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Humans seem to have a predilection for destruction.

The number of wars the world has seen seem to indicate that man is not satisfied with prolonged peace. In the name of religion, ethnicity, philosophy, gangs and any divisionary idea, there have been wars, battles, bombs and drive-bys.

Each night on the evening news, we are accosted with the knowledge that yet another murder has occurred, yet another life has been lost.

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Tuesday marked the Yom HaShoa, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Both of these events passed by largely unnoticed by the general population.

This March, the Republic of Latvia commemorated the Day of Victims of Communist Terror and will commemorate another day of deportations in July. Outside of the former Soviet bloc countries, likely very few people realize the death and destruction those occupied people went through.

It is easier not to know about these things.

It is easier to push tragedies out of our minds. History has already happened; we cannot change the course of those lives lost.

But history continues to happen.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded us on Tuesday that “ignoring the historical fact of those terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated.”

Genocide, ethnic cleansing — they have been and are being repeated. As much as we like to think these horrors are the stuff of older generations, they aren’t, at least not to the half-million Rwandans who were massacred in the 1990s and not to the 2 million who have been forced to flee their homes in Darfur.

It has been 65 years since World War II ended. It has been only 19 since the Soviet Union collapsed. As recently as 1995, while most of us were attending grade school, CNN showed us images from the Bosnian War.

Why do we forget so easily?

Far away from the violence of bloody wars, we fall victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. It is normal, natural and necessary to overcome atrocities. We cannot let atrocities rule our lives or our minds, or we will be lost to them.

But at the same time, we have to remind ourselves that we cannot stand idly by while others are dying unnecessarily and we cannot forget the consequences when we do not act.

We cannot all take up arms and march off to those places of violence, but we all can do something to help.

Write a letter to your congressman, pressing for policies that increase safety in Sudan.

Donate $10 to a development project through organizations like, or just click for free on the big blue button on to help finance a micro loan. Your click helps an impoverished person help his or her community to develop and avoid a civil war.

Too often atrocities have been ignored until it was too late. Let us not forget our past so that we can help our future.

Indra hopes histories of violence will not repeat themselves. Reach her at

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