Sunday 26 August 2007

Apology of evil, by Pilar Rahola

“I want to shatter the core of the lie”, stated the elated Robert Faurisson, cheered loudly with passionate applause. The well-known French negationist Faurisson had just been sentenced in his country for having denied the Nazi extermination against Jews. Yet, this did not prevent him from enjoying a pleasant holiday in the Iranian paradise, and from participating as a speaker in the congress on the Holocaust organised by Iranian fascists. In the corridors of the congress, David Duke, ex leader of the Ku Klux Klan, expressed his satisfaction to the few European journalists that covered the event, and took advantage to talk about the western “shame”, that represses freedom of speech… Of course, Iran was, for the well-known American racist, a model of freedom.

... It means that the Iranian Congress on the Holocaust was a great show of hate and disdain for the Jewish victims of the Shoah, funded by a member state of the UN, whose influence in Islam, in the Middle East and the world, is more than notorious. Obviously, once again President Ahmadinejad threatened Israel, called for its disappearance and encouraged all Muslims to take part in its demise. In conclusion: an apology for hate, a war threat on another country, a public show of Anti-Semitism, without complexes an Anti-Semite orgy, and lastly, the notorious inaction and indifference of the world, perfectly demonstrated in the perverse silence of the Organization of the United Nations. If the Iranian Congress served any purpose, unfortunately it was to confirm what we already knew. It proved that the apology for Nazi negationism can be made without suffering any consequences.

I have dozens of friends who have been victims of the terrible disaster of the Holocaust; I remember my Colombian friend, whose grand-mother had completely lost her mother tongue, Polish, when she, at 13, was rescued from Auschwitz, having lost her whole family. I remember the trembling look of a Chilean survivor telling me, in tears, that a European had never apologized. I remember a sad man that I met in Santiago whose father, working as a musician, was forced to play the violin as his family was executed. There were more than 1 million children, two thirds of the European Jewish population disappeared; dozens of villages with their centuries of Jewish life, poets, school teachers, peasants, traders, doctors, children and grand-parents, men and women, all were wiped off the map. Smoke, only smoke, and some do not even want them to be remembered. Smoke and oblivion.

For such pain, for such evil, for such a tragedy that is such burden to carry, with centuries of guilt in Europe, I feel a profound sadness, I feel profoundly lost and profoundly defeated.

It is true. Duke the racist has reasons to feel exultant, feeding the hate for Jews and laughing at the extermination of six million people, it does not cost anything. Who cares? Which country has expelled the Iranian ambassador from its territory? Who has demanded an explanation at the United Nations General Assembly? Who is going to send to prison those who participated in this apology for evil? Who is moved by this horror?

Having written a number of times that Jews stand alone in their misfortune and that Israel faces survival alone, this occasion gives me the most evidence to be sure of the fact. I wonder whether the world would have allowed an official congress, public and legal, in favour of racism. Would there not have been all kinds of protest and acts of solidarity? Wouldn’t they have envisaged an economic boycott, military intervention? Wouldn’t the route of diplomacy have been exhausted first? Wouldn’t left-wing organisations have taken to the streets, indignant about the apology of evil that racism represents? Wouldn’t SOS Racism have been outraged? Wouldn’t those like the writer Saramago have expressed their profound rage? Yet, when racism is perpetrated against Jews, the victims of the greatest extermination of all times, the world considers that this is not its problem, as it has never been.

Impunity gives rise to hate, raging and reinforced, and, with hate reinforced, all the doors of evil are opened.

As an old saying puts it: “When your enemy assures that he wants to kill you, believe him”. What should the Israelis think confronted with the reiterated threats of destruction by Iran, a country that will have nuclear weapons without being punished? What can the Jews think around the world? They think that they stand alone. That they always stood alone in the face of the anti-Semitic hate.
December 14, 2006
Translated by Margarita Estapé.
Pilar Rahola comes from a republican and anti-fascist family. She is a Catalan writer, journalist and former parliamentarian of the republican left.

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