Letters to the Editor
In her “sponsored” article, “We Must Not Forget Our Past” (Ojo; Jan.; page 8), Phyllis Ewing repeats a falsehood almost word-for-word and attempts to build a case around it, using as props brave and honorable people like President Dwight Eisenhower, Anne Frank, the Founding Fathers, and none other than Holocaust victims, to cloak what is in reality a bigoted screed against people of the Muslim faith.
I will not dignify the falsehood by repeating it, but it pertains to schools in the United Kingdom considering a ban on teaching students about the Holocaust because it might offend resident Muslims. Such a claim came from a 2007 email circulated among Christian extremists and anti-Muslim activists and afterward became a popular pass-along with white supremacists and the immigration-fearful. The email has routinely been proved false ever since, even by august news organizations like the BBC -- the British Broadcasting Company -- and the Holocaust remains required curriculum in all British schools, where age appropriate.
The Holocaust was a horrendous act of systematic, state-sponsored murder of a religiously and culturally distinct people. Of course it is vital to remember it in memorials, preserving and interpreting records, and teaching it to the young so that they might establish a society where it is unlikely to be repeated. Mrs. Ewing is a self-proclaimed history buff, so somewhere she must have asked herself, “Why do things like the Holocaust happen?”
Well, I have a hint for her/him: Lies, and people repeating them without question because a political force has asked you to do so. The Holocaust was tacitly approved when Germans, manipulated by the Nazi party, began to repeat lies about their Jewish neighbors: Jews were from an ‘alien race,’ cheated in economic matters, enslaved their workers and farmers, had a brutal and offensive religion, endangered the survival of the Aryan race with inter-marriage.
These things and more were printed and reprinted to mislead people into defining the Other, the enemy within -- the Jews -- as the culprit in German national economic stress. It was aided by preachers in pulpits and Nazi-aligned intellectuals, all who burnished the propaganda with their distorted reasoning under the guise of national urgency, making it more palatable and easier for ordinary Germans to turn their heads when atrocities began to happen in the streets.
After setting the stage, the gruesome, efficient murder-machine rattled fully to life, operated by willing citizens who killed millions of innocent Jewish men, women, children -- from tiny infants to budding teenagers -- among other victims, all of which Ms. Ewing detailed for us. However, she left out millions of others who were systematically murdered by the Nazis, too -- homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, opposition party members, political prisoners, undesirable ethnic groups, and prisoners of war—All in order to usher in the Third Reich, where Germany could be Great Again.
The case can be made that, by repeating such a falsehood about people of the Muslim faith, Ms. Ewing herself participates in the same type of propaganda campaign as the one that assigned power to the Nazis and ushered in the Holocaust.
At the end of the article, it conflates the tragedy and horrors of the Holocaust with the removal of historic statues of the Confederacy, an act that would have been considered righteous to even the defeated General Robert E. Lee: “I think it wiser,” the retired military leader wrote about a proposed Gettysburg memorial in 1869, “…not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.” The article’s forced analogy was not only ridiculous, but insulting to the people who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust.
If the writer of the article wishes to call herself/himself a history buff, I would suggest she/he consider that, unchecked and unstudied, history tends to repeat itself. She might rethink the ways in which she is part of the real problem of “forgetting our past.”