For as long as man has existed, history has continually been written and has become the ever-growing foundation for our civilization. The ink used to pen the annals of history can be blood, sweat or tears or a combination of any of the three. The important aspect of history is a simple one; it happened at some point in time and it will remain anchored on the timeline of humankind at that very same place until the end of days. So, why is it that people try desperately to re-write, adapt, alter or even completely erase events of the past?
In surveying the last 2,000 years of post-biblical history, it is not difficult to find events that beyond the shadow of a doubt, show the severe depravity of man. The many documented wars within and between countries are some obvious examples. Additionally, many other tragedies have been added to the list. Genocides and ethnic cleansings abound. A very short list would include the Native American Genocide (the 1500s- 20th Century), Armenia (1915), Cambodia (1975), Rwanda (1990), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995), not to mention the Holocaust (1930s-1940s). Then there is slavery in America and Isalm’s concept of “dhimmitude” when a non-Muslim is tolerated and protected when he/she pays a tax in a Muslim country as a “dhimmi.” Unfortunately, almost every example cited above had something to do with religious beliefs and differences in one way or another.
None of the few tragic events of history that I just listed are denied by either side. Native Americans were massacred by pioneers over a period of time. Obviously, not all pioneers were killers and not all natives were killed, but within reason, the numbers are in, and nobody denies the veracity of these events. Nobody denies the Armenian Genocide. Nobody denies the ethnic cleansing that took place in Bosnia. Are people upset? They have the right to be! Are people ashamed? They should be! But nobody in their right mind will try to change the narrative in order to appease either side. So, why is there another set of rules for the Holocaust?
Germans are ashamed of the Holocaust. They have paid billions in reparation and restitution and continue to pay. Jews have moved on to rebuild but can never forget. Why are people offended by the Holocaust? Even worse, those who are offended are often people that had no connection to the catastrophe. They have no Jewish relatives and many were not even born when the tragedy occurred. So, for instance, when people in the United Kingdom say that the Holocaust isn’t taught in school because it is offensive to some. Who do they mean? Some are afraid that the topic might trigger an anti-Semitic backlash in the classroom from Muslim students. Most European countries have laws against Holocaust denial with various levels of monetary fines and imprisonment. Tragically, the United Kingdom is not of them.
Occasionally, someone will come on the scene and work really hard at trying to make a case debunking the Holocaust, like in the trial between Debra Lipstadt (Holocaust Historian) and David Irving (Holocaust Denier.) For the most part, the Western world has not denied the Holocaust or any other genocide, but things are changing. I guess we could expect anti-Semites in America, being from the left, the right or political Islam, to try to rewrite history or water it down. We cannot stop them, and as long as it is properly taught in our schools, we should be fine. Well, I guess there is no guarantee of that either!
In early July, about one year after he made a statement about the Holocaust, a Florida school principal was let go. He had emailed a student’s mother stating:” I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.” Let’s get something straight here. We are not arguing about Jewish casualties being exactly 6,000,000, a little more or a little less. We are not arguing about the exact number of Death Camps. We are not even arguing about the exact involvement of perpetrators versus by-standers and if they are equally accountable. We are arguing the validity of the entire “Final Solution to the Jewish question” from 1938-45. The principal also said that “not everyone believes that the Holocaust happened.” What a shame that an educator responsible for a whole body of students would be such a coward. Eventually, he was let go, and while some headlines mentioned that he was fired, he simply was “reassigned” to another district position. If I didn’t know better, it would almost sound like a promotion! Someone who doubts that the Holocaust ever happened shouldn’t hold a position in our educational system, period!
Currently, anti-Semitism is lurking at almost every corner across the planet. BDS is working hard to demonize Israel. We now have several members of congress who are openly anti-Semitic. The last thing we need is for the Holocaust to be altered or taught as a possible myth in our school system. When do you stop when you start re-writing history?
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