A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Unlikely Scenarios of Rewritten History

The privilege to write history is probably one of the greatest spoils to arise out of any conflict. It is a privilege reserved for the victor of the conflict. If the victor lives long enough, they can even re-write the history to suit their own motives. You may have noticed that I did this myself last week in my (totally fictitious) tale about the Lincoln Bible. I did it for fun. Others, and here I’ll refer to members of the Bush administration, will probably realize a lucrative living for the rest of their lives as they justify everything they did when they were in power.

Then there are some who rewrite history to further their world view. One such group, who deny the Holocaust ever happened, runs afoul of common decency and international law. This trend has blossomed in recent years into a cottage industry that flourishes despite threats of prosecution. Now, even the Vatican has gotten itself tangled up, perhaps unwittingly, in the racism of denying the Holocaust.

The Pope recently rescinded the excommunication status of four bishops in an effort to heal a rift within the church. Unfortunately, one bishop, Richard Williamson, recently said in an interview that historical evidence is “hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed” in Nazi Germany. In its efforts to heal a rift, the Vatican opened another wound with the international Jewish community.

Perhaps we should isolate the operative word “deliberately”, and try to understand his point of view. Let’s set some parameters to explore his scenario. First, we won’t accept Hitler’s theory that his followers were members of a super-healthy, super-intelligent master race. On the other hand, we shouldn’t dismiss the average Nazi soldier stationed at Buchenwald or Auschwitz as the bumbling stereotype on “Hogan’s Heroes.”

Let’s say that two such soldiers — we’ll call them Hans and Fritz — escort hundreds of people into a chamber on a daily basis, close the door, and oops, an hour later Fritz realizes he forgot to turn off the gas main leading into the room. Silly Nazi! This happens, accidently of course, everyday for weeks, months, and years, until the Allies free the camps in 1945.

Does Williamson actually expect us to believe that European Jewry was almost wiped out by accident? Yeah, right! I’m sure the judges at Nuremberg bought this explanation hook, line and sinker. NOT!

The Vatican has attempted some damage control by denouncing Williamson’s remarks as against Catholic teaching. They’ve stated that just because they are allowing him back into the Church, it doesn’t mean they agree with everything he says. On the other hand, it could give his arguments greater prominence and credence within the Church.

This could create a very awkward situation, especially when the Pope sits down at the Vatican dinner table with all of his bishops. Imagine this scene: the Holy Father blesses the meal, and conversations among the other bishops are going well, when Williamson decides to say something stupid like, “You know, Hitler was right...” What do they do then? Stick their fingers in their ears and loudly chant, “La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la”?

Yeah, right! The Nuremberg judges are buying this explanation, too! NOT!

In Germany, Williamson could be prosecuted for his remarks, which probably explains why he is living in Argentina. (The fact that Argentina was a refuge for many Nazi figures after the war is probably a huge coincidence.) In their zeal to prevent another Holocaust, Germany unfortunately sacrifices the concept of free speech. I can understand their dilemma; after all, we deal with the double-edged standard of free speech in America. Yes, we all have the right to say what we want (as long as we don’t incite a stampede), but then the trade-off is we have to listen to the other guy’s opinions, no matter how vile or ugly they may be.

It may take more than just this denouncement of Williamson’s beliefs for the Pope to live this faux pas down. The Pope should remember that actions speak louder than words. He may be sincere when he says that anti-Semitism is not part of Catholic teaching, yet his recent actions can’t help but scream “Sieg Heil”.


Post a Comment

<< Home