Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Abby Zimet: Never Again. Still. Really.

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This cartoon got Michael de Adder, of New Brunswick’s Chronicle Herald, sacked. Defending his work and his integrity, de Adder said he’s neither left nor right but “alt-center” and “anti-stupid”; he was let go by the Irving-Oil-owned company, he said, “becauseI wanted to do my job as an editorial cartoonist, and they wanted me to do their job.” Many view his sacking as part of a troubling trend – The Nib cites the axing of more “perfectly normal editorial cartoons you’d have to have a real stick up your ass not to publish” – of what one journalist calls newspapers’ apparent prohibition on content that might offend a president who is reliably offensive on a daily basis (and) who does violence to the foundational principles of American democracy with a regularity that’s no longer shocking but should be.” “Like Republicans in Congress and sycophantic world leaders,” he writes, “newspapers that give Trump a free ride are complicit in the normalization of his aberrant, destructive behavior…The purpose of the newspapers (is) to inform without fear or favor, to hold those in power accountable, and to provoke readers to think critically about the world they live in.” Some readers were in fact critical of de Adder’s cartoon: They said it wasn’t realistic because Trump would never bother asking permission to play through.

The atrocities still unfurl, but so, thank God, do the acts of resistance – albeit too many months and deaths and acts of barbarism late. Tuesday’s release of a report by the DHS Office of the Inspector General further exposed the “grotesque” conditions in Trump’s concentration camps – inhuman overcrowding, unaccompanied children held illegally, no showers, working toilets, clean clothes, drinking water – even as thousands across the country took to the streets demanding “Close the Camps.” The same day, the House Oversight Committee announced – far too politely for many – hearings on the abuses; a federal judge in Seattle blocked a Trump effort to keep thousands of asylum-seekers illegally locked up, citing the timeless Constitutional protection against arbitrary detention; and over 1,000 Jews and other protesters shut down part of Boston at rush hour, marching from the Holocaust Memorial to SouthBay Detention Center to demand the camps be closed. Organized by #JewsAgainstIce and #NeverAgainAction, which held an earlier, smaller action, the march included some brilliant signs – “Resisting Tyrants Since Pharoah” – and some grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. At least 18 people were arrested, but leaders insisted, “This is just the beginning.” “When Jews say never again,” said one marcher, “We fucking mean it.”

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Auschwitz staff and commanders on their gleeful day off. Photo from the U.S. Holocaust Museum

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Today’s camps. Photos by Reuters.

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