Did The Holocaust Really Happen?
I’m a huge fan of free speech. It’s the very first amendment in the Constitution of the United States of America and for very good reason. When our forefathers were seceding from England in the 1700’s, and laying down a foundation of self-governance, they felt it was paramount to provide protection for dissent. Theoretically, all people should have the right say what they want, without fear of retribution. In reality however, there are always limits and constraints. As they say - “Free speech doesn’t give you the right to yell ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater”. The question is always one of balance… ‘Where do you draw the line?’
Mahmoud mouths off
In this article from CNN, the President of Iran held a conference in his own country, questioning the validity of the Holocaust. Here’s a small tidbit:
“His words received warm applause from delegates at the Holocaust conference… [snip]… who argue the Holocaust was either fabricated or exaggerated.”
Even though Iran is one of the “…worst violators of free speech…”, I’ll still defend his prerogative to make whatever comments he wishes, simply in the spirit of protecting the freedom of speech for ALL mankind, both foreign & domestic. It’s unfortunate & pathetic however, that the leader of a country couldn’t set a better example than to spew hate-filled, provocative, inciting, and destructive rhetoric. Then again, when it comes to setting examples, I guess our own leader pretty much takes the cake.
In that same spirit of free speech, I give myself the prerogative to dissent to his comments…
My take on history
I’ve always believed that ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ are nebulous things. Each of us has our own version of truth & reality, and it really all comes down to beliefs. What do you believe to be real?
When it comes to history we have a number of sources that paint a picture of what really happened, a.k.a. the official account. While many of those accounts take the form of audio & video evidence, all accounts from before the advent of that technology are solely eyewitness depictions, documented as best as possible. Whether it’s from books/articles published or scribbling on cave walls, the bulk of the earth people’s history beyond 100 years is known through other people’s eyes. And don’t forget - each person sees things through their own perspective and hence their own filters.
Let’s take the Bible, for example. I think that the Bible consists of a collection of stories which have to be taken ‘with a grain of salt’ per se. I think it’s possible that some of the stories may have some roots in realism, but I also think that we can’t rely on all of them as absolute fact. Let’s face it – the stories of Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, and Noah & the ark are little more than fairy tales. I’ve always believed that these stories are largely vehicles for teaching our children righteous values.
The persecution of Jews is genuine
On the other hand, there are some things we can genuinely glean from the multitude of Bible scriptures. One of those gleanings is that Jews have been persecuted for generations. And even if you didn’t believe the Bible stories of being enslaved in Egypt (Passover & the book of Exodus) and the like, the persecution of Jews from the Holocaust is thoroughly documented with evidence well beyond eyewitness accounts. And the plethora of eyewitness accounts, some people still alive to this day, is utterly overwhelming.
One such account is the true story by Elie Wiesel entitled ‘Night’, a non-fiction account of his survival of the German concentration camps. And if that doesn’t completely affect you, then this will… As a child in religious school I saw a very disturbing documentary called ‘Night And Fog’, which depicted actual accounts of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The film was in black & white with actual footage. Seeing the thousands of bodies being bulldozed into mass graves is scarier than any horror film. When you’re watching Freddy, Jason, or Chucky mutilate some teenager, you can convince yourself it’s only a movie. This film was made in 1955 and it’s very, very real.
Jews aren’t the only ones persecuted
I don’t want to diminish or belittle the persecution of other races & cultures. In fact I’d go so far as to say that Jews, in this day & age, are not nearly as persecuted as some other peoples. While Jews continue to experience some measure of Anti-Semitism, I think the Jews and Israel have at least reached the point of being defensible. The Israeli military is widely respected as one of the most skilled and capable in the world. Much to Ahmadinejad’s delirious prediction, Israel isn’t going anywhere and the “Zionist regime” will never be “wiped out”.
On the other hand there are complete races/cultures of peoples who continue to suffer the hatefulness of genocide. My heart goes out to the people of Darfur. Over two years ago I remember (then Secretary of State) Colin Powell saying that there was genocide going on in Sudan. Two years later the Bush Administration continues to ignore the problem. Not everyone has, however. Yes, it’s the American Jewish World Service which founded the “Save Darfur Coalition” as a measure of “…coordinating like-minded humanitarian & advocacy organizations”. I urge my readers to follow the link above and see what American Jews are doing in this effort. Here's one snippet from that web page:
“As Jews, we have a particular moral responsibility to speak out and take action against genocide. We must respond and save as many lives as we can.”
So, what have we learned?
Well, first of all we’ve learned that the President of Iran - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in typical Iranian fashion, is ignorantly hateful of Israel. He’s clearly delirious to think that Israel, with or without the support of the US, wouldn’t be able to defend itself.
We learned that the Holocaust isn’t a myth – it really did happen – and there are literally millions of descendants with millions of dead ancestors to prove it.
We learned that there continues to be genocidal killing going on in various parts of the world.
And, we also learned that American Jews are taking the lead in addressing the genocide in Darfur.