Letters to the Editor

 

Dear Sir:

Re: “We Must Not Forget Our Past” written or sponsored by Phyllis Ewing

I am not sure where the quote from a second person—military ex-pat from Arizona—in Ms. Ewing’s article ended, or whether the whole article was his view. I would like to comment on the contents, regardless of who wrote it.

Following a story about how General Eisenhower after discovery of the concentration camps in 1945 made people take note of the horrible facts in various ways, the author made a statement that seems intended (I think) to raise a concern about omitting facts of history—a beneficial enough goal.  

However, the article quotes falsehoods and slanders about  the UK school system, and it ends with a plea for not removing the statues of historical figures, including those of the American Civil War (on both sides, I presume the author meant).

To say it bluntly, the author (in a roundabout way) comes to the conclusion that the statues of racist and horrible men with a past (deeds, not just opinions) in the US Civil War need to stay around—men that have no reason to be admired and held up as examples of heroes in this day and age.

To connect the view that the statue of those “heroes” should remain with the desire to be truthful about history, is misguided and the author seems confused about the issues.

There are some inaccuracies I would like to point out. The statement that the UK is debating to take out the history of the Holocaust out of the curriculum is false and based on chain emails from a source that wants to sow fear about Muslims and alleged influence on the non-Muslim world. I am repeating parts of the website that dispels fake or biased information:

“This email forward claims that teachings about the Holocaust have been removed from the United Kingdom (UK) school curriculum because their inclusion may offend Muslim citizens. However, this claim is unfounded. The UK government has not banned the teaching of the Holocaust in schools, nor is it planning to do so.

In fact, according to the BBC, “In England, teaching children about the Holocaust is compulsory.” While other UK countries such as Scotland and Wales have their own school curriculum and while Holocaust teaching is not compulsory, it is certainly not banned and is generally encouraged.”

The false information in the message probably arose out of confusion generated by a Historical Association report commissioned by the English Department for Education and Skills. The report states, in part:

“Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned. Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes.

In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship.”

It cites the case of one school that did not select the Holocaust as a topic: For example, a history department in a northern city recently avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils.

SO FAR the quote from the website (http://www.hoax-slayer.net/holocaust-ban-in-uk-schools-chain-email/).

Using the author’s quoted story of General Eisenhower in reference to preserving a nasty history, I might give an example: To leave the statues of Hitler and his henchmen Goebbels, Eichmann, etc. after the Second World War around Europe, would indicate that the modern-day Germans still like Hitler and his regime and they feel that it was the right thing to do at the time of the terrible Nazi reign. The German state did not do that.

Instead, it preserved some of the concentration camps as museums, and educate their children about what happened here, and they have erected new memorials laying out the history of the Holocaust and how it all happened, to educate against racism and hatred.

The US southern states could entertain taking a similar avenue as the German state did, to preserve their terrible history of the Civil War and honor the sacrifice of the many black Americans who have suffered in the US.

This may be a warning to all to check the facts before jumping to conclusions and so (possibly unintended) perpetuate fear and hate.

Johanna van Zanten

Temporary resident of Ajijic

34a Angel Flores/376-766-1243

 

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