Monday, December 11, 2006

To Lose One's Humanity

Via the NYTs:
Holocaust deniers and skeptics from around the world gathered at a government-sponsored conference here today to discuss their theories about whether six million Jews were indeed killed by the Nazis during World War II and whether gas chambers existed.

In a speech opening the two-day conference, Rasoul Mousavi, head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies, which organized the event, said it was an opportunity for scholars to discuss the subject “away from Western taboos and the restriction imposed on them in Europe.”

The foreign ministry had said that 67 foreign researchers from 30 countries were scheduled to take part. Among those speaking today are David Duke, the American white-supremacist politician and former Ku Klux Klan leader, and Georges Thiel, a French writer who has been prosecuted in France over his denials of the Holocaust.

Mr. Duke’s remarks late this afternoon are expected to assert that no gas chambers or extermination camps were actually built during the war, on the ground that killing Jews that way would have been much too bothersome and expensive when the Nazis could have used much simpler methods, according to an advance summary of his speech published by the institute.
When conferences such as these are organized, I think it is important to remember what Noam Chomsky wrote about the Holocaust in American Power and the New Mandarins four decades ago:
By entering into the arena of argument and counterargument, of technical feasibility and tactics, of footnotes and citations, by accepting the presumption of legitimacy of debate on certain issues, one has already lost one's humanity

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