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Worldwide Ace » Questioning

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Questioning

27 January, 2006 (05:44) | Politics

When did asking questions become a sign of being evil?

In the fall of 2004, a “holocaust denier” came to CU to speak. I attended the lecture to hear what he had to say. I was unsure how anyone could claim the holocaust didn’t happen. To me, that’s what a holocaust denier is; someone who claims the holocaust is a myth. The speaker instead spoke about numbers. He spoke about how 6 million had become a banner number and how evidence doesn’t necessarily back that up. He claimed the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz and Dachau had changed in the past twenty years and that 6 million was only an estimate. He stated that the holocaust happened, that it was a tremendous tragedy, and that many Jews, gypsies, catholics, and others were executed.

To me, this is not denial, but a questioning of fact and a request for absolute truth.

The Anti-Defamation league defines a holocaust denier as anyone who questions the facts disseminated in relation to the holocaust. This means if someone claims that it wasn’t 6 million Jews, but instead 5,999,999 Jews, they are a denier. If they claim it was 8 million Jews, they are a denier. Of course, the ADL doesn’t quite follow its own definition to a T. Interestingly, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia lists the number currently as between 5.1 and 6 million.

Unfortunately, every article about that speech was negative, decrying the speaker as a bastard, lying, cheat, white supremacist, and all around bad guy. It all may be true, but it bothers me that no one took the time to listen to what he had to say. His talk wasn’t actually about the holocaust or the number of Jews. It wasn’t about his revisionist history or about what really happened in World War II according to him or his white supremacist fans. Instead, it was actually about honesty, truth, and questioning what we’re fed as fact and what might have happened. It was about understanding that life is subjective and we can never know. Therefore, our thirst and quest for the truth should never cease.

That is something I can agree to, even if I find his words callous and disturbing, his ideas weak and prejudiced. It is in our best interest to constantly be seeking a better understanding and knowledge of the truth. Judaism, much like the Jesuit Catholicism, encourages questioning in all things. If you are not constantly questioning the existence of God and yourself, you will constantly forget. If you are not constantly reevaluating the universe, your faith is nothing but repetition. This, in many ways, is the same message.

As a Jew, I’m already alienated for disliking the religious nature of Israel and the designs of the state. I’m vilified for calling myself a Jew, yet refusing to bow to a god I don’t believe in. I don’t even want to think of what Yiddish curses would be thrown my way for wanting to know exactly how many Jews died in the holocaust. “What does it matter? It was lots!” It’s true. It was lots. And the difference between 5, 800,000 and 6 million is negligible in the grand scheme of things. But with the way 6 million has become a rallying cry much in the same way Republicans have relied on 9/11, terrorist and national security for the last 5 years, I’d rather know the truth, understand it’s meaning, and not let it be coopted as a political banner.

Today, Kofi Annan called holocaust deniers bigots. He’s right. They are. But which holocaust deniers are we talking about? The ones that hate or the ones that question?

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  • you know, i never really thought about it that way. it’s weird how extreme the reaction is when someone is just asking a question about the facts. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • you know, i never really thought about it that way. it’s weird how extreme the reaction is when someone is just asking a question about the facts. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • I attended that lecture too. It was funny how all the white supremacists up front were either young and dressed snazzy or white trash. The Jewish girl in front of me let him get to her too much though.

  • I attended that lecture too. It was funny how all the white supremacists up front were either young and dressed snazzy or white trash. The Jewish girl in front of me let him get to her too much though.

  • It’s odd. I did an interview with the student who brought him in and his heart was in the right place. I still think the controversy backfired, but overall, I don’t think he was nearly as offensive as billed. And if anything, the protestors made asses out of themselves by making a bigger deal out of it than they should’ve.

  • It’s odd. I did an interview with the student who brought him in and his heart was in the right place. I still think the controversy backfired, but overall, I don’t think he was nearly as offensive as billed. And if anything, the protestors made asses out of themselves by making a bigger deal out of it than they should’ve.

  • Definitely. I wouldn’t have known about or attended the lecture had the protestors not given him so much free publicity.

  • Definitely. I wouldn’t have known about or attended the lecture had the protestors not given him so much free publicity.