Imran contributed to the Holocaust Memorial Day Debate.
Imran Ahmad Khan MP: Holocaust Memorial Day demands all to reflect on the hellish events of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. This year’s memorial focuses on being the light in the darkness, encouraging everyone to fight persecution, oppression and injustice everywhere. Despite the difficulties of the past year, it was reassuring yesterday to see people and communities come together in a new way for Holocaust Memorial Day and to reflect.
In the years since the holocaust, we have come to acknowledge that it must never again be allowed to happen. But words alone are hollow; action is required to give them effect. Since the holocaust, we continue to witness genocide, including the Anfal, Rwandan, Bosnian, Rohingya and Yazidi genocides, and currently the genocide of the Uyghurs by the Chinese Communist party.
Tragically, antisemitism continues to rear its monstrous head. In December 2018, a survey found that 89% of Jews living in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK felt that antisemitism had increased in their country over the previous decade.
The United Kingdom must be the light in the darkness now, and provide an example by standing up to those currently committing genocide. Limiting trade and commerce unilaterally with genocidal regimes is one step that the UK must take in leading the world against genocide. On this day, and every day, let us remember the words of holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who said:
“I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”
Our world’s shameful past, and its present, makes it clear that human decency is fragile, and admonishes us that if we treasure humanity, we cannot take our values for granted. To safeguard humanity, we must never forget the evils deliberately inflicted upon the Jewish people throughout the holocaust, and we must appreciate that, as I speak today, similar filthy crimes are being perpetrated by a totalitarian state. We cannot be complicit or deliberately turn a blind eye to genocide out of convenience or lust for blood-stained trade.
Heartbreakingly, this House is called on not only to do everything we can to prevent genocide in the future, but to stop the evil practice that continues today.