Bearing Witness. Telling Truth In A Time Of Lies: Why It Is Important To Call Them What They Are — Concentration Camps

“Terrible things are happening outside… poor, helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find their parents have disappeared. “

— Anne Frank


By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (8/12/19)

On Saturday I got into a fiery Facebook squabble with a frequent corporate dem critic objecting to something I posted about the growing network of concentration camps popping up along the southern border. I was accused of “extreme exaggeration” because the situation now is nothing like the death camps in Nazi Germany. My critic preferred the Trump and Border Patrol-approved bureaucratically bland and neutered term of “detention centers”.

Not all concentration camps are death camps, but all death camps begin as concentration camps.

Certainly we haven’t progressed to Nazi level industrial scale murder — yet — but it is important to note that the facilities along the border are concentration camps. Period. Anyone who cannot see that is ignoring history, exercising dangerous naivete and helping to normalize what has always been the stage-setting for death camps. Long before the systemic industrial scale killings in Germany and the nations under Nazi control the minority groups were herded together — concentrated — so that they could more easily be monitored and controlled.

A steep and bloody slope

Use of the bland “detention centers” is incorrect and provides a dangerous kind of normalcy to something extremely grotesque, brutal and dangerous. Certainly, not all concentration camps are death camps, but all death camps begin as concentration camps. Denying the truth of what is going on now is setting an enabling linguistic foot on a steep and bloody slope. Given the potential risk, a society cannot permit concentration camps.

At times like this good people can become unwitting accomplices to evil and one of the first ways they do so is through misuse of the language. I believe my critic is a good man, however by watering down the linguistic reality of what is happening he is contributing to the growing evil. Trust me, Trump loves it when supposed progressives call them “detention centers”.

My testy back-and-forth dialogue went on to the point where I finally asked:

“One question. A direct question. Usually you slip-slide away from direct questions, but this is one you will answer if you have the moral clarity of your position: Would you be okay with any child in your extended family being sent off alone to one of these concentration camps for a couple months? If not, why should any brown-skinned child, toddler or INFANT be sent to such a place? A direct question you should be able to answer directly.”


If we come to the place where his family members can be sent away like the minority children who have already been incarcerated it will be far too late to object. The time to speak is now and to do so unvarnished and direct. Speak truth. Call ’em what they are: Concentration camps.


‘One Long Night’ Tells The Harrowing History Of Concentration Camps

“We’ve entered hell.”

By Lisa Mullins
Here and Now / WBUR (12/29/17)

For more than 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on earth. A new book documents the harrowing history of concentration camps and what author Andrea Pitzer calls the “larger concentration camp tapestry” — beginning with 1890s Cuba and continuing, she says, with Guantanamo Bay today.

“When people think of camps they just think of the death camps,” Pitzer says. “They think of Auschwitz, but really there’s this centurylong history of all different kinds of camps: transit camps, deportation camps, internment camps, labor camps.”

Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins speaks with Pitzer (@andreapitzer), author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.”

Link to Story, Book Excerpt and 11-Minute Audio

“Children came in with their mothers and lined up with them at roll call, only to be taken away for denationalization and integration into German society.”

— Andrea Pitzer, One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.”

Sound familiar? The same thing is happening here and now. Don’t collaborate by looking away.