Much of the political discourse in this country over the last day and a half or so has been dominated by the proper nomenclature for the inhumane and dehumanizing detention centers that the Trump administration is currently operating on the southern border.
Prominent conservatives immediately became apoplectic with rage when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accused the Trump administration of operating “concentration camps” along the southern border, invoking a term primarily associated with the appalling internment camps used by Nazi Germany to torture and work Jews to death.
This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.
This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis ⬇️https://t.co/2dWHxb7UuL
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 18, 2019
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Ocasio-Cortez is not the first person to make that comparison, but the right-wing’s pathological obsession with the prominent democratic socialist immediately sent the conservative media machine into overdrive.
The usual gallery of disingenuous frauds and grievance preachers like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) were joined by media hacks like Ben Shapiro and Ryan Saveerda in weeping and moaning over how Ocasio-Cortez’s calling the detention centers “concentration camps” was somehow insulting to the memory of those that perished in the Holocaust.
But Ocasio-Cortez fired back this morning with a question that none of the weeping and moaning frauds have been able to answer properly: what would you call them?
I’m curious, @HouseGOP: what would you like people to call these Trump-run human cages?
According to you, concentration camp experts + historians are wrong.
So what do you call it? What term makes you feel better about brutality?
“Internment?” “Detention?” “Freedom Center?” https://t.co/DXVJ1uFsT9
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 20, 2019
It’s a well-established fact that the Trump administration is packing arrested immigrants into overcrowded detention centers, where they are subject to abuse, exploitation, and dehumanizing conditions by private prison contractors and the jack-booted thugs of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Thousands of children and adults alike have been sexually abused in these camps.
A rising death toll and consistent reports of horrifically inhumane conditions has prompted expert Andrea Pitzer to give the immigrant detention centers the “concentration camp” label, using the criterion of “mass detention of civilians without trial.”
But the pathetic attempts of the right-wing to exploit the memory of the Holocaust in order to downplay the systematic cruelty that our nation is inflicting on vulnerable immigrants at the border makes it clear that they don’t actually disapprove of anything that’s happening.
Which makes it particularly infuriating to watch the American right-wing exploit the Holocaust and weaponize its specter to defend the inhumane actions of a racist president and his adminstration’s ethnic persecution against Hispanic immigrants when it was the right-wing’s very same beliefs and xenophobic prejudices that fueled the Holocaust in the first place.
Ironically, the American right-wing’s Nazi-sympathizing “America First” forefathers would cheer to see modern conservatives use the gruesome consequences of their xenophobia to again defend the closing of our borders and the use of institutionalized cruelty against vulnerable people.
The horrors of the Holocaust will forever be remembered as the ultimate symbol of the savagery that lies within human souls, the lowest of the low points for a perpetually disappointing human race that seems to relish concocting new ways to make each other suffer.
The shame and revulsion that is now ingrained in our historical memory from the targeted extermination of six million Jews and the mass slaughter of five million more vulnerable groups demands that we remain vigilant in our efforts to make sure that the memory of those lost is honored and that never again will such atrocities be allowed to unfold.