TRUTH
By Joshua Somach
Jericho, NY


 

"I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it"

Der Spiegel, 05/30/2006

“The Holocaust should be left open to debate and research like any other historical event”

Columbia University 09/25/07

 

Both were said by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Prime Minister of Iran
It is the most powerful and yet the most fragile thing on this earth – The Truth. A truth is a truth only if people, like you and I, are willing to stand up and accept it. A truth can be turned into a lie when no one is willing to stand up for it. If you are evil enough and if you have no regard for human life or regard for human suffering then a lie can become the truth. What is worse is that you can convince others that a lie is the truth. You can destroy everything you can re-write history – all because you can convince others that a lie is the truth.

So you have to ask yourself – When Prime Minister Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust is that the “Truth” or is it a “Lie”. And if it is a “lie” , then why do people believe it as the truth? Why doesn’t every man, woman and child who hears the statement demand he say the truth. What is Prime Minister’s Ahmadinejad’s motive in perpetuating the lie? Why is telling this story so appealing to some that they would forsake the truth?
Do you think Prime Minister Ahmadinejad is a mad-man? – He is not. He is using the denial of the Holocaust as a weapon – A weapon of Anti-Semitism – A weapon of prejudice. What Hitler failed to do in Europe, Ahmadinejad wants to succeed in. He wants the extermination of the Jewish Race. Not through arms or wars – but through words. Lies that are masked as truths. Lies that cast doubts. Lies that live longer than the fragile truth. Perhaps 50 years from today in Tehran or a young student will pick up a book and instead of hearing about the atrocities of war, he or she will read nothing. They will be told the lies of holocaust and they will never know the truth.

The unmarked graves all over Europe –Those are empty lies. - The camps named Bergen-Belsen and Treblinka in which the echoes of tortured souls still haunt the countryside – Those sounds are a lie. My Zadie told me the story of how for two weeks he sucked on a stone and scavenged the earth for food before he spent two years in Auschwitz – that was a lie. The number tattooed on people’s arms – lies. In some unmarked pit in the Polish countryside, my family lies buried. Lies,. My Bubbe and Zadie did not exist for surely their survival was a lie as well. The horrors they saw – lies told to perpetuate a myth.

They were not lies. I am here today as proof. Proof , that they were over-run in Lodz, Poland – a ghetto abandoned by the world’s nations, and tortured in Auschwitz my Zadie and Bubbe lived so that I would retell the truth. I am the proof. I am a living truth, that a lie is not stronger than the truth.

They were not lies but if you do not remember the past – If you are not an activist for the truth – Ahmadinejad will turn them into lies. He will turn them into political propaganda to support his Nazistic Dream of completing the “Final Solution”.

The Holocaust did not start with Adolf Hitler, and it did not end in 1945. The killing by the Nazis stopped in 1945 but the hatred still remains. The idea that if you do not like what they wear, what language they speak, or what they believe in - that you have the right and the nationalistic duty to eliminate races from the face of the earth. That is what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is doing in Iran.

Prejudice does not start when you are born – It is taught to you. It is taught to you when you are not allowed to know the truth of what happens.

As the Zaghawa and Massaleit are fleeing from the Janjaweed in Darfur, as the Hutu and Tutsi people were killing themselves in Rwanda – Somewhere in their history – the Zaghawa and the Tutsi were defined as inferior. Somewhere in Bosnia a teacher in a school or a businessman in a bar was told a lie. He was not told the truth about his fellow man. He was lied to and told he shouldn’t like the Muslims, because they were not like the Christians in his town. Genocide does not begin with a gun or a rifle – It begins with a thought, a lie of hatred that is not silenced by just and righteous people speaking the truth. The elimination of a race does not begin in Parliament or the Reichstag; it begins at the corner market where hatred is allowed to spread among everyday citizenry and the truth of our common ancestry is hidden.

How can we stop the hatred? We can stop the hatred when we respect the rights of all people – even our enemies. We defend their right to exist – even when it comes at a personal cost to us – we defend their right to be seen – to be different, to be opposed to everything you believe in. We tell the truth and we let others tell the truth. We treat all people with the same respect and we are willing to support them even when their support costs us something.

We act on those beliefs – We become outspoken and active on the rights of others. Change occurs not at the front of a gun but on the pages of a newspaper and the blogs on the internet. We encourage truth and honesty. We promote organizations that promote truth and we question and object to those actions which use violence as a remedy to a problem and compound that problem by lying.

In an unmarked grave somewhere in Poland – lies my Great Uncle who knows nothing about me. Killed because he wore a small piece of cloth on his head and because he was a symbol of how you can demean and dehumanize a person by identifying them as a race and ideology different from your own – a lie. He died because of a lie. Make my great Uncle Hershel the most powerful man in humanity – remember him – remember that he died in vain for a cause that failed. Remember that although the Nazis took his life – the idea that killing a man, killing millions of men – does not remove them from the face of the earth. The truth of their lives will remain. In the end these horrific acts fail and those that bring about these acts are sent to dungeons of history forever. Remember that those who hate and those who try to hide the truth fail – because there are always people who will speak out and bring the truth to light.

Remember the Holocaust, remember the lessons if human suffering and remember that you are responsible to ensure that it never ever happens again – Stand Up and Speak the Truth.

 

Reference List


AFP (2005) Iran’s Ahmadinejad says Israel should be moved to Europe, retrieved February 10 2007

Chan, S. (2007) Iranian Leader, Calling Introductory Remarks Insulting, Addresses Columbia http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/24/protests-at-columbia-over-iran-leaders-speech/index.html?hp&scp=1-b&sq=%22Ahmadinejad%22%2B%22Columbia+University%22&st=nyt Retrieved January 20 2008

Cheadle, D. and Prendergast, J. (2007) Not On Our Watch:The Mission to End Genocide in Darfiur and Beyond, New York, Hyperion

Dershowitz, A (2006) Jews for Ahmadinejad – jpost.com, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1164881965352&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull retrieved January 28 2008

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2008), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad retrieved January 28 2008

MacAskill, E., Tisdall, S. and Tait, R (2006) Iran's Jews learn to live with Ahmadinejad,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jun/27/iran.ewenmacaskill, retrieved January 28 2008
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