‘NEVER AGAIN’: SOLIDARITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN MYANMAR

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association have shared their experiences of building solidarity with the people of Myanmar during an international conference ‘Myanmar’s Transition – from Where to Where?’ hosted virtually by the Myanmar Institute (Berlin) and the Institute of Middle and Far East of the Jagiellonian University (Krakow).

The conference took place on 25-27 May and it brought together academics and civil society activists from across the world.

Natalia Sineaeva provided a presentation on the topic ‘The Jewish Community in the Context of Pluralist Society in Burma (Myanmar)’. She stressed the history of the Jews in Myanmar (the small community currently consists of about 20 people) is an illustration of the social and cultural diversity of Myanmar which can be a positive resource in a future democratic society. She also presented the experiences of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in the field of cooperation and support for the Jews in Myanmar.

Rafal Pankowski spoke on the subject of ‘The Meaning of «Never Again» in Myanmar and Poland – Reflections on an Unexpected Relationship’. Among others, he presented the initiative ‘Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion: Lessons for and from Southeast Asia’, conducted by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in cooperation with partners in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia with the support of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Cambodia.

The project deals with various forms of genocide distortion and denial, including the denial of the crimes of the Khmer Rouge or anti-Rohingya violence. The initiative draws on the legacy of the Holocaust and instances of genocide in Southeast Asia to inspire critical memory discourses. It promotes solidarity with those who are discriminated against and oppressed. Pankowski highlighted the cooperation between ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and civil society groups and human rights activists from Myanmar, which is especially important since the military coup which took place on 1 February 2021, and the subsequent crackdown on dissidents.

In another example of the ongoing ‘NEVER AGAIN’ activity, Rafal Pankowski presented its trans-national educational initiatives during a global conference of the Alliance Against Genocide which took place on 26 May. The Alliance Against Genocide is an international coalition dedicated to creating the international institutions and the political will to prevent genocide. It is composed of 96 member organizations in 31 countries, including the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

On 20 May (Cambodia’s Day of Remembrance for Genocide Victims), a member of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Natalia Sineaeva, presented the issue of genocide commemoration in Cambodia and Bangladesh at the invitation of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, Moscow.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.NeverAgainAssociation.org

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IS ANTISEMITISM ANTISEMITIC?

A distributor of antisemitic publications has brought a court case against the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Poland’s leading anti-racist organization. The hearings commenced in the Warsaw District Court on 6 May.

3DOM Publishing House, with offices in Czestochowa, brought the case following the removal of its items from the popular e-commerce platform Allegro, which happened when ‘NEVER AGAIN’ brought the antisemitic publications to Allegro’s attention.

The Association noted and reported the hateful content of several items sold by 3DOM to the Allegro platform in 2020. Among them were contemporary editions of pre-war books such as ‘The Jewish Global Politics Programme. Conspiracy and Disclosure’ by the notorious antisemite Fr. Stanislaw Trzeciak, ‘Notes From A Prison’, a compilation of anti-Jewish tirades by Eligiusz Niewiadomski, the murderer of Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz, ‘The Strategy of Zion. The Unknown History of The Chosen People’, a Holocaust-denying book by Douglas Reed, as well as a book repeating medieval accusations against Jews entitled ‘Ritual Murder – Historical Facts’, co-authored by Grzegorz Braun, a Member of Parliament for the far-right Confederation party.

The lawyer for 3DOM Publishing House alleged that calling the above publications antisemitic violated the good name and reputation of 3DOM. The court claim against the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is for financial compensation for the harm caused, an apology and an undertaking that in the future ‘NEVER AGAIN’ will not appeal to Allegro for the withdrawal of any product offered for sale by 3DOM Publishing House.

Dr Wojciech Marchwicki from the Warsaw branch of the international law firm Hogan Lovells stated on behalf of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ that ‘All the activities of the Association which are directed at the elimination of racist or discriminatory content from the public sphere are of great service to society. Reporting to Allegro that antisemitic publications were being distributed by 3DOM Publishing House did not constitute an unlawful infringement of personal rights.’

The publications reported by the Association are extremely and ostentatiously antisemitic and incite hatred based on national, ethnic, racial and religious differences. In the plea submitted to the Court, the representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association listed numerous examples of extreme antisemitic and discriminatory content in the items distributed by the 3DOM Publishing House, such as:

– ‘Jews living in Christian countries and alongside Christian nations are a highly undesirable element. They are like an alien organism in our body, which will always cause disturbances unless it encounters stronger resistance. The Jewish problem never loses its vitality and Christian nations should make strenuous efforts to resolve it’ (a quote from ‘The Talmud. Its Contents and Teachings’ by Jozef Kruszynski);

– ‘The nation must separate itself from the moral plague of Jewry with a Chinese wall. (…) The Aryan world will face a terrible, fatal battle in the future with the hundred footed Jewish polyp’ (Eligiusz Niewiadomski ‘Notes From A Prison’);

– ‘Removal of the Jewish parasites from the press, the radio and cinema, and thus from the Polish mentality is as great and sublime a task as their removal from trade, crafts and industry. (…) Let everyone’s eyes be opened, especially those who «have eyes but cannot see», in order to stimulate the whole nation to self defence and to the liberation of Poland from the foreign, harmful and hostile Jewish elements’ (Stanislaw Trzeciak ‘Talmud on Gentiles and the Jewish Question in Poland’);

– ‘Thus it is not Hitler, but the Talmud that persecutes the Jews. Hitler is only an instrument in the hands of God’s Justice’ (Stanislaw Trzeciak ‘Messianism and the Jewish Question’).

The books identified by the Association contain a whole range of antisemitic clichés. They usually form the central elements of these books. They abound in descriptions of Jewish conspiracies, such as striving for power over the world, innate hatred of Christians or ritual murders.

Both Polish criminal law and Allegro rules prohibit trading in items promoting fascism and other totalitarian systems or inciting hatred on the basis of national, ethnic, racial, religious differences.

Furthermore, the publications distributed by the 3DOM Publishing House do not have any scientific or educational value. They are devoid of reliable historical introductions or any critical evaluation. Quite the opposite, the foreword usually contains an enthusiastic introduction by the contemporary publisher. In an expert opinion presented to the court, Dr Maciej Moszynski, a historian and a researcher of antisemitism, pointed out that these editions do not contain any critical commentary, and, on the contrary, provide vindication for extremely antisemitic content: ‘The notes from the publisher are in line with the antisemitic discourse, the central element of which is the figure of the Jew as the enemy.’

3DOM Publishing House is represented by its legal advisor Jaroslaw Litwin. Litwin gained fame as the advocate of former priest Jacek Miedlar, who was accused of promoting antisemitism and xenophobia. The founder of 3DOM, Tomasz Stala, is a close associate of Grzegorz Braun, a Member of Parliament representing the far-right Confederation Party.

After a short hearing, the court adjourned the case in order to consider the documentation – the parties’ pleas and evidence. The next hearing will probably be scheduled for the second half of the year.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. Since 2005, it has led the ‘Racism-Delete’ campaign, which has the objective of removing racist content from the internet. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is a member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). The Association also takes part in projects to counteract online hate speech including ‘Get the Trolls Out’ and ‘Open Code for Hate-Free Communication’.

Additional information:

www.NeverAgainAssociation.org

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DELETING RACISM

Poland’s largest ad platform OLX and the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association have partnered together to monitor and delete sales of racist, fascist and antisemitic propaganda items. In the joint declaration, both sides commit to act in line with Polish and international law and in particular with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

OLX is owned by the South African technological corporation Naspers.

In the first weeks of the partnership, OLX, acting on the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s recommendations, deleted 655 offers of neo-nazi gadgets, such as a lead plaque ‘celebrating Hitler’ and badges with Nazi SS symbols. Some of the deleted offers also featured extremely antisemitic books such as the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ – the most popular antisemitic pamphlet of the 20th century, and ‘The Controversy of Zion’ (Strategy of Zion in Polish) by Douglas Reed, a Holocaust denier. Other deleted items included releases of Polish and foreign music bands that support nazism and racism.

According to Rafal Pankowski, Professor of Sociology at Collegium Civitas and co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association: – ‘It is symbolic that the first item to be deleted was a hoodie with a Celtic cross (an international symbol of white supremacy), a flag of the Confederacy (which fought to uphold slavery in the American Civil War), and a three-armed swastika used by the South African neo-nazi group Afrikaaner Resistance Movement (AWB).’

Members of this organisation fought against against the dismantling of racial segregation by committing terrorist attacks and murders. Janusz Walus, a Polish emigrant who murdered anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in 1993, was a supporter of AWB.

Dr. Anna Tatar from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association said: – ‘As part of the partnership, NEVER AGAIN will support the OLX Group through expert consultations and provide recommendations on ways discrimination can be tackled. This involves trainings to educate employees on how to identify racist and fascist content.’ Together with organisations outside Poland, the association will also report similar content on OLX platforms in other countries, such as Romania and Hungary.

Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, Chief Executive Officer of Naspers South Africa voiced her support for the partnership between the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and OLX: – ‘Both Naspers here at home and OLX in Poland abhor and condemn any form of racism and xenophobia and any attempt to disseminate hate speech of any kind.’ She also added, ‘Our team in Poland has also been engaging with NEVER AGAIN and we welcome their commitment to fight racism and discrimination. NEVER AGAIN has been working with OLX to further identify (limited incidents of) content that break the rules and are listed on the platform.’

For a number of years now, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has also been in partnership with the large online sales platform Allegro to eliminate sales of fascist and racist propaganda items. On 21 March 2018, the International Day Against Racial Discrimination, the association became a partner in the Partnership to Protect Rights, created by Allegro. As a result of the partnership, between March 2018 and March 2021 the platform deleted 99 percent of items identified by ‘NEVER AGAIN’, which was over 12 thousand offers in total (the final decision to delete an auction is taken by Allegro based on its terms and conditions). Among those offers were replicas of SS medals, flags of the Third Reich, as well as CDs of neo-nazi bands and books promoting antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

Among the items removed from the Allegro site upon intervention by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was a book entitled ‘The Way of a Nationalist’ by Tomasz Greniuch, who was, for a short time, director of the Wroclaw chapter of the state-sponsored Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). The book contains praise of fascist movements. The author refers to the antisemitic conspiracy theory, according to which a ‘world government’ was supposedly aiming to destroy Poles and Poland ‘in the time of Zionist triumph, when the idea of globalism presumes the enslavement of all the nations of the world into one superpower under the aegis of the world diaspora.’ Moreover, in his book Greniuch supports the Hitler salute: ‘We are not ashamed of our views, or of our tradition. To us the Roman salute, the greeting of the Aryan Europe, shown by raising the right arm in the direction of the sun is not a gesture meant to order beer.’ He also praises the Belgian SS officer Léon Degrelle, who was sentenced in absentia to the death penalty for his collaboration with Nazi Germany, and Corneliu Codreanu, creator of the Iron Guard, the Romanian fascist organization responsible for anti-Jewish pogroms.

Tomasz Greniuch was the leader of the fascist group National Radical Camp (ONR) in the Opole region of Poland. His many years of extremist activity have been documented by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in the ‘Brown Book’, a publication which monitors hate speech and hate crimes. In 2005, Greniuch co-organized a march to commemorate the 1936 anti-Jewish pogrom in the town of Myslenice. A year later, he publicly gave a ‘Heil Hitler’ salute in a student club at Opole University. He was also the founder and co-organizer of the so-called Independence Day March in Warsaw. In 2016, the program of the international far-right music festival ‘Eagle’s Nest’ included a discussion meeting with Greniuch. In 2018, he was awarded the Bronze Cross of Merit by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Since 2018, Greniuch worked in the Opole branch of the Institute of National Remembrance, becoming head of the branch in November 2019. In January 2021, he organized an exhibition glorifying the wartime Holy Cross Brigade of the far-right National Armed Forces (NSZ), which had openly collaborated with the German Nazis. In February this year, Greniuch was appointed as Director of the Wroclaw chapter of the Institute of National Remembrance. Following protests against his appointment, both in Poland and internationally, he resigned from the position.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. Since 2005, it has led the ‘Racism-Delete’ campaign, which has the objective of removing racist content from the internet. The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is a member of the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH). The Association also takes part in projects to counteract online hate speech including ‘Get the Trolls Out’ and ‘Open Code for Hate-Free Communication’.

Additional information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

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HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION AND COUNTERING GENOCIDE DENIAL IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

To mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, emphasise its universal significance and oppose its distortion, the NEVER AGAIN Association, together with its civil society partners and members in Southeast Asia, has co-organised a special online session on 27th January 2021. It brought together Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, intellectuals, faith leaders, human rights activists, educators and students from different countries and continents, with a special focus on the Southeast Asian region.

The online round table featured Jeremy Jones, the Director of Community and of International Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (Australia); Venerable Lablu Barua, Wat Phrmarangsi Buddhist Monastery in Bangkok (Thailand); Sayana Ser, the translator of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ in Khmer language, Peace Institute (Cambodia); Nickey Diamond, a scholar and human rights specialist at Fortify Rights (Myanmar); and Prof. Rafal Pankowski of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association (Poland). It was moderated by a member of ‘NEVER AGAIN’, Natalia Sineaeva, a Holocaust scholar and Rotary Peace Fellow alumna (Chulalongkorn University Bangkok 2018) and Dr Sanjoy Barua Chowdhury of the International Buddhist College (IBC) in Thailand.

The participants came from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Germany, India, Israel, Malaysia, Myanmar, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK, USA, and Vietnam. They discussed the legacy of the Holocaust, challenges for its commemoration and the possible meaning of its commemoration in the region of Southeast Asia in relation to the region’s history and experiences of genocide and mass atrocities.

The United Nations General Assembly designated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day or International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in 2005. The 27th of January marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland in 1945.

Natalia Sineaeva noted in her introductory remarks: – ‘Jews and Roma were mainly targeted for genocide by Nazi Germany during the Second World War, but its significance is universal. Today, when very few Holocaust survivors are left, we need to preserve this memory, and not let it be trivialised, banalised, or even worse, distorted and denied. How can we use and apply the universal lessons of the Holocaust which happened in Europe in a non-European context, where the experiences of the Second World War were different, for example in Southeast Asia? There is often a lack of knowledge of Holocaust history, but there are local histories of conflicts and instances of genocide, and various forms of genocide distortion exist, too.’

The online round table was the first in the series of further events to be organised for the project ‘Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion. Lessons for Southeast Asia’ implemented by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association together with its partners in the countries of Southeast Asia. The project deals with various forms of Holocaust distortion and denial spread in the region of Southeast Asia, e.g., the usage of Nazi imagery, normalisation of the image of Hitler and Nazi Germany in popular culture; conspiracy theories scapegoating minorities and blaming the victims (including the Jews) for past crimes and historical conflicts; the dangerous globalisation of genocide denial, including the rise of ‘multi-deniers’ who distort both the Nazi crimes and other cases of genocide, such as the crimes of the Khmer Rouge or anti-Rohingya violence. Importantly, the project draws on the regional experiences of the Second World War and further instances of genocide in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand to inspire critical memory discourses and develop capacities to counter Holocaust and genocide distortion in the region. It has been supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

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www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

WATCH OUT – A NEW ANTI-FASCIST EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE ONLINE

On the occasion of the International Day against Fascism and Antisemitism (9 November, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom), the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association announces the launch of an online educational initiative under the title ‘Watch Out’. It is a joint venture by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and the Forward Foundation supported by the European network for alternative thinking and political dialogue Transform! Europe.

As part of the project a set of materials directed at high school students was prepared. They include videos, presentations, worksheets and lesson outlines for teachers, NGO educators, scout leaders, organisers of youth camps and for students who want to broaden their knowledge. All the materials are also available in English and can be used all over the world.

The specially dedicated website http://kuprzestrodze.edu.pl/ publishes lectures by experts in the fields of history, sociology and social psychology, covering topics such as the psychology of Nazism, the fascist vision of family, the pedagogy of remembrance, genocide, and forced labour. Dr Jack Bloom (Indiana University Northwest, USA), Dr Michal Bilewicz (University of Warsaw, Centre for Research on Prejudice), Luiza Kulenkampff (Anne Frank Centre, Berlin) and Dr Rafal Pankowski (co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Professor at Collegium Civitas, Warsaw) are among the lecturers involved in preparing the materials.

– ‘Today there are few eyewitnesses or victims of fascism among us, such as former concentration camp prisoners, and less time and space is dedicated to discussing these tragic events in schools. It’s becoming just another remote incident. The history should teach us, be a warning’ – say the project authors.

– ‘Recently the educational system comes under increasing ideological pressure from the far right. Our initiative is meant to be a response to the nationalist propaganda and indoctrination’ – said Rafal Pankowski from the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association.

– ‘Our project is not over and the content will be constantly supplemented. We would like to invite institutions, organisations and individuals to join’ – added Dr Gavin Rae (Leon Kozminski Academy, Forward Foundation).

The Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass, also known as Reichskristallnacht or Reichspogromnacht in German) was a pogrom against the Jews in Nazi Germany on the night of 9 November 1938. It symbolised another wave of Nazi repressions against the Jews, which culminated in the Holocaust. For years the Kristallnacht anniversary has been commemorated as the International Day against Fascism and Antisemitism.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent anti-racist organization founded in 1996. It has campaigned against antisemitism, racism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

Additional information:

www.neveragainassociation.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

 

‘NEVER AGAIN’ WELCOMES ICJ RULING ON MYANMAR GENOCIDE AHEAD OF INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has welcomed the International Court of Justice ruling on the case concerning genocide against the Rohingya minority committed in Myanmar (Burma).

The ICJ, based in The Hague (Netherlands), ruled on 23 January that Myanmar must protect the Rohingya population. The court ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya.

Co-founder of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski was present in The Hague on the day of the ruling. He said: – ‘We welcome the ICJ decision and hope justice for the Rohingya will be delivered. Myanmar’s greatness is to be found in her diversity and the Rohingya must be treated with respect, their rights as citizens must be fully restored, their suffering must be recognized and compensated. Symbolically, the ICJ ruling was announced just days before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27th January, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Genocide and genocide denial must not be ignored by the international community.’

The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority.

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Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had visited Myanmar in solidarity with the local human rights activists in August 2018. In November 2019, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Rafal Pankowski and Natalia Sineaeva visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar (Bangladesh). During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and civil society representatives.

Also on 23 January, in the run up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association’s representative Anna Tatar delivered a keynote speech at a conference on ‘The Rise of Hate Crimes and the Role of Youth in Countering Them’, co-organized with Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas university and the Youth for Peace student group under the heading ‘Varsovians against Violence’. Students coming from numerous countries and continents demonstrated their solidarity with the victims of hate crimes and hate speech in Poland and elsewhere.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

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www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ ACTIVE IN BANGLADESH

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association participated in the international conference ‘Genocide and Justice with a special focus on the Rohingya persecution’ held at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They also participated in meetings in other Bangladeshi cities.

The conference was opened by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr A.K. Abdul Momen and attended by academics and activists from the countries of South Asia and beyond.

It took place on 16-18 November 2019. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of topics related to genocide and human rights.

In her speech during the concluding ceremony Natalia Sineaeva remembered the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. She stressed: – ‘It is our task, genocide scholars, museum workers, and human rights activists to apply the experience of the past atrocities to prevent future violence and to address contemporary examples of human rights violations.’ Natalia Sineaeva (who is a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumni and IEP Peace Ambassador) was also a panelist during a conference session on ‘Ensuring Justice through Art Forms and Memorialisation’ where she presented several case studies of genocide museums and memory sites in Europe and Asia.

‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association co-founder and Collegium Civitas Professor Rafal Pankowski provided a presentation entitled: ‘The Holocaust in Poland and Genocide in Asia: Does the Tragic Past Bring Us Closer?’ Among other things, he highlighted the current ‘White Rose’ initiative of Buddhist Burmese youth in solidarity with the persecuted Muslims in Myanmar. It was apparently inspired by the anti-Nazi resistance group under the same name during the Third Reich.

Ven. Thirasattho Bhikkhu Lablu Barua, a Buddhist scholar and peace activist based in Thailand (a PhD candidate at the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and an IEP Peace Ambassador) who is a longtime friend of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association‎ also actively participated in the conference discussions. He emphasized the importance of intercultural understanding and awareness in addressing conflict and warned against the frequent manipulation of religion by extremist propaganda.

Moreover, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ partook in a number of meetings with Bangladeshi‎ intellectuals and community leaders discussing future cooperation. It included a meeting with Shahriar Kabir, the president of the Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 and general secretary of the South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism. The veteran writer, journalist and film maker reminisced how the knowledge about the Holocaust and World War II in Poland inspired him in his quest for justice for the victims of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.

The representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ also joined in an activity organized by Mohra Century Morning Friends – a unique project in the southern city of Chittagong bringing together members of the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian communities of all ages through joint sports and music activities‎ in a region threatened by communal strife and conflict.

Importantly, members of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ visited one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in the region of Cox’s Bazaar‎ near the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are survivors of the ongoing genocidal campaign conducted by the Myanmar military. They have been described by the United Nations as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority. Bangladesh accepted almost one million Rohingya refugees in the recent years. During the visit, representatives of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ met with refugees as well as medical personnel and workers of humanitarian organizations. They talked about the most pressing needs and challenges of life in the camp as well as ways to express solidarity.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ AS AN INSPIRATION FOR CIVIL SOCIETY IN ASIA

The activity of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association was the subject of a special workshop held at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

The two-day workshop took place on 14-15 September 2019 under the title ‘The People vs Extremism & Populist Radical Right in Europe: Impact and Experiences of European Civil Society Networks’. It focused on the experiences of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ in the field of international cooperation against racism, hate speech and hate crime. The session was conducted by Rafal Pankowski, co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and sociology professor at Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas who has been a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in 2018 and 2019. The workshop was attended by several dozen participants from Thailand and other countries including Bangladesh, China, and France.

Chulalongkorn University was established in 1917 and its name commemorates king Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the monarch of Siam (Thailand) who abolished slavery. It is ranked among the best universities in Southeast Asia.

The workshop is one among numerous activities recently undertaken by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association together with its friends and partners in Asia. On 25-30 August, Rafal Pankowski participated in the Flying University of Transnational Humanities under the title ‘The Holocaust meets the post-colonial in the global memory space’ held at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. During a heated debate at that international forum, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative defended the importance of genocide memory as a cognitive and discursive tool and point of reference in the current-day struggles for moral, social and political progress. On 2 September, Pankowski delivered a lecture entitled ‘Nationalist populism in Central Europe: the case of Poland’ at the University of Tokyo, Japan. The model of Polish-German reconciliation was mentioned by several participants as a possible inspiration for the Korean-Japanese relationship.

On 28-30 August, Natalia Sineaeva represented ‘NEVER AGAIN’ at the international conference on ‘Genocide, Memory and Peace’ organized by UNESCO at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (the former Khmer Rouge prison and extermination centre) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On 17-20 September, she shared the experiences of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association during the Informal Training Seminar on ‘Human Rights and Prevention of Violent Extremism’ hosted by the Asia-Europe Foundation in New Delhi, India.

Meanwhile in Poland, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association has been a partner of a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw entitled ‘Never Again. Art Against War and Fascism in the 20th and 21st Centuries’. The exhibition provoked another attack against ‘NEVER AGAIN’ on the Polish (state-controlled) television which called it ‘stupid propaganda’. Polish state TV has attacked ‘NEVER AGAIN’ already several times this year. The Polish Human Rights Commissioner (Ombudsman) Adam Bodnar protested against the defamation. In a formal letter to the National Council on Radio and Television, the Ombudsman wrote the attacks had ‘no substance’ and they ‘could be considered an attempt to discredit (…) actions against racism and antisemitism in Poland. The statements (…) are problematic in the light of the mission of the public media and they trivialize the danger of such harmful phenomena as hate speech and antisemitism.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.neveragainassociation.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
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THE MISSING PICTURE: RETHINKING GENOCIDE STUDIES AND PREVENTION

Members of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association were honoured by the invitation to speak at the global congress of the International Association of Genocide Scholars held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The IAGS conference entitled ‘The Missing Picture: Rethinking Genocide Studies and Prevention’ gathered around 500 intellectuals, researchers, and civil society representatives from all over the world. It was held at the American University of Phnom Penh on 14-19 July 2019. A special meeting with the Oscar-nominated renowned Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh was a highlight of the conference programme.

During the conference, Natalia Sineaeva presented a paper on ‘Museums as Spaces for Dealing with Difficult Knowledge: Examples from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia’, Rafal Pankowski spoke on ‘Polish Entries at Tuol Sleng in 1979 and the Issues of Polish-Cambodian Genocide Analogies’. Nickey Diamond, a friend of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ from Myanmar, presented the subject of ‘Securitization of Islam in Myanmar: Security Discourse Analysis on the Mass Atrocities against Rohingya Muslims’.

After the conference, Natalia Sineaeva, Rafal Pankowski and Ali Al-Asani conducted two full-day workshops in Phnom Penh under the heading ‘An Introduction to the History of the Holocaust’. The well-attended workshops (in English and Khmer languages) were co-organized by ‘NEVER AGAIN’ and the Heinrich Boell Foundation Cambodia and took place at the office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation on 23 and 27 July. Around fifty participants included Cambodian human rights activists, academics and students. The themes of genocide, resistance and dealing with the past were discussed alongside the parallels and differences between the tragic chapters of European and Asian histories.

– ‘We want to share our knowledge, but our aim is also to learn from our Cambodian friends, from their unique perspective and experiences’ – said Natalia Sineaeva, a ‘NEVER AGAIN’ member and International Rotary Peace Fellow 2018.

The activities in Cambodia illustrate the long-standing commitment of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to support genocide commemoration and prevention, peace and intercultural dialogue both in Europe and in the region of Southeast Asia. Future Polish-Cambodian meetings, publications and other activities are planned, also in cooperation with the Cambodian diaspora.

Other international events with the participation of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association members and supporters are scheduled to take place over the next weeks and months in Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent educational and research organization established in Warsaw in 1996. It has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org

www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity

www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ

‘NEVER AGAIN’ ASSOCIATION ON A US STATE DEPARTMENT VISIT

The United States State Department and the US Embassy in Warsaw invited a representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association to participate in the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program devoted to combatting violent extremism. During the three weeks (18 May – 8 June 2019) spent in Washington, Chattanooga, Montgomery, San Francisco and Boston, Dr. Anna Tatar took part in a series of meetings with representatives of various American institutions, NGOs, journalists and leaders of local communities. 

– ‘America is a country built by immigrants from many places around the world and I was able to observe what such diversity means. We met many people who had come to the USA from the farthest corners of the globe, as well as first, or next generations immigrants born in the States. Respect for the fact that their identity may be complex and subject to personal choices is one of the most important contemporary issues,’ said Ms. Tatar. – ‘At the same time, racial discrimination is still a serious problem, which is manifested most of all in the American justice system. One of the frequent topics of our discussions was the violent behaviour of the police towards Afro-American citizens.’

During her stay in the USA, Anna Tatar visited places with significant ties to the history of slavery and racial persecution, including Montgomery, Alabama, which in the nineteenth century was the centre of slave trade. She visited the Baptist church at Dexter Avenue, known for its famous pastor, Civil Rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. She was honoured to meet Mrs. Jeannie Graetz, who together with her husband, Rev. Robert Graetz, supported the so-called bus boycott (a peaceful protest against racial segregation on the public transport system) and then became a leading figure in the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ representative also visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Centre, which is one of the largest mosques and Muslim culture centres in the USA. At the editorial office of ‘TIME’ magazine she had the opportunity to take part in discussions about the standards of public debate and the levels of hate speech in Poland and the USA. During these meetings, she presented the activities of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association and referred to the examples of xenophobic violence documented in the ‘Brown Book’ prepared by the Association.

Following her US trip, on 14 June, Anna Tatar participated in an international conference on hate speech organized in Vienna by The World of NGOs together with the Faculty of Political Science of Vienna University. As a member of the discussion panel, the representative of ‘NEVER AGAIN’ elaborated on the long-term activities undertaken by the Association against the spread of racist propaganda on the Internet. She talked about the problem of inadequate enforcement of the laws against the propagation of hatred. As an example, she described the fascist concerts which have been freely organized in Poland for many years now.

On May 29, 2019, the Warsaw-Praga District Court dismissed criminal proceedings brought against Anna Tatar. She had been accused of libel in connection with critical statements made about an extreme-nationalist event known as the Eagle’s Nest Festival. The court upheld the verdict of the court of first instance and confirmed that there was a ‘complete lack of factual grounds for the accusation’. It was emphasised in the judgement that the representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association had the right to speak in a legitimate defence of the public interest. 

In May 2019, Anna Tatar and Joanna Naranowicz were awarded prizes by the Australian-based Jerzy Boniecki Independent Foundation for the Promotion of Polish Culture (Polcul) for their roles in the activities of ‘NEVER AGAIN’. The award ceremony took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum on 25 May. Joanna Naranowicz is a vocalist of the rock band Qulturka and the animator of the ‘Music Against Racism’ campaign – she received a distinction for ‘the continuous and extremely effective propagation of pluralism and tolerance, and her efforts in combating ethnic and religious prejudices’. Anna Tatar received one for ‘propagating tolerance and pluralism in relation to ethnic and religious minorities and for her journalistic and scientific work over many years relating to the sources of xenophobia and racist violence.’

The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an independent organization established in Warsaw in 1996. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has campaigned against racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, for peace, intercultural dialogue and human rights both in Poland and internationally.

More information:

www.nigdywiecej.org
www.facebook.com/Respect.Diversity
www.twitter.com/StowNIGDYWIECEJ