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The reaction? Not what you’d expect… or sadly, precisely what you’d expect from the reactionary leftists in France. From Reuters:
In a speech praising faith that also drew fire from secularists, Sarkozy told France’s Jewish community on Wednesday that every 10-year-old schoolchild should be “entrusted with the memory of a French child victim of the Holocaust”.
The proposal unleashed a storm of protest from teachers, psychologists and his political foes who said it would unfairly burden children with the guilt of previous generations and some could be traumatized by identifying with a Holocaust victim.
More than 11,100 French Jewish children were deported from France to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps in eastern Europe during the German World War Two occupation.
“The emotional burden can have negative consequences for a child who is developing,” Gilles Moindrot, general secretary of the Snuipp-FSU trade union which represents most primary school teachers, said in a statement.
“One can not place on a child of 11 the responsibility for what happened back then.”
The EMDH children’s rights group said: “No educational project should be constructed on death.”
But Sarkozy, speaking in Perigueux in central France, brushed off the uproar.
“It is ignorance that produces abominable situations. It is not knowledge,” he said in a speech. “Let us make our children, children with open eyes who are not complacent.”
The issue of anti-Semitism has been all the rage in France in recent months, stemming from recent murders to comparisons of Sarkozy’s critics in the press as Nazi collaborators.
Last year during the presidential elections, Sarkozy was the target of several outrageous attacks from the Socialist Party and their backers… most of which the French press allowed to pass unnoticed.
But I digress.
Sarkozy is on to something, and regardless of the secular left’s instinctive hatred for all things Sarkozy, this is a proposal that is entirely worthwhile. Those who forget the past are indeed doomed to repeat it, and what better way to refresh the minds of the future than by assigning such a project, however small it may ultimately be?