During the dinner break on Thursday of Thursday and Friday, March 8th and 9th of the Holocuast Conference, I learned on the internet that it was International Women's Day. Since 2009 I have done some volunteer work weekly at the Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Archives at PLU. Students were selling This Is What A PLU Feminist Looks Like t-shirts, so I bought one and wore it to the evening speech. On that day the specific topic of the plight of women in the holocaust seemed neglected, I jotted down that "ignoring conditions for women implies they were on-lookers treated as dependents." My reference was to the title of the speech by Heather Matthews, The Rape Of Europa. When my thoughts diverge from the immediate topic I can jot the thoughts down, then continue to pay attention to the speeches, results of long and hard study.
The origin of the term rape - snatch forcibly - is the word rapt - and the Biblical term for the Rapture, that the believers will be snatched into Heaven leaving others. That evening the speech by Hayes began with some explanations for why restitution has been delayed. He analyses that in the general devastation in Europe it took time to extract the details of the Holocaust, first of all. His format (of a first, and then another stage) remains with me in my thoughts. His speech, which detailed payments by the West German government to victims, along with the earlier film which showed a survivor accepting a stolen painting recovered at an art museum in Utah, helped me percieve restitution as a stage that is now advancing into memorialization. The term memorialization was present in many speeches.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the book by Stieg Larsson and the Swedish movie, along with the Oscar nominated American film version, has a plot line about serial murders of Jewish women. Compared to novels and movies, when the historians use the word horror they remain in a context of restraint. The Holocaust Conferences are partly geared, though, to provide students with some insight into how to choose when in a situation of victim, perpetrator, collaborator or bystander - or resistor - and to choose to act - "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim - silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." I am reminded of an article about feedback loops, exemplified by a technological highway speed radar reader that displays the approaching driver's speed in contrast to the actual legal speed limit.
At the end of the conference on Friday afternoon I left the closing comments by PLU President Loren Anderson early so that I could get into my coat and head for the transit center. (Twenty-year President Anderson will be a past-president if he makes comments at next year's conference. The new university president choice was biographied in their recent edition of their paper, The Mast.) So many times I have added to my awareness of an insidious politeness credit being self-awarded within the audience, for they are staying steadily, not leaving early like that rude person. It is a genuine aspect of road rage.