Words and pictures: refugees of memory

Refugees of Memory is an exhibit at the Sawy Cultural Center in Zamalek.

The pictures are all from the Israel’s January assault of Gaza, which the exhibit labels a holocaust. 

Picture of an exhibit picture–children looking in their school? 

children looking at their school? Though I consider the Israel’s actions an unjustifiable violation of human rights, the word “holocaust,” surprised me. To me the holocaust has only ever meant the Nazi’s actions to the Jews during WWII. 

The young women who run the exhibit said they took the words from the mouth of an Israeli minister. 

The United Kingdom Guardian reported this: 

“‘The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defence minister, told army radio.'” 


Where ever you stand on this issue, I think it’s a great example of the power of language and word choice. 


Steph, Jared, Rasha Muhhamed, Azza Rabea, Me, Rachel and Sean


Steph, Jared, Rasha Muhhamed, Azza Rabea, Me, Rachel and Sean

4 thoughts on “Words and pictures: refugees of memory

  1. Though I agree with you in that I most quickly associate the word with the mass killing of Jews under Hitler’s Third Reich (and lest we forget, gypsies, communists, and other “undesirables”), the usage here is perfectly legitimate by all involved. From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holocaust,


    Middle English,
    from Late Latin “holocaustum”
    from Greek “holokauston”
    from neuter of “holokaustos,” burnt whole
    from “hol- + kaustos,” burnt
    from “kaiein,” to burn
    more at “caustic”

    1: a sacrifice consumed by fire
    2: a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire
    3 (a) often capitalized : the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II (b) a mass slaughter of people; especially: genocide

  2. I like you have only heard holocaust in reference to the killing of Jews, but this was certainly interesting. Your journalistic endeavors are amazing. To maintain objectivity is an art within itself. I’m impressed and commend you on a job well done. There’s no doubt you have a bright future ahead of you.


  3. Thanks for the encouragement and background information/word etymology =)
    I mention hearing ‘holocaust’ only in reference to the Jews/Nazis because I think it’s an interesting comment on our culture.
    Genocide and apartheid I’ve heard more often in reference to the Palestinians.

  4. HI,

    Labeling this “Holocaust” is a miserable way to look at things. It shows first of all that the person does not know anything, just anything about the Holocaust.

    It is an Evil comparaison, originating out of the will to abuse.

    I’m sorry to see you give this kind of antisemitic propaganda a hand.

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