Thursday, November 06, 2008

I am not a very smart woman . . .but . . .

This morning a very disturbing email was opened by one of my colleagues. Photographs of holocaust victims, emaciated bodies in mass graves . .you know the shots, they've been featured on just about every TV program about the second world war. What really amazed me was that this 28 year old asked "What is a Holocaust?" Not what was the Holocaust but what is a holocaust.

She is a very smart and capable girl but she hadn't heard the word let alone the history. This is not a pro Jewish post. It's one about misinformation that circulates on the internet and it shits me to tears that people in good faith forward this rubbish to the point that it reaches millions. Many of whom believe it. Emails like this are a-plenty. Whether it's warnings about women being abducted in carparks by perfume peddlers or serial killers stalking your area, cameras hidden in your bathroom . . . for goodness sake what happened to common sense. As my father frequently said, it is extremely uncommon!

It's not the first time I've been called a 'killjoy' for exposing these idiotic things for what they are, moronic misinformation that whips up all sorts of 'anti' sentiment.

The email read:

In Memorium:

Recently this week, UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it "offended" the Moslem population which claims it never occurred. This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russia peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be"a myth," it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide!

Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world. Please send this e-mail to 10 people you know and ask them to continue the memorial chain.

You pass on funny emails, so please pass this one on. It will only take you a minute to pass this along - Thanks!
This is completely inaccurate and how Iranians were brought into the frey I can't begin to imagine. I tip my hat to sites like Snopes and Hoaxslayer who manage to research and debunk such rubbish. No wonder the world is in a state of permanent paranoia.

The email began in early 2007 and is totally bogus but thanks to the speed of the 'net' who knows who's read it and believed it and forwarded it. Fortunately, in our little office it actually lead to a discussion and some degree of enlightenment among the younglings as to what actually happened. Today I educated four younglings on this horrific event. (I also found out that snakes and lizards have two penises - discussion is rife at 3:30pm in the Quad!)

In England teaching about the holocaust is compulsory, in Scotland and Wales it is voluntary but encouraged. In Australia, I don't remember it being a huge part of the curriculum but it was covered. What wasn't, was offered to me over lengthy dinner table discussions by my father. Nope, I'm not Jewish but he was a war child and wanted us to know what happened so that it may never happen again.

Sadly, it's happening all over the world. But we don't care much for Hutus and Tutsi, Zimbaweans and Zulus, Falong Gong or Uyghur or the Janjaweed or Bangarra nomads. We let genocide begin without ending it, again and again.

However, forwarding this highly inaccurate and misleading chain email will only serve to sow confusion and misdirected anger.

We have a government sponsored TV station here called SBS, it's wonderful but brutal and it's window on the world shows clearly that we have learned little from history. Amazement is still buzzing around my head that a 28 year old mother of two is so insular that she didn't know the meaning of the word, let alone the history of the event. I am friends with a 20 year old who knows more about the Third Reich than anyone I know, so there is hope out there!

On a lighter note, who'd have thunk it, a reggae singing Hasidic Jew . . He's good, really! (shame I don't like reggae) OK he was born in Pennsylvania and his name's Matthew Paul Miller but . . .

20 comments:

Miles McClagan said...

Well all I got in my e-mail today was a picture of a cute cat...

Awww, but it was so cute...you just wanted to pet it...

Erm...carry on...

Miladysa said...

Great post Baino.

There is an item about that particular email on the BBC News Website:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7226778.stm

The British Government having taking the step of writing to every embassy in the attempt to end this false email.

The first I heard of the holocaust was at school. A sheet of paper was handed out detailing an eye witness account of Auschwitz. The effect was the childhood equivalent of being made to watch 1000 horror films at once. I was absolutely horrified and shocked - I found it hard to accept that such a thing was possible.

It happened, is happening and will continue to happen. Everyone should be aware of these events although I do not believe the way I was taught was the right one. Then again - what could be?

Nick said...

It's incredible she didn't know about it. Clearly a serious deficiency in both schools and parents. If there's anything growing kids need to know about it it's the horrific brutality that's taken place in the past, why it happened and how we can prevent it happening again. Inaccurate emails like that are irritating but unfortunately very common.

gaudiumdegaea said...

I'd not a word uttered by someone who makes an already perfectly plural word into an even more plural word...
Meh..
I am only surprised he left the Armenians out of the list. Obviously he has no clue.
Why did I just assume the person who vomitted the e-mail out is a HE? I don't know.

gaudiumdegaea said...

insert "trust" between
I'd not...
and
...a word.
Bah, that's what happens when I type around 1am.
I'd not trust any word I utter if I am uttering it after midnight.

Moon said...

I have to admit, at the age of 22, I didn't know much about it either, but I decided that I should, and I read Martin Gilbert's account of the holocaust. A truely terrible book, but one everyone has to read... Now I know what happened, and it should never be forgotten

Ropi said...

Well, today I got a Viagra advertisement. In Europe you have to handle stuff like that very carefully.

Megan said...

I can hardly believe it. In fact, I can't believe it. How is that even possible?

Quickroute said...

I went to visit Auschwitz as a side trip from Krakow a few years back. You get to see first hand where they were gassed - you don't come away the same after that.

Babysis said...

That really is flabbergasting - a 28 year old that hasnt heard of the Holocaust....for christsake...thats ridiculous - my 11 year old could teach her a thing or two.

I of course have Baino to contantly point out when I have passed on a chain letter of ill repute, but I have never had one of the Holocaust.

Maybe in this instance it has inadvertently had a posititve effect, even if the facts were slightly skewiff!

Now your younglings are properly educated and may even read up on it themselves later.

Capri said...

Your post is excellent, and I run into the same problem as you, being considered a kiljoy for debunking every forward that crosses my screen. I'm just speechless about the woman not knowing what the holocaust was!

Baino said...

Miley trust you focus on pussies.

What surprised me Mildaysa was that it's been circulating since 2007! Imagine the coverage it's had! It's a horrific thing Genocide or attempts at it but we need to be reminded now and then.

Nick I was amazed. Actually I was telling Adam about it and he said he was discussing it with some workmates and they too had no idea what it was. Shameful!

Common they are Nick but I'm amazed at the gullability. Maybe I've become over cynical in my old age, my sister sends a few of these (not the holocaust one) but warnings to vulnerable women etc. I'm sure she thinks I'm lecturing her at every turn!

Poor Gaye. You're all tongue-tied and twisted!

I learned a lot from the "world at war" series actually Moon but in 1995 I visited Dachau and it became all too real! Very moving and I'd recommend it to anyone. One of our clients is also the founder of the Sydney Holocaust Museum, interesting as well.

Ropi! I get them for Penis Extensions, and I'm pretty sure I don't need one of those!

Megan I don't know. For some ignorance is bliss, it's alarming!

Quickie, quite so. Clare and I saw Dachau and recently she went to one in Dussledorf. I was surprised she went back for seconds but it is important that we remember the horror I guess. Although these days we have become slightly desensitised. Every night there are horror stories (particularly Congo at the moment) which tear at the heartstrings.

Sorry bout that sis! The last one was a cry to click on the US Animal Rescue site to increase their hits! Haha . . I did it anyway, I wonder if Aussie hits count? (actually you can do that here with the Breast Cancer site)

Moon said...

I wondered if if was the right thing to 'want' to visit Dachua, Belsen etc....... but I do... just to witness it, 'feel' the place .... not sure if that is right or not, a bit like going to ground zero .....

Baino said...

Moon, it was a compulsion more than anything. Very interesting, terribly sad and horrific and there's not much of Dachau left. The allies left enough as a memorial but destroyed most of it. To this day they deny it was an extermination camp but there are definitely gas pipes plumbed into the shower blocks there. Interestingly, a Latvian couple travelling with us refused to go. They said the Nazis were much better to be occupied by than the Russians.

kj said...

all i can say at this tired hour is hello.

oh, and of course this is another thoughtful post...

:)

Baino said...

kj what on earth are you doing up so late! God woman, we're not spring chickens any more you know! But thanks. Actually I got stung today by a video of a pilot who appeared to land a light acrobatic plane after one of the wings fell off. . .impressed I sent it to two pilot friends . . one shot it down in flames telling me that the landing was CGI . .sucked in! . .and thanks Killjoy Johnboy!

kj said...

zzzzzzz.

oh, i'm awake now. i'll have you know i might be a spring chicken. does immaturity count?

:)

Jay said...

Wow .. I've never had anything like that. I just get ads for Viagra and debt consolidation.

How strange to think that there are people who aren't aware of the facts, and even stranger that someone would put together an email like that to circulate.

People are weirder than I thought.

Ces said...

I used to blog with a couple of women who created spam as a profession. They worked for a small company. They did not brag about it but one day during a marathon comment session, they bashfully admitted it. China is the highest spam producer with spammer companies numbering in the thousands and a given company with hundreds of spammers working in one big hall sending spam all day. India, the Philippines and the US are also up there. They are embedded with spyware and some are actually detrimental to your pc. Now I am not being paranoid but my spyware runs everyday and catches hundreds of infections. As for the Holocaust, there are a lot of things they don't teach at schools worldwide. It depends on one's curricullum. Iran's president has denied the Holocaust but promises to do wipe out Israel. That is not spam, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has officially stated that repeatedly. When my daughter was in fifth grade I helped her with a diorama of the holocaust. During my research I discovered how the Muslims had an integral part in its success. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husaini recuited muslims for the Nazi war effort. That is an undeniable fact.

Baino said...

kj I have a T shirt "I'm not immature you great big poopy head"! So yes, immaturity definitely counts.

Jay it's not so much the truth or falsity of the email that shocked as the fact that this white, middle class, Australian educated girl did not know about the Holocaust but knew about John Mayer's affair with triplets! The mind boggles.

Ces I don't really understand the point of Spam unless it's phishing for contact details or trying to get your credit card number, it's just plain destructive. Especially the sort carrying trojans and worms. I have a pretty good firewall at home and work so I don't get much beyond the free degrees, Viagra etc.

This was actually an email that's been circulating for a long time. I believe the Jerusalem Mufti recruited Bosnians to assist as in 1943 it certainly looked like he might win the war! After all there is a general ideological affinity between totalitarian Fascist and Nazi theories and Islam,