First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
I find it extremely disturbing that in the recent European elections the far right have been gaining votes all over Europe. UKIP in Great Britain and The National Front in France are just two parties that have made gains at the expense of almost all the others. It may just be a blip or a protest vote which will change when the General Election comes in Britain next year but as a historian I can’t help thinking that this is how Hitler started. Someone once said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
If good people give in to apathy then the fanatics win. If you have a vote, use it! Don’t let the fascists triumph! As W.B.Yeats said in the Second Coming, “the best lack all convction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” It is time for good people to be passionate; passionate about protecting our rights, passionate about protecting our freedoms, passionate about helping others to a society that cares about all its members, passionate about seeing that no-one is marginalised or ill-treated because of bigotry.
If we don’t defend the rights of others then who will defend our rights when we most need it?