The Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust has announced the top three selections in the high school division of the 13th annual Eva Lassman Memorial Writing and Art Contests. The contest theme is “Speaking Up for ‘the Other’.”
The contest asked participants to learn about the Holocaust and read about or listen to some of the many stories of survivors who were labeled “the other” by the Nazis, and consider these questions:
What are the lessons you learned from their stories that had a major impact on you? Why is it important to speak up for those who are considered “the other”?
Who are “the other” today? Based on the lessons you learned, what are you motivated to do to speak up for them?
If you go
The contest winners will be recognized at the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust at 7 p.m. Sunday at Temple Beth Shalom, 1322 E. 30th Ave., on Spokane’s South Hill. The winner of the creative writing contest will read her essay at the Observance. Everyone is invited to attend.
Third place, writing, high school
‘Elegy with Variations’
By Jessica Schueller
Gonzaga Preparatory School
Why do you haunt me?
Close the books,
Replace the covers.
I’ve done you no harm.
You were in China during this war
Tortured by the Japanese
Why do your eyes accuse me from this screen?
My tongue writhes in my mouth
I can make no excuses.
I thought I knew –
You know how it goes –
Lice and striped pajamas
Choking on insecticide,
Gouges in the doors.
I don’t mean to trivialize
The tears prick my eyes.
An enormous monstrous tale of human suffering.
The oceans of tears,
The sound of gnashing teeth,
Why do I cry?
The word cuts my tongue.
My friends! My family!
Did we forget?
In the static, the voices crack and waver
Heavy with tears
Mother, mother, where are you?
I never saw my brother again,
They are gone, all
Gone up in smoke.
What does a human face look like
Twisted by inhuman hatred?
Nobody can tell you about the gas
Nobody lived to tell.
Six million Jews died.
Sons and daughters
The piles of hair were once attached to individual heads.
Kill me with your indifference.
Why should we care?
It happened so long ago,
Why should we castigate ourselves?
Hitler is dead.
Six million Jews are dead.
One point eight million Polish civilians are dead.
Two hundred thousand Roma are dead.
We give ourselves too much credit;
It could happen again.
Two million died in Cambodia (thirty years later)
Eight hundred thousand died in Rwanda (fifty years later)
Two hundred thousand died in Bosnia (fifty years later)
How many die today?
Listen, o my brothers!
Hitler is dead.
Eat people alive.
Bar the doors,
Throw up the windows.
Unfurl the flags,
Open up the camps.
Other, other, we are all
Other, we could all be
My mother, my brother.
Cry me to sleep,
Don’t take me alive.
What hellish visions!
Shake off the cobwebs
A new millennium awaits.
iPhones and genocide
smoggy nights and national pride
plastic bags and enmity
There are no stars left.
O my cynicism, brand me.
Hope, have hope.
Rohingya Muslims have
They brought with them stories of
These are stories of a
That began in
The conflict in
People have been displaced from
People have died.
are being held in
on the US border.
Where are the offerings of sanctuary?
Where are the peacekeeping forces?
Where are our promises to
Let this happen again?
My country ‘tis of thee
You have blood on your hands.
Let me choke then
On this fatal hypocrisy
Let him who is without sin
Throw the first stone.
What do we do?
So many little crises.
We could drown in a world of pain.
There are no easy solutions.
There are no excuses.
How many children died today?
How many children were killed today?
To offer some solutions –
Nineteen years of solutions
Sixteen years of solutions –
1) Kill your indifference kill your hatred kill your apathy
2) Never forget
3) Allow me to speak for one moment –
That when Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist
Was murdered by operatives of the leader of Saudi Arabia
(Mohammed bin Salman), the media began uncovering what
MBS had also been up to, what Jamal Khashoggi had been reporting on
When he was killed.
There is a civil war going on in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia
Had gotten involved. And consequently also its ally,
Thirteen million civilians were in (are) in danger of starvation,
In what the UN has termed a “humanitarian disaster”.
When the people – the American people – learned of this
Public support forced the House of Representatives to introduce a resolution
To End the US’ Involvement In The War In Yemen.
(It has not passed into law yet, but, regardless):
It was us, the public, the constituency
That caused this measure to be introduced,
It was us.
We were not indifferent.
I have not lost faith in myself
In my family
In my city
In my country
In the world
In the entire human race
To act for what is good
What is just
To fight for the other—
Speak up, speak up
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