Monday, August 14, 2006

Learning About the Holocaust in Iran

Today the Holocaust cartoon exhibit opened in Tehran, Iran. I still haven't figured out how this is an acceptable response to the Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad nearly a year ago. Apparently 50 people attended the exhibit today, and one 23-year-old woman remarked: "I came to learn more about the roots of the Holocaust and the basis of Israel's emergence."

I nearly choked on a piece of candy I was eating when I read that. Since when can one learn anything truthful about Israel, Jews, or the Holocaust in an Islamic country, particularly one whose president has essentially called the Holocaust a fiction? It would be like going to the Duke Lacrosse team for lesson on diversity and how to treat women.


nedric said...

Ugh… Is this for real? It's nauseating.

Hamshahri said it wanted to test the West's tolerance... To call this 'childish' is an insult to children. I wonder if we will see a difference in 'the West's' reaction to the cartoons. There’s already one glaring difference: some of the contributions came from 'the West' in the first place.

Monica said...

Yes, that was one of the most discouraging things -- the fact that some of the "art" came from the US and other western countries.

Casey said...

This seems like further evidence in favor of the idea of "objective history." Au revoir, Foucault; the Holocaust happened.

Maybe that's a little hyperbolic; what I mean to ask is, "Who gets to write history?" One answer to that question is, "Not Iranians, at least not when it comes to writing the history of Germany between the World Wars."

I'm assuming you watched the Mike Wallace interview with Ahmadinejad... is it just me or did Wallace spend a little too much time laughing with Iran's joke of a leader? Quote from Wallace: "He's an impressive fellow, this guy. He really is. He's obviously smart as hell."

Uh... I guess when you're 88 your judgment goes a little haywire?

Anonymous said...

about 9 years ago now I worked with an Iranian fellow (he was a design engineer who had a Phd in physics), smart guy, real nice guy to work with. One day, and keep in mind again this is 9 years ago, he was talking about how you infiltrate/fight/defeat a much more powerfull enemy. He goes to talk about the task of sending people to the given country, have them live there, go to school, overall blend into the country - and I poop you not he even mentioned the word "cells" (9 years ago). He was speaking about all this so off hand. At the same time, and this is honest to god true, on another occasion he was telling us how easy it would be to back yard - to the extent that he took out a piece of paper, said you'd need this, that, the other, so on and so forth. 9 years ago, this was Masude being Masude, he was a nice guy - today, I wonder where he is... I wouldn't go so far as to suggest this guy was in the loop of anything, but the fact that this highly educated Iranian fellow was talking about this kind of thing so willy nilly suggested to me after the fact that perhaps all this was more common knowlege in certain circles then one would have thought.
Again, no fabication here this is a real guy and a real story, his name was Masude Amari, got his Phd from the University of Minnesota, moved here in the 70's during the whole conflict in Iran. It was 1997 he was telling us this (another co-worker and myself). I got all sorts of stories he told us about what they believe of the jews over there. It's insane reflecting on it after all that's happened.

Casey said...

Sorry for double-commenting, but that anonymous one might help me make a point that I'm always trying to make.

The term "cells" didn't originate with Islamic terrorists. I did a big long study on Dostoevsky's BEST novel (I swear), Demons, which was based on the real life revolutionary anarchist Sergei Nechaev and his cells of terror bombers. See also, Camus' play, "The Just Assassins."

So on the one hand, I understand what people mean when they tell me that this is absolutely a special case--that Israel's story is not transcendent. But that seems to be the view of things that follows a narrowly (but deeply) informed perspective. The worldly (if shallow) perspective suggests that history is fairly cyclical; progress, an illusion. How, after all, do we measure "progress?" The 20th century was undoubtedly the most progressive century ever if death-tallies are our standard.

But talk to me when I'm feeling optimistic--I might recant. And again, sorry for getting tangential... it might make for good Chumley's talk one night though.

Terror-Free Oil said...

Iranian Cartoon Exhibition Mocking the Holocaust Sparks Global Riots
Mobs of mad Jews burn Iranian embassies around the world
Hundreds of Jews are trampled to death during the riots
Mossad dispatches squads of suicide bombers to Mecca and Medinah
Israeli PM: "No Muslim is safe from our wrath!" - video

Monica said...

Casey, I missed the Mike Wallace interview, but I did read about it, and I have to say that I am more than a little creeped out by Mr. Wallace's seeming infatuation with the Iranian anti-Semite.

And, thanks for the story, "anonymous." What Casey said about cells not originating with Islamic terrorism is interesting too, though not surprising. I'm going to have to read Dostoevsky's DEMONS, by the way. I do agree with the point that history is fairly cyclical, though, and that is what is so terrifying to witness (or learn about) events such as the Holocaust and 9/11 -- it's the fear that a whole new cycle of horrific events has been unleashed on the world.

You're no more pessimistic than I am, Casey. I'm right there with ya.

Steve said...

Hey Monica,

Here's the Wallace interview with the head hater in Iran:

Its loooong. Remember, they're used to long speeches. Their media ain't familiar with the 7 sec soundbyte. If the big guy wants to ramble on, good luck objecting.

Wallace complies.

Monica said...

Thanks, Steve!

Luke said...

History doesn't have to be cyclical, and it is certainly not a Jewish idea that it is.

BTW, maybe not a good idea to use the example of the Duke soccer players. Google the topic and you will see that there is growing evidence that the accuser may have made up the whole story out of whole cloth to avoid arrest for public intoxication, which, if true, is a terrible injustice to the accused. As I am sure you would agree.

Monica said...

Yes, Luke, you're right -- history doesn't have to be cyclical; it just tends to be.

And I think we would all agree that this is in no way a particularly Jewish idea.