“Sensational or Graphic Content”
We were surprised to see that Facebook stopped promoting our Holocaust video last week.
Our goal was to spread awareness of International Holocaust Remembrance Day through a video we planned to promote via social media. This video, which you can view here, shows real images and statistics from the Holocaust and ends with an invitation to support elderly Holocaust survivors struggling with poverty today. Facebook stated “sensational or graphic content” as the reason for censoring us. We tried to appeal the decision, but to no avail.
This may seem like a small, insignificant occurrence, but my fear is that when huge media corporations like Facebook or Twitter start to block what they deem as inappropriate for their users, today’s generation will be sheltered and protected from important information just because it’s “unpleasant.”
Learning Without Truth
You simply cannot educate people about the events surrounding the Holocaust without discussing the many vile, grotesque, and unconscionable acts that occurred during it. The survivors who remain today didn’t just endure a few inconvenient years, they survived a genocide. Their existence is truly a miracle.
Many people do not see history as important. They only want to look at the present and future, hoping for and working toward a better, fairer world for us all. While I find their heart commendable, I also find their outlook naïve and incomplete.
What Am I Capable Of?
The Holocaust era reveals the full spectrum of human behavior We see the very depths of depravity man is capable of with no conscience or shame, such as the Nazi soldiers who launched babies into the air and used them as machine-gun target practice. This period also reveals the great heights of nobility man can ascend to when pressed – like Corrie ten Boom, who hid Jews and sheltered the mentally disabled at a time when the Nazis wanted to euthanize both.
I believe many people do not like exploring the Holocaust because it forces us to come face-to-face with ourselves.
It’s easy to arrogantly relegate past genocides, wars, or torture to primitive times when “they didn’t know better” or to developing nations that are “backwards.” But not so with the Holocaust. This happened in the modern era. In a refined, developed, Western nation. Within the lifetime of people still living today.
Can I Handle the Truth?
The Holocaust forces us to look inside and ask ourselves: What would I do? Who would I be? Would I have the courage to protect the Jewish friends I have today, like Rachel, or Nathaniel, or Alec, or Brianna? Would I stick my head in the sand and ignore the suffering of those around me? In the right circumstances, could I even be a Nazi soldier, numbing my conscience day after day in service of the state for a stable paycheck?
Truth may be unpleasant. It can make us cry or make us queasy. It can leave us more confused than we were before. Truth can even shake our very faith in God. But truth should always be confronted.
History warns us not just about other people, but ourselves as well.
Man must know he has the power to destroy before he can wield his power to create. We must brutally and humbly look within ourselves and admit what’s there before we can take true steps toward growth.
And, in this instance, Facebook prevented this from happening.
-Jonathan GoldthwaiteTags: Facebook Holocaust IFCJ Jonathan Goldthwaite Social Media The Fellowship