Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Arson at the Holocaust History Project

This story, about an arson fire targeting the offices of the The Holocaust History Project (THHP), is a week old (06 March), but well worth repeating, especially since Orac at Respectful Insolence has requested the word be spread as much as possible by linking to the original press release and to the THHP site (which I've added to my list at right). Orac maintains there's no need to link back to him, but the fact is he has compiled updates, comments, and trackbacks to the story, so it's a good starting point for anyone who wants to follow the story. Fortunately, although the damage was extensive, the THHP archive and web-server are not located at the site where the fire was set.

I think it's interesting that this attack came on the heels of the recent (February 20) conviction and jailing of David Irving for violating Austrian laws against falsifying history. Anyone unfamiliar with the claims and practices of David Irving and other Holocaust deniers, whose roots go back to the very beginnings of World War II, might want to consult Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault On Truth and Memory, by Deborah E. Lipstadt (Penguin/Plume, 1994). Dr. Lipstadt, the distinguished (to put it mildly) Professor in the Department of Religion at Emory University, successfully defended herself in a libel suit brought against her and Penguin Books by Irving in 2000, a case she recounts in a later book, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (Harper/Ecco 2005). (Disclaimer: I've read the first book but not the second.) Note that she also maintains, with Hilary Ostrov, a blogsite (History on Trial) covering ongoing assaults on truth about the Holocaust and other genocidal campaigns, such as that against the Armenians that began in 1915. There's a lot of discussion there about Irving's most recent trial and conviction.

This a good place to mention another Holocaust studies/anti-denial resource, The Nizkor Project. They have extensive links to archives, discussions, and related sites.

Friday, March 10, 2006


In my last post I mentioned something about voices of reasoned dissent in Arab countries not often heard. In exploring that further I came across a voice I think everyone should hear. That is Mona Eltahawy a journalist and commentator widely heard and read in US, international, and Arabic-language media. I regret I'm so unaware that I didn't know about her sooner. Reading her past and current commentaries on issues in Arab/Muslim world politics, culture, and relations with the West and each other, justice, terrorism, religious zealotry, the Danish cartoons, and other matters, was like getting a breath of fresh air. She is intelligent, thoughtful, articulate, and provocative; and it struck me in particular how she demonstrated that one can be provocative, not necessarily by taking up an extreme position, but by merely exhibiting a sense of balance and empathy. Of course I realize that's just my point of view, but if you need this kind of intelligent commentary like you need food, water, and air, I suggest you check her out (link at right, a quote from her opinion column in last month's IHT).

"I am a Muslim who fully supports Jyllands-Posten's right to publish the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, as I defend the rights of Muslims to be offended. But I find the daily human rights violations by our dictators to be more offensive to the memory of the prophet's life than a few cartoons ever could be." --Mona Eltahawy (Don't Yield to Extremists, International Herald Tribune, 09 February 2006)