Culture helps create and promote prejudice

Re: Desecration: placing blame and finding forgiveness

Re: Desecration: placing blame and finding forgiveness (Letters Jan. 27). Wow, I should have done a better job of getting my point across.

I am certainly not in favour of burning books. It is only through books that we know that religious leaders like Luther exhorted their countrymen to drive out the Jews.

Nor do I see today’s more tolerant Christian religion as hostile to Jews.

I do take issue with the idea that we can dump all the blame on individuals. The problem with cultures is that when they do something they are ashamed of they blame it on some scapegoat, thus learning nothing from the experience.

We get to blame Pickton for murdering 47 women but what about the culture that let him get away with it so easily? Would Hitler have been an anti-Semite if he had been reared in China? And now it turns out that Mohammad Shafia has been found guilty of killing his daughters. Do we now say that the cause of their deaths is simply because their father is a murderer? That his culture was not involved?

In perspective, we must remember Germany was one of the most civilized countries in the world until a serious depression and uncontrollable inflation generated considerable hostility towards their Jewish citizens.

Meanwhile here in Victoria we all “understood” that the Jews caused the depression to grab all the money for themselves. (Canada was a truly Christian country back then.) I think it was about the same time that our government rejected Jews who were trying to escape from the Holocaust. We had all been brainwashed, not just the Germans.

Once made aware of the horrors of the Holocaust, our attitudes changed and everyone agreed the Jewish people must have a place of their own like the rest of us. Most of us thought that was the end of anti-Semitism.

Evidently not. Let’s bring this prejudice out in the open and cleanse our culture.

Andy Mulcahy

Victoria