Concentration Camps New and Old

Mr. Anton Geiser, 79, lives in a peaceful neighborhood in the small beautiful town of Sharon, Pennsylvania. For 42 years, this quiet man who his neighbors describe as “kind and sweet” has been a citizen of the United States. He is now in jeopardy of losing his citizenship on allegations that he served in a Nazi concentration camp.

It is strange to think of how the US government can take away a person’s citizenship after all these years. He spent a lifetime living and working in a country that promised him freedom and the chance to follow his dreams. He is a law-abiding citizen who has humbly shared his life with his friends and neighbors and is remembered as a man who is thoughtful and loving to everyone he knows.

The period that he is supposed to have served as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp was but for a few months. He was 17 at the time of his alleged crime. Americans are long familiar with Nazi concentration camps because they have grown up exposed to a Hollywood bombardment of how Hitler persecuted the Jews and tried to exterminate them as a people. But Americans are not told that Hitler killed a lot of people who were not even Jews. Hitler is gone now and so are the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

But there is a new Hitler who unlike the Hitler of old, has the blessings of the world and in particular the US for his war crimes against the Palestinian people. Right now, he is constructing a wall in the occupied West Bank of Palestine that will further displace the already displaced Palestinians. Not only will his wall displace Palestinians, it will imprison them in concentration camps and ghettos where at will and whim, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s army can storm in and massacre helpless Palestinian people.

Sharon is famous for his bloodbaths and massacres of the Palestinians. His tactics include bombing Palestinian civilian areas, bulldozing Palestinian homes for no reason even while the occupants are sometimes in the buildings, tearing down olive trees and desecrating Palestinian land. Children on their way to and from school are easy targets for Israeli army snipers and Israeli prisons are full of Palestinian kids whose only crime is that they dared to be born Palestinian.

But President Bush welcomes Sharon the mass murderer with open arms. He pats him on the back whenever he kills more Palestinian civilians and honors him for his constant extra judicial assassinations. Bush turns a blind eye for every war crime the new Hitler makes and applauds the oppression and abuse of the Palestinians who have no way to adequately defend themselves. And whenever in desperation a frustrated Palestinian blows himself up and tries to take a few Israelis with him, Israel retaliates with disproportionate means.

The American government happily supplies Israel with the latest weapons so that Israelis and their imported Hitler can better exterminate or drive away what is left of the indigenous Palestinian population.

This means that the American government has a very lopsided sense of justice. It is ok in other words to massacre the Palestinian people, put them in concentration camps, torture them, destroy their homes and their way of life and take away the rest of their land. It is not ok for anyone of the long ago past to have served in the Nazi army and to have allegedly worked as a concentration camp guard for a few months. It is ok to take away someone’s American citizenship for the sake of the Israeli lobby and to satisfy this warped sense of what is right and what is wrong.

Meanwhile, the real war criminals such as Sharon and his neo-Nazi army continue their crimes against an innocent people while the American government focuses on a single man it accuses of serving 51 years ago in a concentration camp for a few months.