As we approach the time of year when Jewish people everywhere prepare to mark the Passover, it is worth remembering why this is such an important occasion - and not just for those who are Jewish....
Why? Because although Passover specifically commemorates the flight of the Jewish people from slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt, it remains entirely relevant today some 3,300 years later.
In this age of technology and fast paced living, it is hard for some to comprehend the fact that something that happened so long ago remains in any way important today.
But it does, and never more so.
The fact is that slavery has followed mankind throughout all of its history. From the days of Exodus which we remember at Passover, through the abominable centuries of the shocking African slave trade in which around 12,000,000 Africans were transported from their homelands in terrible conditions (an estimated 15% died before even reaching the Americas), to the 20th century which saw Nazi Germany abduct and enslave another 12,000,000 people in less than a decade.
Millions more were murdered at the hands of the Nazis, 6,000,000 of them Jews.
Today as we march into the 21st century at a pace, slavery remains a shameful problem in a world that has apparently not learnt any lessons from history.
And so the Jewish people, who have survived many attempts to wipe them from the face of the earth, even as recently as the 20th century, again remember their flight from Egypt and their escape from slavery.
3,300 years on we can all take a moment to remember that slavery, persecution and oppression are still very much with us today and affect us all in some way. It remains the moral responsibility of all of us to acknowledge this fact and our duty to combat the cruelty that one human being is capable of inflicting on another human being. It may only take one person to cause pain to another but it can also only take one person to fight it when we encounter any kind of prejudice or persecution.
It can begin with each and every one of us – and indeed it must.
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