Cemetery desecration is reprehensible: What you should know about hate crimes

Kristina Wyman's picture
Heather Schofield

In a disrespectful, hateful and anti-Semitic fashion, five teens brutally destroyed and vandalized the final resting place of over 250 Jewish citizens in France. The Sarre-Union cemetery was found destroyed after the teens knocked over, smashed and defaced the tombstones.

The teens claimed that it was not anti-Semitic when they began destroying the tombs, but regardless of what religion the deceased practiced, defacing and wrecking tombs is a disgusting display of human hate and destruction. The tombs were not only broken and knocked over, but several had the Swastika symbol spray painted onto them.

The teens will face a maximum of seven years in prison, but this may not be severe enough. The whole society is to blame for perpetuating these hateful ideas and influencing the violent tendencies of the youth.

All of the participants were between the ages of 15 and 17, making them a prime target for media. Television, video games and the internet are very influential with the increasingly tech savvy youth of the world. If morals are not being taught to the youth, then one cannot expect them to refrain from such heinous acts. The teens are a product of a violent society that is xenophobic. This fear and hate of the diversity that makes up the whole of humanity is what has led to the destruction of graves.

This act in itself is horrible; one that finds enjoyment in destroying something that is a lasting symbol of the deceased for grieving family and friends is none other than a monster. To derive pleasure in the form of hurting others is cruel and lacks every positive aspect of humanity.

It is a devastating fact that some people hate other groups so much that they actively seek them out for the mere purpose of causing pain. These monsters lack not only compassion and empathy, but also a conscience. Their motives for vandalizing headstones reside purely in the hate of others and a violent nature in themselves. This is seen repeatedly throughout the world and especially seen at the Sarre-Union cemetery.

This Jewish cemetery has been targeted two other times, once in 1988, where 60 Jewish headstones were knocked over and again in 2001, where 54 headstones were damaged. Other global examples are in Warsaw, Poland this past January when the phrase “Jews for slaughter” was painted on the fence of the continent’s largest Jewish burial grounds. This anti-religious behavior is primarily targeted at Jewish burial grounds, but Christian cemeteries have also been attacked such as in Saint-Beat, France.

What is even more alarming about this reckless and hateful destruction is the emphasis on ISIS and their anti-Jewish and anti-Christian attacks, the Charlie Hebdo incident, shootings at the synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark and the deadly hostage siege at the kosher supermarket in Paris. These hate crimes cannot go unpunished, but it is impossible to truly identify the culprit when the whole of society has influenced the events.

To truly understand the problem would require a complete review and change in the mental processes of the human mind and society as a whole. Hate stems from fear of the unknown. When the hate manifests itself in the youth, one can only deduce that it was the elders, the media and the society that taught this hate to them because a baby is not born into world with any prejudices. The individuals themselves must be punished for acting upon their hateful impulses. This is an impossible task and it may never be solved, especially when terrorist organizations continue to sprout up and hate continues to be taught.

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