Friday, September 21, 2007

semidiotics

as yoinked from the BBC






8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom, sorry can´t find you at facebook, there are 45 Tom Corcoran. Maybe you can try to find me? :-)
Maren

somewhere joe said...

Dammit - one more thing I have to look under my car for...

Eve said...

What do you mean "question" the Holocaust?

S'Mat said...

commemorating the Holocaust has a vast amount of purposes: the generation of awareness of the atrocity; determining humankind's continual reversion to genecidal mentality; promoting empathy to the survivors; accumulating monetary reparation; forming political impunity for various lobbies; determining certain nations' foreign policy etc.

so... given all this, why is it illegal in some countries to question elements of the Holocaust? sure, cultural sensitivity and perhaps overcompensation for historical acts, but... people are capitalizing on it, various detractors of this form of money-making calling it The Holocaust Industry... why is it taboo to ask for the actual number of people involved in the Holocaust. or was it really '6 million'? why are the Roma, Slavs, gays etc. underepresented, in other words, basically tertiary victims?
where does fact and fiction seperate here? as you know, the Holocaust, though sadly rooted as historical fact, has also become awash with elements of legend, so much so that most people do not know one from the other. i don't. the original sources for all historical chronicle are not available for public scrutiny. they are confidential... why?

prominent historians and researchers of the Holocaust have been noted as politically partisan during ww2, a few even accused of warcrimes themselves. Abe Foxman of the ADL, a very powerful man, had maintained that the Armenian massacre of 1915 did not count as genocide. because, truly, he IS the authority on this... he recently recanted.
Israel's bellicosity is directly informed by the Holocaust: criticism of the country's action regarding their own ethnic cleansing program; their troubles in the region; their carte blanche to act however they wish (they bombed iraq's nuclear power-plant... THAT is nuclear war); their own avoidance of signing the non-proliferation treaty (which would help stabilize the area)... everything is in reference to the Holocaust. and so, to question the Holocaust, ANY DETAIL of the Holocaust, would be to open it to a free market of review, and therein the political/economical elements that actively benefit by it would be suddenly open to scrutiny. hence: widespread censorship of criticism.

pretty broad answer, i know, but i truly feel it has passed into the realms of mythology. to use it to justify doing horrible things to other people is to do a disservice to the memory of its victims. and the best way to let people be involved in the collective memory is to allow them to ask questions... truth needs no law to enforce it... right?

Graham said...

Whoa, I was just going to comment that there are signs on Shanghai subways that read: "If you are stolen, call the police immediately" but now it seeems vapid. Then again, I haven't yet read the holocost discussion so maybe I've fumbled upon an appropriate summarizing statement.

Graham said...

OK... it wasn't and I mispelled holocaust.

On the point of criminalizing genocide denial, I think that you are right Tom. It is a very dangerous route to go down. In the case of the Nazi holocaust there is ample evidence to show that mass death was casued by a systematic extermination program. In other cases, the case for calling a conflict a "genocide" is much less substantiated. This becomes really important when applied to ongoing conflicts because as soon as the term is applied, all discussion on the nature of the conflict is killed and, if anti-denial laws are passed in europe, even made illegal. Although I know little about it, international intervention in Kosovo was tainted by the use of the term and currently we have the blood bath in Sudan which is being called genocide. Is it a genocide? From what I know, no. It is a complex conflict with a historical context... not just good being exterminated by evil. Will the acceptance of the term genocide being applied to that conflict influence the outcome? It most certainly could. In a good way? Probably not. We have so many examples to show that "humanitarian intervention" can fail so outlawing debate on the nature of crises will not help the success of foreign interventions.

Sorry.... not really following the track of what you were saying to Eve, although the drum roll for war with Iran is certainly being fueled in part by an inability to look beyond the "crime" of a man's foolhearty opinion about a unerasable set of historical facts. His negligence on the issue does matter but it alone is by no means justification for war and the assumption that war will eliminate such hostility is assinine.

Eve said...

That's interesting.

I have to say, I don't see the connection between all of those things you mentioned.

I don't know about this money making industry. Also, they tend to legislate lots in Europe. You think it's ok to state (and often print) lies and teach that they are facts? In state funded education programs?

Who denies that homosexuals, gypsies, Slavs, and other non-Aryans (or those deemed to be undesirable elements of society by the Nazis) were targeted or victims of the Holocaust? And demanding exact numbers is semantics. 6 million versus 5,890,531 or 6,100,428. But if you're interested in figuring out an exact number, go for it. I don' particularly consider that as questioning it. And which 'legends' are you referring to?

And the ADL has been vocally criticized for their non-recognition of the Armenian genocide, as has the government of Turkey. How is that connected?

And who benefits from the Holocaust? How do they benefit exactly?

Eve said...

And why should they sign the non-proliferation treaty when others won't? The other countries in the Middle East won't recognize the existence of Israel and are openly hostile. Giving up the right to defend themselves would be insane.