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(DV) Petersen: Remembering with Shame and Horror







Remembering with Shame and Horror
by Kim Petersen
January 30, 2006

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January 27 was marked by a special session of the United Nations General Assembly: the first observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  


Kofi Annan spoke via satellite transmission to the UN General Assembly. The UN secretary general’s prioritizing of which events to attend conveyed a strange symbolism. Annan ostensibly chose to hobnob with the economic “elites” in Davos, Switzerland rather than attend the special commemorative session in the General Assembly.  


Nevertheless, Annan was in feisty form to mouth, via satellite transmission, the banalities of the interests he so grandiloquently serves. 


Annan correctly cautioned, “The fate of the victims of the Holocaust should be a warning for all of us that we live in a world where you have modernism mixed with barbarism and we should be vigilant in trying to ensure that what happened is never repeated.”  


Annan decried the “bigots” who deny the “unique experience of the Holocaust.”  


To label a holocaust as a “unique experience” is odd. What exactly does Annan find so unique about this experience? In its coverage of the International Day of Commemoration, Reuters quoted the researcher Yehuda Bauer: “The Jews were the specific victims of the Holocaust.” Supposedly, the other victims of WWII were nonspecific. The corporate media is engaged in generating a false exclusivity of victimhood for one group. That one group would seek exclusivity to a tragedy shames it and disrespects the victims of other groups who are known: among them communists, Romani, homosexuals, etc.


Annan explicated, “Remembering the tragedy of six million Jews and millions of minorities killed during World War II in Nazi Germany would be a safeguard for the future.” These are loosely constructed words for unskeptical public consumption, but the words are the transparently inane mutterings of a well compensated stooge for the New World Order. First, it is noted that the tragedy is ranked as one for the six million Jews and unspecified millions and unspecified others. One group has been accorded a privileged victimhood above other victims. One would imagine that this one group had suffered in far greater numbers than other groups. However, it is a fact that numerically Soviets were killed in far greater numbers than any other group. But is a genocide only about numbers? Of course not. Second, there are numerically far greater genocides perpetrated in the dark history of mankind than the World War II genocide and these are not accorded special UN recognition.


Neglected Genocides 


On the absurdly named island of Newfoundland, existed a society of Original Peoples known as the Beothuk. They had lived on the island for a couple of millennia until the Europeans came to the rich fishing grounds off its shores. A genocide of thousands occurred. Numerically, it is not enormous, but it represented the complete obliteration of the Beothuk.  


The genocide that was wreaked on the Original Peoples of the western hemisphere numbers up to 100 million. [1] But the corporate media of Turtle Island seldom mentions the number and the genocide. Moreover, there are no well known museums dedicated to the genocide of the Original Peoples.  


The Longevity of Human Memory 


While the magnitude of the killing is revelatory, it can serve as a distraction. The focus should be on the circumstances that brought about the abhorrent killing of other humans and learning how to avoid such calamities in the future. 


Annan focused on remembrance and protecting the uniqueness and exclusivity of the Holocaust. He stated, “It must be remembered, with shame and horror, for as long as human memory continues.” 


Annan has questionable credibility to pronounce on matters of human dignity. After all he is the UN figurehead who labeled the US-UK aggression of Iraq as illegal and yet -- while he is helpless to do much about it without damage to his important self -- allows the crime to stand unopposed by the UN secretariat. The ongoing US-UK perpetrated genocide that has claimed over a million Iraqi lives is a horror and Annan’s inaction is a shame. It speaks to the longevity of his own memory. 


What kind of remembrance is it when members of the victimized group immediately set out on their own genocidal bloodbath? In the aftermath of WWII, Zionist Jews went on to wipe Palestine off the map. The de facto UN approbation of the Nakba came in the form of UN General Assembly Resolution 273 that recognized the ethnically cleansed state of Israel in 1950. [2] The Zionist state stands in contravention to a plethora of UN resolutions and Geneva Conventions but because of US support it escapes relatively unscathed. The UN covers up a Zionist massacre in Jenin, pays little heed to Zionist assassinations of Palestinian leaders, whimpers when its own people are killed by Zionists, and yet prostrates itself to Zionist-US imperialist dictates, as in the UN investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese president Rafik Hariri and those near him -- an assassination that best suits the aims of Zionists and US imperialists. 


The UN has the blood of Rwandans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis, and the men of Srebrenica on its hands. It is the authority responsible for the behavior of UN troops raping young girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. What gives with all the platitudes about remembrance when genocides are raging as Annan speaks? The shame and horror. 


Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in the traditional Mi'kmaq homeland colonially designated Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.   


[1] Anthropologist Henry F. Dobyns calculates that within the first 130 years after contact with Europeans that up to 95 percent of the Original Peoples of the western hemisphere were wiped out. Dobyns estimated that Original Peoples numbered between 90 and 112 million in 1491. Cited in Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Knopf, 2005), 92-95. 

[2] Recognition of Israel was conditional upon implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 that defines the borders of Israel and Palestine and Resolution 194 that recognizes the right of return for Palestinian refugees.


Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen

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* American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery? Part Five
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