Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Publish Day - the Prince & the Holocaust

My latest column was published in today's London Free Press. It's entitled Harry, could you please grow up? and it deals with a topic that's somewhat near and dear to my heart: the Holocaust and the tendency of some folks - either through ignorance, maliciousness, or both - to not learn from it.

I realize I've made Prince Harry out to be something of a whipping boy, but if that's what it takes to wake up the collective soul, then so be it.

Tomorrow marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. While doing the research for this column, I became saddened by how laissez-faire the world has become regarding how we treat the symbols related to this dark historical blot. That a prince would be so stupid was, to me, the epitome of our planet's inability to appreciate and learn from history. To a certain extent, his behavior mimics that of some elements of society.

In short, he deserved a journalistic smack upside the head.

A couple of interesting things to note:
  • The Tehran Times published a typically usual anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying piece of tripe. If you're in the mood to be sickened, click here. In the great Iranian tradition of a free press that maintains open dialog with readership, the feedback link on the site returns a canned error message. But their advertising links still work.
  • The Canadian Press is running this piece on the anniversary. As you can imagine, it's based on a somewhat more rational reality than the earlier example. Bear in mind we'd all be living under oppression - or not at all - if the zealots had won the war.
  • This piece from Germany's Deutsche Welle speaks frankly about the challenge of educating future generations after the last survivors have passed away.
Big questions. No easy answers. But to simply let the dust of history cover it up would be a crime. We owe those who perished, and those left behind, somewhat more.


Jennie said...

Great post and GREAT article. What Prince Harry did was stupid and completely insensitive, but I'm almost more disgusted with the people who DON'T think what he did was a big deal.

Jef said...

I appreciate your post and I was surprised at what it stirred up inside of me considering that I'm not Jewish. Therefore, I don't see how I can possibly understand the depth of your feeling about this subject.

I have often wondered if contemporary society is just becoming numb to any type of tragedy. September 11th, the Rawanda genocide, JFK's assassination, MLK's assassination, the Holocaust, etc. have lost some of their power in time in some people's minds. Will it be even more so when you're children are older.

I think Prince Harry is like many teenage boys--self-involved, angry and ignorant. I'm not making excuses, but knowing the psychological mind of boys that age, they just don't think. It's not an excuse for his choice, but I always try to understand why people do what they do.

You raise an important question--how do we effectively remember the Holocaust after the last survivor dies? There have been many good movies that portrayed what happened. However, I found myself somewhat desensitized while watching "The Piano." I have seen many movies about the Holocaust and I find that it has almost become a cliche. This is a movie about WWII and this is what the Nazis did to the Jews. I understand the atrocities logically, but I don't react emotionally to the situation the way I used to and that worries me. I don't want it to be a cliche like cowboys and Indians. How do we keep from forgetting what happened? I don't know, but we need to remember the Holocause... I'm just not sure how we do that. Perhaps this is just a reflection of what is inside me and not indicative of the rest of the world. I hope this makes sense and does not offend.

DeAnn said...

I cannot believe that kind of stuff happens. Harry deserves to be the whipping boy of your column, which is quite marvelous, I might add.