At the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration yesterday, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government emphasised the importance of calling out hate speech and not standing by while “everyday evil remains unchecked”.
In an address to more than 200 Holocaust survivors, Rt. Hon. Greg Clark MP shared the Government’s wishes “to pay its respects to those whom we honour this evening, such as the 10 British prisoners of war who saved Hannah Sarah Rigler from the Danzig death march”.
He said that it was his “privilege and responsibility” to speak as “a citizen, husband and father, one who wants his children to grow to maturity in a peaceful, tolerant and supportive society, free from the blight of sectional hatred”.
Mr Clark asserted that “the duty to speak up is one borne by each of us” in order to combat acts of hatred; he asserted that the Holocaust taught us “that genocide happens not just through the choices made by those who perpetrate it, but through the choices made by those who fail to stop the perpetrators”.
He continued: “It’s not just that bystanders look away; it’s that they choose to look away. The soil of hatred is fertilised by indifference to wickedness. That starts with tolerating small acts of hatred, such as casual stereotyping; only if ‘everyday evil’ remains unchecked can wickedness take root, and grow, into the acts which blight humanity”.
Mr Clark concluded by underlining the Government’s commitment “never to choose to look away” from acts of hatred, stating that “we must all recognise hatred, and challenge it; wherever and whenever we see it”.
The full speech can be found here.