Sunday, February 8, 2009

Academics reflecting on Holocaust

Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
http://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com/2009/02/academics-reflecting-on-holocaust.html

Dear Dr. Farooq, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Crane;

First of all, thanks for sharing the link about "The World's Worst Massacres". Secondly, out of respect for your scholarship and genuine query, I am pleased to write a rather detailed response with quotes from some of my corrospondence.

I agree with your statement “In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel.” No one’s pain and suffering is less than others, and no genocide is to be up-played or down played. Killing one life is like killing the whole humanity or saving a life is like saving the whole humanity.

The idea of the program “II Annual reflections on Holocaust and Genocides” and the site that goes with it “HolocaustandGenocides.com” was simple. It is to create an awareness of the inhumanity in all of us and at the same time, discover and create solutions for peaceful co-existence. We need to remind ourselves frequently to do our share to make the world a better place to live, vow to say “never again” to human atrocities, and at this annual occasion dare to practice the power of forgiveness.

Initially we asked the public at large in a message on December 2, 2008 through extensive emails to list all the genocides around the world and we started with a few as a step towards it including;

Genocides*: Auschwitz, Macabre, Holocaust, Bosnia, Darfur, Congo, Sri Lanka, Gaza, Gujarat, Ireland, Hadita, Kashmir, Rafa, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nanking, Armenia, Sabra, Kurds, Falun Dafa, Native Indians, Inquisitions and the ones you know.
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The following letter was sent to over 3000 Muslims on my list and posted to several groups comprising over 10,000 Muslims on December 2, 2008. You probably got one too;

II ANNUAL REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES
Saturday, January 24, 2009 7:00 PM to 9:15 PM

AA,

An appeal to Muslim Leaders

I hope at least a few Muslims can see this vision of including all Genocides right along with Holocaust, something that was not done before. We cannot drop this because a few Muslims’ prejudice against Jews and have a short sighted vision.

Most of the Jews are willing to include all atrocities along with the Holocaust, which was commemorated exclusively for nearly six decades. The wise men see that, all of us have to share the burdens of the society and jointly bring about a change to prevent these from happening to the Jews, to the Muslims or to any human being. “

By sharing the pain of all inhuman acts, we are indeed aspiring to create one people, one nation and one community, a sure way to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.
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We invited Christian Amanpour on December 11, 2008 in the following letter
Dear Christiana,

Thanks for producing the movie "Scream bloody Murder" it brought to attention the horrors of Genocide.

I am a Muslim and have made efforts to commemorate Holocaust to build bridges with the Jewish community and extending to all communities by including all Genocides. We did the first event in January 2006 and now we have expanded it to Holocaust and Genocide and your documentary captured the essence of what we want to do.

The event is Saturday after sundown called "Reflections of Holocaust and Genocides" and it is an all inclusive event, just on similar lines as your documentary. Most of the details are in the website.

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On December 17, 2008 we wrote to Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis;

The Honorable Rodney G. Ellis
Texas State Senator
Austin, Texas

Dear Senator Ellis;

I just spoke with Orianna and am pleased to invite you to address the “II ANNUAL REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES” on Saturday, January 24, 2009, after Sundown 6:30 PM -9:00 PM at Double Tree Hotel on Midway in Dallas, Texas.

Your initiative on the SB160 is appreciated and we want to gather public support for the same.

PICTURE GALLERY Holocaust & Genocide pictures
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We wanted to include all genocides and wanted to have a poster board in the size of 2’x 3’ to go on the easels. We were not able to get much, while we know some, but could not get information with the limited resources we had. There was one right here in Dallas some 150 years ago, where the Caddo Indians were massacred leaving not a soul alive, we could not get any documentation on it. Indeed, there is a documentary been shown next month, where one of the American Generals had said something to the effect of killing all Indians. We sent repeated request to people to send in a 600 word essay on the genocides they knew.

We have done every thing we could, and hope next year, we can gather up information on all genocides, at least list them if we don’t have the information.

To list a few would diminish the value of the ones we would miss out; an abridged documentary of Christiana Amanpour was shown to give an example to reflect on genocides she had documented;

I am yet to post my speech; a video will be posted as well, here is a partial speech;

“Peace and security will come to us, when we value other’s life as we would value our own, peace and security will come to us when we create an environment around us that is conducive to peace and security. We owe it to our retirement, our children and generations to come to keep them miles away from revenge, hate and malice. No one should cherish the death of other person, as that act would amount to validation of the other persons’ revelation in our death.

May God help us bring peace (refer to the quote in peace book).

Now Let’s observe a minutes silence.

We carefully chose to observe silent prayers to accommodate and acknowledge every pain, genocide and atrocity. In your silence, I would like you to reflect upon every known genocide and massacre, and detach yourselves from the emotions, and find solutions with compassion and co-existence in mind. “

We wanted to include all genocides and atrocities and I would certainly request you and the members on this esteemed group to share on genocides you are familiar with. We hope next year, it will be a complete comprehensive list.

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse

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CORROSPONDENCE BELOW
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Dear Mr. Ghouse,
Salam and greetings.

There are many things that I and you commonly agree, but this is not one of them.

"Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII" is not a justification for its continued use that way. The enormity of the massacre is beyond doubt. But that does not justify a specific name for it. Indeed, I am not sure whether you are familiar or not, but in terms of scale, there have been other genocides much bigger than the Nazi Holocaust. Please see "The World's Worst Massacres" http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm.

I also find no justification for separating Nazi Holocaust from all other genocides. This is clearly diminishing all other genocides. There is another reason why such specialness must not be allowed. Treat any people as special and you might face the prospect that such special status would be abused to victimize others. Unfortunately, instead of being a prospect, it has become a reality.

If I have to call upon my fellow Muslims that they should not think that their suffering in the world in the hand of others is not unique, it would be unprincipled to acknowledge that somehow others are special. In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel.

As I do work in the field of genocide, each genocide is special to me. There is one genocide that probably closer to my heart because I have personally experienced it. Yet, reflecting on all these genocides, there are times when I close my eyes and try to imagine the time of Nazi Holocaust and imagine myself as a Jew or a non-Aryan. As a human being I want to feel their suffering. I do the same for every people who have thus been victimized.

If we have to share the grief of humanity, and I wholeheartedly agree, then we must not grieve for one exclusive group as "special." This is logically and morally unacceptable. I would go even one step further. In light of the experience of Israel for which abuse of the Nazi Holocaust remains a key factor, treating any genocide as special is dangerous. Thus, I have to categorically disagree with the premise that there is one holocaust and the rest are genocides. This site www.holocaustandgenocides.org diminishes other genocides, even much bigger in scale and scope, by elevating genocide against the Jews to a special status. This is not the way we find ourselves in tune with the humanity, where some are more special than others.

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
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From: Mike Ghouse
To: SOCIOLOGY
Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:31:48 AM
Subject: Re: A comparison that is becoming all the more compelling

Dear Farooq;

Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII, the enormity of the massacre deserves a specific name. Whether 6 of 6 millions the pain is the same to the families who have lost the dear ones. However, the 6 million number is too large a number not to be identified distinctly.

The the term Genocides can be used for all other atrocities.

We just did our II Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocide, to make Genocide the problem of the world, not just the Jews. We all need to come together and share the grief of humanity and fall the barriers of ownership of pain. www.HolocaustandGenocides.org

Thank you.
Mike Ghouse

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Dear Mike,

If the term Holocaust is to be appropriated for the genocide of the Jews, what term do you want to use for the genocide of the Native American Indians or the genocide of slaves during the Slave Trade?

Estimates of the number of American Indians who died vary enormously, the highest (to my knowledge) being 100,000,000 in Stannard's 1992 book American Holocaust (note the title). See also Russell Thornton's American Indian Holocaust and Survival (1987). The problem with figures like Stannard's is that this includes deaths by all causes (including disease caused by contact with Europeans) and this obviously skews the statistics. Transmission of disease is not normally a means of inentional genocide, any more than we can blame the American Indians for the millions who have died from smoking tobacco around the world.

However, one reasonable estimate which tries to factor out causes like disease is still 20 million, though obviously over a much longer time scale than the relatively short period of time of the Jewish genocide in WW2. See http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm If the term Holocaust is to apply exclusively to the genocide of the Jews on the grounds that it refers to the unparallelled event of 6 million deaths (and therefore, in your words, "deserves a specific name" because of the "enormity" of this event), what term do we use to describe the genocide of the 20 million American Indians? Was that a more heinous genocide because more people died? How do you calculate equivalence?

As I explained in a previous posting to this list, I can see no logical reason why the term Holocaust should be appropriated for the genocide of the Jews.

I should think that the civilians (including many children) who are being regularly incinerated by American bombs in Afghanistan must regard the experience as a holocaust, in its true meaning of 'complete destruction by fire' (the sense first used by Milton in the 17th century; before then it meant a 'burnt offering').

On the native American genocide, see:

 M. D. Aletheia, The Rationalist's Manual (1897): 30,000,000 Mexicans and Peruvians were slaughtered.

 David Barrett, World Christian Trends: Conquistadors killed 15M Amerindians

 Coe, Snow and Benson, Atlas of Ancient America (1986)

Total pre-Columbian population: 40M
Mexico: Original population of 11M to 25M ("lower figure commands more support") fell to 1.25M (1625)
Peru: Pop. fell from 9M (1533) to >500,000 (early 17th C)
Brazil: Original population of 2.5M to 5.0M ("recent commentators favoring the higher") fell to 1M
 Massimo Livi-Bacci, Concise History of World Population History 2d (1996)

Mexico: Population fell from 6.3M (1548) to 1.9M (1580) to 1M (1605)
Peru: Pop. fell from 1.3M (1572) to 600,000 (1620)
Canada: from 300,000 (ca. 1600) to < href="http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm">http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm.

I also find no justification for separating Nazi Holocaust from all other genocides. This is clearly diminishing all other genocides. There is another reason why such specialness must not be allowed. Treat any people as special and you might face the prospect that such special status would be abused to victimize others. Unfortunately, instead of being a prospect, it has become a reality. If I have to call upon my fellow Muslims that they should not think that their suffering in the world in the hand of others is not unique, it would be unprincipled to acknowledge that somehow others are special. In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel. As I do work in the field of genocide, each genocide is special to me. There is one genocide that probably closer to my heart because I have personally experienced it. Yet, reflecting on all these genocides, there are times when I close my eyes and try to imagine the time of Nazi Holocaust and imagine myself as a Jew or a non-Aryan. As a human being I want to feel their suffering. I do the same for every people who have thus been victimized. If we have to share the grief of humanity, and I wholeheartedly agree, then we must not grieve for one exclusive group as "special." This is logically and morally unacceptable. I would go even one step further. In light of the experience of Israel for which abuse of the Nazi Holocaust remains a key factor, treating any genocide as special is dangerous. Thus, I have to categorically disagree with the premise that there is one holocaust and the rest are genocides. This site www.holocaustandgenocides.org diminishes other genocides, even much bigger in scale and scope, by elevating genocide against the Jews to a special status. This is not the way we find ourselves in tune with the humanity, where some are more special than others.

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq

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From: Mike Ghouse
To: SOCIOLOGY_OF_ISLAM@LISTSERV.VT.EDU
Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:31:48 AM
Subject: Re: A comparison that is becoming all the more compelling

Dear Farooq;

Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII, the enormity of the massacre deserves a specific name. Whether 6 of 6 millions the pain is the same to the families who have lost the dear ones. However, the 6 million number is too large a number not to be identified distinctly.

The the term Genocides can be used for all other atrocities.

We just did our II Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocide, to make Genocide the problem of the world, not just the Jews. We all need to come together and share the grief of humanity and fall the barriers of ownership of pain. www.HolocaustandGenocides.org

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse

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