We need end to racism

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my enormous gratitude to those who organised and who took part in this years annual Holocaust Memorial.

We have a lot to be proud of in Sheffield that we are able to welcome so many diverse people who came here to find sanctuary from oppression.

As we reflect on the events in Nazi Germany it is sobering to remember that the racism, nationalism and hatred that led to those events still exist in many parts of our troubled world.

It is a great credit to the organisers of Sheffield’s Holocaust Memorial that they included the many groups who, with the Jews, suffered under Nazism. Sadly the Roma representatives due to speak for the first time this year were not able to join us.

The theme of this year’s memorial was ‘Untold Stories’. I have been to three of these memorials and have been greatly moved by all of them. It struck me however that there are at least two communities in Sheffield whose stories of ethnic cleansing have not been told here yet: the Karen people from Burma and the Palestinians. Both these stories involve betrayal of former allies by the British government, giving away their ancestral lands to others who oppressed them ever since.

We have a lot to answer for in the many conflicts that continue to mark the legacy of the British empire. I think Sheffielders demonstrated that we are now able to hear stories of all our fellow citizens however painful to us.

I know it is hard for Jewish people to hear the pain that Palestinians have suffered as they lost homes and land in the creation of the state of Israel and the ongoing suffering of occupation. However if peace is to come to the Middle East then Jews need to listen to the suffering of Palestinians just as Palestinians need to hear the suffering of Jews.

The stories of the Holocaust and the Nakba (disaster) need to be told and heard. We need to work together for a world in which holocausts do not continue for anyone.

We need an end to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, an end to ethnic cleansing and an end to ghettos where only one race or religion can live.

Deacon Dave Havard, Pitsmoor