Saturday, April 23, 2011

Is this a Human Rights Museum or a Holocaust memorial?

A nice bit of holocaust denial appeared in the form of an "advertisement" on page A5 of the National Post in their Apr.23, 2011 issue. Apparently, Izzy Asper's vision for a Human Rights Museum for Winnipeg has devolved into a holocaust-focused museum - which is fine, as long as we understand which "holocaust" is being focused upon here.
It appears to me that the holocaust deniers who signed this "ad" want to portray this holocaust as a Jewish-only horror - in other words,  no other WWII victims can be included in that definition for their narrative to work.
If so, then this version should be trademarked as a capital-H "Holocaust TM ", so people can differentiate that they are talking only and specifically of Jews - to the exclusion of all others - who died from nazi atrocities. Karen Silverstrim clearly emphasized this very sensitive and extremely nuanced point in her detailed article "Overlooked millions: Non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust".
Millions of non-combatant Jews were part of the holocaust, as were millions of other non-combatant victims (labelled by the nazis as 'subhumans'); eliminated under a pre-planned, politically-motivated, state-run agenda. Manipulating the narrative to exclude non-Jewish victims of nazi atrocities is a frankly distasteful denial of this holocaust.
Unfortunately for those today trying to peddle a type of  'exclusionary' capital H trademarked view, Jews WERE NOT the only ones to be targeted, gassed and burned in Hitler's ovens: the real holocaust was not exclusively Jewish - it was a shared monstrous fate. Acknowledging this fact should in no way demean nor undermine the extent of Jewish suffering.
Anyone who understands this context will then see the disingenuousness of this National Post "ad", which purports that the Ukrainian community is illegitimately agitating against Jews, by inflating the number of people killed in Stalin's earlier Holodomor genocide to artificially supersede that of the Jewish-only victims, part of  Hitler's holocaust several years later.
The hypocrisy of this "ad" is that this demeaning accusation is made against the Ukrainian community [specifically vis a vis the Holdomor: feh: 'only three million' died...(and weren't any of those victims also Jewish Ukrainians?)] while in the very next moment, this "ad" then talks of how many more Jews perished in the holocaust - thereby justifying their top place in the pantheon of victimhood - and deserving a permanent HRM exhibit!
This duplicitous "ad" is exactly what it pretends not be be: this "ad" is all about establishing and maintaining the hierarchy of suffering; about placing Jewish suffering above all others, as if WWII  had had no other victims, at least, none worthy of elevated 'permanent status'... I dunno: how many more Ukrainians should have died for Kaganovich, Stalin, Hitler and the holocaust-denying holocaust-deniers to be happy? How many more Ukrainians should have been murdered by marauding Polish paramilitary while under nazi occupation? Too bad for the victims of the holodomor that Stalin's murderous commies weren't as meticulous record-keepers as Hitler's murderous fascists...
This "museum" should instead be appropriately renamed as a center of Holocaust Remembrance, funded privately, and allowed to pursue its selected (and selective) narrative agenda.
As the UCCLA notes, it is unfair and unacceptable that HRM exhibits with privileged partiality be funded from the public purse.
The HRM's 12 proposed galleries "should all be inclusive, comparative and thematic in their treatment of the many episodes of genocide and crimes against humanity that have befouled human history - before, during and since the Second World War."

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