Columns / Voices

COLUMN: Will history repeat itself?

Brynn McDonnell

Brynn McDonnell

Berlin, 1936.

The world watched as the top athletes competed for reigning championships. The Germans were waiting to show  spectators what real Aryan blood could do.

During the time of the Nazi-Germany hosting of the Olympics, anti-Semitic signs were removed, propaganda was limited, and people were so easily fooled. For them, Germany looked like heaven, yet in reality, it was hell.

A number of Jewish athletes boycotted the 1936 Olympics, yet the games still went on. Sports complexes were erected, swastikas were enshrined on monuments, and the bloody secrets of the Nazi regime were hidden.

Nazi officials made it clear that foreign visitors would not be subjected to German laws, including the criminal penalties against homosexuality. In years to come, however, more than 10 million deaths would occur because of Hitler’s search for absolute power.

When looking back on history, we like to ask ourselves, “how did this happen?” and vow to prevent such atrocities in the future. The Nuremberg Trials brought Nazi officials to justice and the world slowly moved on, seemingly forgetful of how easy it is to create a powerful path of destruction.

Sochi, 2014.

Olympians all over the world are traveling to Sochi, a city in Russia, to compete for the glory of an Olympic medal. However, similarly to 1930s Hitler, Russian president Vladimir Putin is also attempting to hide his tyrannical efforts to erode human rights.

In June 2013, Putin signed legislation into law that “prescribes fines for anyone providing information about pedophilia and homosexuality to people under 18.” Gay rights activists worry that the amendment criminalizes any public event in support of gay rights. Even national leaders from other countries have boycotted the games in response to such laws.

In this case, these human rights abuses are not historical or theoretical, but are very real.

The Holocaust happened in silence when the world closed its eyes and covered its ears. I think it is vital to our history and to our morality that we as students, citizens and human beings take notice of what is happening in Russia and how the Sochi Olympics will impact the citizens.

In J.R.R. Tolkein’s second installment of The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Merry was compelling Treebeard the Ent to come out of isolation and help fight against the darkness covering Middle Earth. When met with resistance by Treebeard, thinking the Ents had no role in the war, Merry challenged Treebeard by asking him –

“But you’re a part of this world, aren’t you? … you must help.”

As students, we have a responsibility to engage in discourse against these abuses. It is our duty to ensure the basic human rights of all of the world’s people. As idle observers, can we really look into the future without fear of being judged just as harshly as we judge those involved in the Holocaust of Nazi Germany?

What can we as students of this school do to make sure that we do not participate in the passerby effect of this human rights abuse?

To start, we can tell Putin that the whole world is watching Russia, and not just for the pair figure-skating.


  1. Irving Plodmore says:

    What “human rights”abuses?
    “Gay”is a euphemism for homosexual created by gay rights activists to disguise the fact that their “lifestyle”is defined by the sexual ACT of sodomy (the legal term)between males.In the US they represent approximately 2% of the male population. It is therefore “abnormal/deviant”sexual behavior and was described as such in psychology textbooks when I attended CMU.
    I do not find it a “human rights abuse”to prevent homosexual activists attempting to recruit minors by normalizing sodomy and pedophilia.I personally find this activity reprehensible.
    Russia has a declining birthrate they are trying to turn around and homosexuality is considered an impediment.
    I do agree however that Putin is a tyrant.
    You might be interested to know that Hitler got his ideas for for cultivating a master race from the American Progressive Movement (Margret Sanger the founder of what is now “Planned Parenthood”,Woodrow Wilson etc.).
    As a Conservative/Libertarian I have no problem with homosexuals and believe in tolerance. I will not however validate their “lifestyle”as normal.

    • Irving, I think you are wrong on many levels–I am glad that a person with your intolerance is no longer at CMU. Your outdated views on homosexuality are laughably incorrect, and I look forward to an America that can see past the kind of ignorant filth that you and your ilk try to promote.

      • Irving Plodmore says:

        The specificity of your reply on “the many levels”I am wrong is truly astounding.
        You must have missed the part where I believe in tolerance and have no problem with homosexuals.
        The adage “when they call you names you have won the argument”seems to hold true.

    • Who are you to judge someone for their lifestyle and what choices they make? What constitutes a lifestyle as being normal? Are you, Irving, normal? That is such a subjective word and to throw that around in order to make your point shows just how ignorant your kind is.

  2. michmediaperson says:

    Brynn, you want to talk about human rights violations.
    When will you, CMU’s multiculturalists protest and denounce gay people are being executed in:
    1. Black African nations
    2. Muslim countries

    Do a Google search. Gay groups are saying this.
    The liberal media doesn’t want to talk about this so Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the Muslim community doesn’t freak out.

    So, let us know Brynn when you will be writing a column about this. Better check with the Multiculturalists to see if it’s OK to disclose this.

    Next, let’s talk about human rights violations performed by Barack Hussein Obama, the Democratic Party and liberal women in the USA. Hitler slaughtered mostly Jewish people. In the USA, liberals slaughter children at abortion clinics. So, Brynn, when will you, CMU and the Libs at CMU protest this.

    So you won’t go after Africans, Muslims and liberal US women. Only a white communist Russian dictator (He’s still a commie in my book)

    Before worrying about Russia, let’s worry about the USA. Then, let’s address the African and Muslim problem. As far as I know, Putin isn’t slaughtering anyone like they are in Africa, Muslim countries (for being gay) and USA abortion clinics (children).

    Let us know when you plan to start the campus wide movement against Africa, Muslim countries and USA abortion crematoriums.

    By the way, doesn’t CM LIFE believe in having conservative columnists??? Only liberal columnists??? Or, are conservative students afraid to write columns for fear of grade blacklash by liberal faculty members in the classrooms. Would the editor consider alumni to fill the conservative columns like Irving, michmediaperson and others. Our grades can’t be changed.

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