Meir Shlomo is the Israeli ambassador.
Seventy-two years ago, a momentous historical event was achieved when the State of Israel was established in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. In normal times, we would now be celebrating in the streets and parks, picnicking and enjoying the wonderful spring weather outdoors. But, like most countries, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Israelis are commemorating their independence day indoors, under strict regulations.
Seventy-five years ago today, on Jan 27 1945, it must have seemed as if the gates of hell themselves had been thrown open. The liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, by Soviet forces finally brought home the full horrors of the Holocaust to a shocked world. What the soldiers of the Red Army saw when they entered the camp was simply inconceivable in its dreadfulness. They found thousands of sick, starving and tortured victims, who had been confined in appalling, harrowing conditions, and the evidence of the extermination of around 1.1 million innocent people.
The severe droughts that have been troubling parts of Thailand over the past few years, not to mention other countries in the region, represent a serious and worrying phenomenon, especially if they strike during what should be the monsoon period. Water shortages in the middle of the crop-planting season not only cause local farmers to suffer, but they also have much wider ripple effects.