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Round Table Discussion �Nizhnii Novgorod: Youth Alternatives to Fascism and Indifference�

The 14th of November a round table discussion took place whose the theme was �Nizhniy Novgorod: Youth Alternatives to Fascism and Indifference�. The leaders of the Nizhnii Novgorod noncommercial organizations tried to understand the questions of racial intolerance. As the participants emphasized, one might hear about tolerance, intolerance, the revival of fascism and Nazism, but for many people they are simply empty words. Therefore, fights are constantly breaking out because of national intolerance.

�What exactly is tolerance?� This is the question that Andrei Cheremnikh, the secretary of the Coordination Council and head of the development programs of the international MPD (Youth Human Rights Movement) asked. Tolerance means respect, acceptance, and understanding of the rich variety of cultures in our world, the forms of self-expression and the ways of expressing human individuality. Some standard situations of intolerance of foreigners in our country were depicted. The second side of the question was: to whom are we intolerant? It appeared that people were not just intolerant to foreigners but to the handicapped as well. They went on to ask about fascism. �Fascism has three components: intolerance, a cult of strength, and totalitarianism,� said Andrei Cheremnikh.

The lecturers showed how the theme of intolerance is dealt with in Nizhnii Novgorod. �In the period from January to June 2007 there were 14 interethnic crimes and 13 against foreign students,� announced Irina Kozlobckikh, representative of the youth human rights group of the Volga region. �There are three organizations which are directly involved in this problem: the National Social Organization, the all-Russian public patriotic movement- �Russian National Unity�, and The Movement against Illegal Immigration.�

The participants listed ways of counteracting racial hostility: create clubs for foreigners and to carry out picketed marches against intolerance. According to a representative of NROO CPT, Nina Ezhovoy's �Trust� recently had a meeting in memory of the tragedy in Babe Yar, the meeting had a deep-thinking feel to it. The young people were interested and the older people came up and said, �Thank you for not forgetting�. The question that such a thing could happen again here was struck down. Leaders of noncommercial organizations said how they struggle with this problem. The main weapons are education, lectures, and pickets, the participants all agreed.

The key decision that came out of the round table discussions was that the organizations decided to be united.

The discussions took place during the International Week of Educational Events �Kristallnacht- Never Again� (www.9-november.hrworld.ru), which the International Youth Network against Racism and Intolerance and the International Movement of Young Human Rights Activists (www.yhrm.org). In Nizhniy Novgorod the program comes about because of the help of the Young Human Rights Group of the Volga region and the Nizhniy Novgorod Young Jewish Community �Alef Noar�, with the support of The Commonwealth of Organizations in Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast. Within the frameworks of the week a series of events will take place for the student population In Nizhniy Novgorod: educational events, thematic discussions about films, and educational materials will be distributed.


�Kristallnacht� or �Night of the Broken Glass� happened on the nights of the 9th and 10th of November in 1938. These events started the Holocaust, the massive assault on the Jewish people which resulted in the death of six million European Jews.

On the 9th of November 1938 the SS, Hitler�s specialized assault group, organized an unsanctioned pogrom against the Jews. More than seven thousand Jewish businesses suffered as a consequence. Fires blazed in Jewish areas as the Nazis burned their religious books. Some 200 synagogues were destroyed. The pogrom lasted for 24 hours and 91 people were killed. More than thirty thousand Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Several of them were killed in the two months following the pogrom.

On top of the near six million Jews that were the main recipients of the Nazi�s policy of destruction, another five and a half million people were deemed to be �enemies of the German state�: the marginalized and the homeless, the mentally ill and homosexuals, Jehovah�s Witnesses, political opponents/opposition (such as communists and Socialists), the Roma and Shinto peoples and representatives of Slavic peoples.

Source: Argumenti i Fakti

� 1993-2007

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