Our past lives in us

“People say, ‘Live only for the future, don’t live in the past.’ But I don’t live in the past … the past lives in me.” This quote is from the Foreward of a recent issue of The Weekend Australian Magazine.

These words were those of 89-year old Olga Horak, a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust. ‘She did not talk publicly about the Holocaust until 1992 …’ wrote Ross Bilton in that Foreward.

Most of those who have suffered grievously do try not to live in, or focus on, the past – quite sensibly. However, the past will affect, insidiously or otherwise, the present; and possibly the future. Yet few will talk about the scars attached onto their soul.

I have had close friendships with people of the Jewish faith during the six decades and more of my adult life in Australia. No one who had suffered through their experience under Hitler ever talked with me (or in my presence) about that. I never asked. Personal suffering is a private matter.

None of my Jewish friends and acquaintances (from diverse global origins) ever mentioned the Holocaust. Perhaps, educated as they were, they were aware of other holocausts. There was one which killed and destroyed the various cultures and livelihood of the Native Americans in North America. (How any millions? 100?) Further, according to Nehru, about 20 million Indians died in each of four famines under the British. Then Chairman Mao’s time allegedly caused 30 million Chinese to die.       

There were also the reported 20 million Russians killed countering the Nazi invasion of Russia. I talked with a Slovak/Hungarian who had ‘walked into Russia’ as a slave-worker – and then walked back (so he said).

What do those who keep bringing up the Jewish Holocaust and other acts of infamy to the public mind seek to achieve by repeatedly reminding us of the venality of the past? There have been enough atrocities committed – some in the name of religion – throughout our history. There is enough of it right now!

The past cannot be cremated (destroyed); I have tried. But it can be interred (buried) for the common good. In any event, who would wish to claim that they have suffered more than anyone else?

The future will be shaped by the present, in which the past lives (even if interred)!