“ARBEIT MACHT FREIL”

It is hard to believe that Iain Duncan Smith returned from a trip to Auschwitz in May 2009 in a state of utter emotional turmoil. If anything, I would say he returned full of inspiration. Perhaps I am being a little unfair. Perhaps this man is not showing all the signs of being an absolute psychopath. But is in actual fact sympathetic as oppose to apathetic perhaps he really does think he is doing a good thing.

Speaking to Conservativehome.com Duncan Smith recalled his trip to the evilest of places; the place were hell on earth reigned supreme and where the most inhumane atrocities ever imagined was done to mankind by mankind.

In the opening paragraph Duncan Smith reiterates his feelings towards the trip. It was the last thing on his mind. He had a mountain of work to do and there seemed to be some sort of crisis going on all around him. Yet to please his wife Betsy he agreed.

Days later having returned Duncan Smith could think of nothing but what he experienced in Auschwitz, often stopping colleagues to talk about it. Indeed, having read the article again, the vividness of the place is brought to life through the eyes of Duncan Smith himself.

Quoting Rabbi Marcus:

“Hearing, is not like seeing.”

Duncan Smith described Auschwitz 1 as housing 20,000 people both political and Jewish, where people were beaten, marched huge distances and fed meagre rations. This was to be the start of it. A camp where the Nazi’ experimented in different ways to murder people. It was in Auschwitz 1 where the first gas chambers were built and 850 sick people were gassed to death.

Visitors were given a guided tour of a reconstructed part and saw for themselves just how squalid the living conditions were and a particular poignant movement for Duncan Smith was the courtyard, surrounded by candles and prayer cards where people were shot routinely for the most trivial of reasons.

If Duncan Smith’s description of Auschwitz 1 was bad, his description of number 2 was even more harrowing, even more heinous. Built to house at least 100,000 innocent people at any given time, with a number of gas and crematoria the enormity is in plain view.

Duncan Smith:

“Saddest part was the moment we stopped on a path across the railway tracks and were told this is where Dr Joseph Mengele ‘The Angel of Death’ divided the groups up. To the left women with children, pregnant women, the old and infirm. They were walked a couple of yards to the gas chamber and crematoria.”

No doubt with the stench billowing out of the chimneys’

Duncan Smith:

“As a father of four, standing there alongside my wife Betsy I froze at the thought of what a man watching his family ripped from him must feel.”

A merest hint of a human I have ever heard about Duncan Smith. He professes to be so moved by his trip, yet no sooner was he home than he was implementing policies that have had the most profound effect on the most vulnerable in our society. Okay this is in no way on the same scale of Auschwitz and nor should it be thank god, but certain things do have similarities. Sanctions for the most trivial of reasons, the dehumanisation of the sick, the disabled, the poor, unemployed. And now Duncan Smith has his sights on the mentally ill.

I am beginning to wonder if Duncan Smith’s trip was more an inspirational rather an empathetic one? Given what he has come up with in regard to the poorest in our society. What in god’s name is he going to do next? I am just hoping it’s not the camps with the special showers. But we have been down this road before. If we are divided, then conquering is easy.

We are surrounded by absolute psychopaths? Have the lunatics taken over the asylum? Or in our case, parliament?

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