In the space of the last 48 hours, I’ve received 2 email messages from friends – and people I trust – that took me aback. The text of the email included the following, along with graphic images:
This week, the UK debated whether to remove the Holocaust from its school curriculum because it offends the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet… However this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it.
This email is being sent as a memorial chain in memory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1900 Catholic priests who were murdered, raped, burned, starved, beat, experimented on, and humiliated… 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.
I’m all in favor of the world not forgetting. However, the claim itself isn’t true. Turns out this is an email rumor that has been circulating since at least 2007, and there’s another that goes after the state of Kentucky. Why Kentucky I don’t know. Who started – and maintains – this particular rumor mill, I also don’t know.
The origins of the rumor? A 2007 study found that some teachers in some British schools were reluctant to teach about the Holocaust or the Crusades because they imagined it would upset some Muslim students. From there, we rapidly get to an official discussion about re-vamping the entire educational system. Why is this “truth” so compelling? I suspect some combination of legitimate concern about anti-Semitism and the kind of knee-jerk freak-out that we are so comfortable with (all the world is out to get us, in every time and in every place) (and oh yeah, did I mention that “they” are taking over?).