Bieber’s ‘One Time’ comment could turn educational

By Maayan Schechter – Opinion Editor – mschecht@unca.edu

While many of you will grit your teeth reading this, Justin Bieber actually could change the world.

Bieber, along with his guards and a few friends, visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam after closing hours this past weekend. The house, now a museum, is the home where Frank wrote her famous diary and hid from the Nazis for two years before being found and killed.

After Bieber left the museum, the museum posted on their Facebook page a statement he wrote in the guest book. He said the visit was very inspiring and Anne was a great girl. He added he hoped Frank would have been a “Belieber,” the media’s name given to Bieber fans. Bieber left the home throwing up casual hand signs, which photographers flooded the Internet with.

The Holocaust, a mass genocide directed by Adolf Hitler, took more than six million lives including Jews, the disabled, gypsies and those who did not fit the blue eyed, blonde hair ideal look. Concentration camps, gas chambers, medical experiments and Nazis flood the consciousness and call on images many of us only know from movies or pictures we have seen.

Although the Holocaust is the most heavily recorded genocide to take place, and movies, television programs and books were produced depicting the atrocities, there are still those who deny the Holocaust ever happened, including Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and Mel Gibson’s father. Bieber’s trip to the Anne Frank Museum is somewhat thoughtful and also should be inspiring for many other young Americans who are unable to truly get a glimpse into what the Holocaust was actually like.

However, Bieber’s casualness about the entire affair throws off the importance and also detracts from steps to maybe educate his mass audience on the atrocities of the Holocaust.

More importantly, he could deter the number of people around the globe who may not believe or entirely deny the Holocaust every happened.

Bieber has taken control of the music world and attracted publicity many celebrities did not see until their mid 30s. If he has such power to attract such a large audience of the younger generation, he could use his charisma and passion to educate the younger generations about genocides, truly ensuring they never happen again.

Not many atrocities in the world can compare to the determined extermination of peoples quite like the Holocaust. Yet violence and rage occurred in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Sudan and Armenia. After the Holocaust, the United Nations created the term “genocide” and defined it as action with intent to exterminate a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

Updated recording shows an estimated 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict in Darfur and about 2.7 million people have been displaced since 2003, according to End Genocide organization. Darfur was first coined a genocide by former President George W. Bush, the first time a sitting American president had made such a declaration about an ongoing conflict.Instead of merely writing a statement in a visitor’s book, Bieber could encourage his followers to respond to a powerful movement to end genocides, like in Darfur.

His legacy does not have to just illustrate his many records, his own documentary, his relationship to teen sensation Selena Gomez and the time he jumped out of a van to “fight” paparazzi in England. Bieber could change the world.

Bieber has almost 38 million Twitter followers, a number higher than Justin Timberlake, Rhianna and even the President of the United States.

Although hard to digest, Bieber could help educate and ensure genocides do not happen ever again.

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