Genocide denial

attempt to deny or minimize statements of the scale and severity of an incidence of genocide

Genocide denial is the attempt to deny or minimize statements of the scale and severity of an incidence of genocide.





(chronologial order)

  • The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them.
    • Gregory Stanton, 1996, quoted in Gordon page 453
  • Following the physical destruction of a people and their material culture, memory is all that is left and is targeted as the last victim. Complete annihilation of a people requires the banishment of recollection and suffocation of remembrance. Falsification, deception and half-truths reduce what was to what might have been or perhaps what was not at all."
  • [In] the act of denying this historical truth [of the Holocaust], the deniers denigrate the Jewish people and memories of historical occurrences, suggest that those who accept the truth of the Holocaust lie, and relativize the suffering incurred. Thus, the act of Holocaust denial is not simply an expression of belief in what did or did not happen historically, given that the Holocaust has been historically verified. It is an act of vilification that denigrates and harms.
  • Negationism means the denial of historical crimes against humanity. It is not a reinterpretation of known facts, but the denial of known facts. The term negationism has gained currency as the name of a movement to deny a specific crime against humanity, the Nazi genocide on the Jews in 1941–45, also known as the holocaust (Greek: complete burning) or the Shoah (Hebrew: disaster). Negationism is mostly identified with the effort at re-writing history in such a way that the fact of the Holocaust is omitted.
  • To this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. This is strange, since the historical evidence of what happened is plentiful. Western observers like the US ambassador in Constantinople, Henry Morgenthau, wrote detailed reports about what was being done - including the telling statement of Mehmed Talaat Pasha, the Interior Minister, that all the Armenians had to perish because 'those who were innocent today might be guilty tomorrow'. Western missionaries too wrote harrowing accounts of what they witnessed. Their testimony formed an important part of the wartime report on 'The Treatment of the Armenians' compiled by Viscount Bryce, who had also investigated the German atrocities in Belgium in 1914. It might conceivably be argued that the citizens of Christian powers already - or later to be - hostile to the Turks had an interest in misrepresenting them. The Young Turks themselves insisted that they were merely retaliating against a pro-Russian fifth column. That was also the line taken by the Sultan in his reply to Pope Benedict XV's intercession on behalf of the Armenians. Yet agents of the Turks' own wartime allies gave the lie to these claims. Rafael de Nogales, a South American mercenary who served as Inspector General of the Turkish forces in Armenia, reported that the Governor-General of the province had ordered the local authorities in Adil Javus 'to exterminate all Armenian males of twelve years of age and over'. A German schoolteacher at Aleppo was appalled by what he saw of the 'extermination of the Armenian nation' and wrote urging his own government to 'put a stop to the brutality'.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p. 177
  • The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

See also

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