I have been to Auchwitz. I visited the remains of the camp in the early '70's - and it is not a pretty site. It's been 30 years since I was there, and I still sometimes reflect on what I saw. It was horrific.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the holocaust is that it was confined to annihilation of Jews only. In fact, more non-Jews were killed in these camps than Jews. Between 3.5 to 6 Million Slaviks civilians, 2.5 to 4 Million Prisoners of War, 1 to 1.5 Million Political Dissidents, 0.5 Million Gypsies, about 100,000 Homosexuals, about 300,000 Handicapped individuals. And by the way, consider that about 1 Million Serbs were also killed in similar camps operated by Croats, who were Nazi collaborators. This is all in addition to the Jews slaughtered, and in the same exact way.
I remember warehouse upon warehouse filled with wheelchairs, fake teeth, human hair, artificial prostheses... items removed from captives prior to death are stored and dated. The Nazi's extracted even took gold from teeth for their treasury, human hair for textile production, human organs for soap production, wheelchairs for metal reprocessing... I could go on and on. I am no expert on the holocaust, but it was all there for a lay observer to see. The holocaust was real. There can be no question about it.
Denial of the holocaust, therefore, is not just an affront to Jews, but also Slavs, Serbs, Poles, Romanians, the disabled... political dissidents! If Mr. Ahmadinejad needs some confirmation, he doesn't have to visit Auchwitz, he can visit Serbia, Bosnia or Kosovo... and learn how these nations are still struggling to heal the wounds caused by Nazi Germany and their collaborators against non-Jews.
I find it so ironic that Iran of all nations is still participating in holocaust denial, when Iran has a history and a tradition of compassion on the plight of Jews and neutrality on the issue of Israel. It was a Persian king, Cyrus, who respected the rights of Jews and sheltered them as they fled an earlier holocaust. Cyrus drafted the very first declaration of Human rights which is now on display at the United Nations. Iranians along with vast numbers of human beings share empathy with the plight of the Palestinians. We are a compassionate nation. Iranians have cared and do care about human rights everywhere. It is in our blood. It is in our traditions.
Iran could have been an honest broker helping peace emerge between the parties. There are very few honest brokers left. America, after all has lost all its credibility in the Middle East, and is patently in Israel's pocket.
Ignorance is a killer. There are crimes more heinous than genocide. There is a fate worst than death. To live a life of ignorance when the facts are right there in front of your face is more shameful than committing murder. To impose mass ignorance on a population is also worst than committing genocide.
The regime in Iran has, after all, closed down newspapers, disallowed books, and controls the media. And it was similar controls placed in Germany that enabled the Nazi's to establish mass ignorance and subsequently enforce their concept of the 'superiority of the Arians race' and led to the mass slaughter of anyone that did not fit into their vision of a good Arian.
Mr. Ahmadinejad and his backers therefore are committing a larger crime than Hitler's holocaust by denying that it even took place and eliminating any counter arguments in their conference in Iran. They are spreading a falsehood. They are spreading ignorance.
Granted, Israelis are no saints. Granted the Mullah's are trying to build an Islamic hegemony by establishing political links with the Sunni's in the Middle East by appearing to take an anti-Israeli stance. But a lie is a lie ... is a lie!
Political expediency constructed on a foundation of a lie - is not expedient at all. It would be more expedient for Iran to simply 'keep out of it'. Iran has no real interests west of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers - now that Saddam Hussein is dead (with a death cry of 'damn the Americans and Persians) perhaps the military threat he represented to Iran has diminished!
Iran doesn't need to stick its nose in a can of worms either in Iraq or Israel or Lebanon. There is nothing for Iran except trouble and criminal clients trying to suck Iran's treasury. Whether it's Hamas or Hezbollah or the Sadr Brigade. Better to let America get mired in its own mess. And better for Iran to focus northward where we share energy interests in the Caspian Sea, along with cultural/language/geographic linkages. Iran is not truly part of the Middle East at all....it is a Eurasian or a Central Asian nation. We share more in common with Tajiks than Palestinians.
Iran is picking fights, playing agent provocateur, playing a two faced game with everyone ... and why? Are a bunch of Danish cartoons worth dying over? Does Iran really expect to meddle there without any consequences? Does it really believe that the truth about its secret arrangements will not emerge?
Let's not forget the 1 Million or so deaths in the Iran-Iraq war. And in that war Iraq was the 'inferior' one militarily. What if Iran picks a fight with a bigger player bigger with better equipment than the Iraqis?
As the financial times of London commented in their 2007 forecast this past week: "There is a better than even chance Israel will have a 'go' at Iran within the next 18 months - at that would end by sucking the US [into Iran] anyway!"
What bombs might they use? How many Iranians would die? Might this lead to another atrocity in Iran (a Holocaust)? Is the current regime in Iran not responsible for provoking it?