It didn’t start with the gas chambers
or even the forced labour camps

before either of those
there was hatred from the masses

but it didn’t start with hatred from the masses
before that was paranoia
and before even that, there was fear from the masses
…of losing jobs
…of losing identity
…that the race of others might somehow destroy them

but it didn’t even start with fear from the masses
before the masses had their fear
there was propaganda

propaganda fueled by the hatred and fear
of only a select few
but that propaganda was enough
to sow the seeds of fear, then paranoia, then hatred

and eventually, this allowed for labour camps
and ultimately, gas chambers

perhaps the masses didn’t know
what their mass hatred allowed
but still, they were culpable

and we say, we would never let that happen today

oh yes, we say that we would never let that happen
even as we worry that the refugee
who has lost everything
might secretly be plotting
to destroy us


NaBloPoMo Day 25


Dec.1 update – sharing this with dVerse for Open Link Night.  I recently wrote a poem about groaning train cars.  I was reminded by one reader that there have been atrocities both before and after the genocide in Germany during WWII.  This same reader may take issue with the fact that this poem clearly takes reference from the same place and time…however, I wanted to use that time-period to pose the question: how different are we from the masses under Hitler.  It seems to me that too many of us are just as susceptible to propaganda, and I worry that we might be heading down the same metaphorical road.