A famous story concerning the aftermaths of what can only be describe as the most gruesome occurrence of human cruelty, the ravishing anti Semitism under Hitler, concerns possibly Chanel, yet in any case a product Chanel also produces: Lipsticks. Apparently survivors of the sickly labelled Concentration camps were given Lipsticks.
This may seem as a cruel joke, yet it reveals something that goes beyond any necessity man needs: human dignity. Food, drink, sleep are all basic necessities, yet they do not suffice in making us human. Another story surrounds those experiments done on infants who died after not receiving any affection and human touch in their developing stages.
No one can even remotely comprehend what it means to undergo the terrific torture of such inhumane surroundings found within those death camps unless one was actually present. I am somewhat terrified at the idea of those perpetrators actually roaming the streets afterwards, many of whom went undetected. Surely, the deeds they did left a dent in their already warped person?
Today I went shopping at one of those cheaper places. A man stood there, lost, staring into thin air. His shoes were open, regular sores covered his feet, his demeanour was that of confusion and his attire had seen better days many years ago. My first reaction was to create distance. Yet only twenty minutes earlier I myself had felt what it meant to be treated like a human. With dignity.
I was at our unemployment office, talking to the lady about my efforts in regards to getting a new job. She did not suspect me of doing nothing, of being a lazy bum and abusing the government for my own selfish purposes of watching day time tv. Rather, she commended me on my actions and gave positive reinforcement over and over again. I felt human. Dignified.
To encounter another person as though he may be the president of a great country, even though he may sweep the streets, be dependent on hand outs or look lost and forlorn. That is a way of giving dignity to others. Not because anyone needs it. Those survivors did not need those lipsticks. I bet it helped them straighten their back and remind them that they have value simply due to the fact that they are alive.