Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Earth to Ahmadinejad

Earth to Iranian president Ahmadinejad: the Holocaust happened, and nobody asked you!

For someone so close to being annihilated by the penultimate military behemoth of the planet, the president of Iran has a big pair of cajones to hold a conference to explore whether or not the Holocaust was an actual historical event, or a figment of the planet's collective imagination. Frankly, to dignify the content, or lack thereof, of a discussion of this nature is to sink to the level of those who engage in this kind of rhetoric.

As Reuters reported, his remarks "received warm applause" from those delegates that ranged from "ultra-Orthodox anti-Israel Jews" to writers who argue that the Holocaust either never happened, or has been greatly exaggerated. He claims entitlement to air his controversial views on the Holocaust, based on "free speech." Curious, isn't it, how Ahmadinejad plays the free speech cards when human rights groups, around the world, often list Iran as among those nations most hostile to the expression of dissenting views.

Too bad, just when it seemed like Iran was getting a raw deal from America, and the international community, and was about to become another victim, just when I was starting to believe that his uranium enrichment program was just that---uranium enrichment, and his views on stem cell research were so progressive, he'd have to go and do something dumb like describe the killing of 6 million Jews as a "myth." (Reuters)

Well, I'd like for Mr. A to meet my Uncle Joe, a man who never raised his voice, but who raised a gun, and shot a guard to escape from a camp in Austria, the same camp that claimed the lives of his entire family. I remember, at the age of 7, climbing on my uncle's knee, and looking at a row of numbers permanently etched into his left arm. Having been infected, from birth, with a rapacious hunger to know, I asked Uncle Joe, "what are those numbers, and how did you get them?" In a voice so quiet it was unnerving, he proceeded to tell me, bit by bit, the story of his loss, thanks to the Nazis, and what he had to do to survive. I defy the Iranian president, or anyone else, to call this sweet man, who was the epitome of integrity, a liar.

Anyone who agrees with Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust never happened must also believe him when he calls Iran the "home of all freedom seekers of the world (where) you can express your views and exchange opinions in a friendly, brotherly and free atmosphere." What's more, anyone who confuses the state of Israel with a specific ideology, such as Zionism, deserves a one-way ticket on the next flight to Tehran.