survivors. We just need to demystify what the concentration camp truly is. It is not always for a race of people, sometimes just for political opponents or a particular class of people or religious background. Simply put, it just has to be a particular group of person. Neither does the concentration camp have to lead to mechanized, industrial murder, like the Holocaust. No doubt almost all concentration camps lead to casualties, but this is almost always expected. Finally, they are not official, long-term state policies like The Third Reich. Under the Boer War, though his is no defense, but was simply a war measure.
If anything we should he proud of AOC for bringing this to our attention of the facilities' patrol agents and conditions. The sooner we are made aware of this issue the sooner we can rectify this problem. Personally, I do not believe the border will turn into Nazi Germany. Mainly because the Germans are efficient, Americans are not. Shaming and critiquing AOC only keeps people in this ignorant mind state and from truly addressing these concentration camps on our border.