Sometimes I think the world’s living in denial.
I know that’s always been the case, but nowadays it seems to be a badge of honour among some groups. It helps their self-image – they’re not dumb enough to be taken in by the ‘official’ narrative, and that’s why they’re so comfortable in using phrases like ‘sheeple’ to describe, well, anyone who disagrees with them. And so people deny that Bin Laden was behind 9/11, that climate change is happening, that Obama was born in the US.
Now, some of this is the inevitable result of mainstream authority being eroded by many of its practitioners – why should we trust the media, or politicians, or the military-industrial complex, given their past abuses? And so asking questions is good… But not when it’s fuelled by prejudice.
Which brings me to the point. I’ve just had a scan through WordPress’s list of search terms that have brought people to my blog over the last week. And one if them was “The Holocaust couldn’t have happened”.
Now, most of you will be glad to hear that this isn’t a view that I hold, hence the title of this post. I guess I’m just freaked out that a search for holocaust denial brought someone here.
Who knows, maybe it’s because humans can’t process the idea of millions of people being killed on an industrial scale – we make it abstract, or we don’t think about it, or we deny it could happen. I’d be happy to go along with this theory, but often the denial seems to be accompanied by some pretty overt racism, which makes the whole thing feel more pre-meditated.
Because let’s face it, there wouldn’t be half as much Holocaust denial if the majority of victims hadn’t been Jewish. Yes, there’s denial of genocidal acts elsewhere – the former Yugoslavia, for instance, or Rwanda, or the Circassians, or… – but antisemitism seems more widespread, a prejudice that seems to have inserted itself in the shadowy corners of culture.
Because, the theory goes, if the Holocaust didn’t happen, someone has to be faking all those pictures and news reports and eye-witness accounts. And suddenly we’re into the old conspiracy theory of the Jews controlling everything from behind the scenes, the ultimate Other.
(I was in Egypt a couple of years ago, during which time a shark was attacking tourists at a resort. One theory I overheard being discussed was that the shark had been deliberately released by Israel. It may even have been remote controlled.)
But all this is in the realms of distant politics and strange corners of the internet where even ‘true’ stories of aliens have them doing similar things to grotesque medieval Jewish stereotypes. You don’t expect this sort of thing to bring someone stumbling into your own blog, even by mistake.
So I want to reiterate: the Holocaust happened, deal with it. It’s a cliche that in forgetting – or denying – we make it more likely that history will repeat itself. Heck, even Hitler knew that – when talking about wiping out inconvenient populations, he asked the rhetorical question “Who remembers the Armenians”, referring to another frequently denied genocide. Horrifically, he had a point.
I hope and pray that there won’t be other attempted genocides, but of course there are. There will also be those willing to pretend they never happened. And in some ways that’s the scariest part.