20 September 2009

A dangerous holocaust denialist with childish arguments

They [western powers] launched the myth of the Holocaust. They lied, they put on a show and then they support the Jews. The pretext [the Holocaust] for the creation of the Zionist regime [Israel] is a lie … a lie which relies on an unreliable claim, a mythical claim, and the occupation of Palestine has nothing to do with the Holocaust.
These are the words uttered by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a couple of days ago, to his worshippers at Tehran university, during the Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally, the regime's annual display of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Death to Israel!
cried his supporters in unison. This is not the first time Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust. His usual claims are these:

"I belong to the university, I am an academician. I am interested in a scientific approach. I raise the question: In WWII over 60 million people lost their lives. Were they not human beings? Why is it only the Jews we focus on? If this a historical event then we should conduct research on it to make sure it is a reality. Why is it those who ask questions are being persecuted? Whereas we can question God, freedom, democracy, we are not allowed to question the Holocaust. If this happened, where did it happen? Did the Palestinian people have anything to do with it? Palestinians leave under threat, losing their lives. You might argue the Jews have the right to have a government. But where? Not by displacing a whole nation."

It is easy to see that Ahmadinejad is totally irrational: The first thing he mentions is that he is an academic. This is the usual tactic of those who do not have real arguments; they use their "scientific hat" to impress the audience. Second, he seems to want to deny the Holocaust, not because of the event per se, but because of other crimes and deaths that took place during WWII; and because he "feels" for the Palestinians. The fact the Palestinians have no state is NOT a reason for denying the Holocaust. This is absurd; irrational. Third, he claims we are not allowed to conduct a scientific investigation on the Holocaust. He is ignorant. There is probably more evidence of the Holocaust’s details than for any other genocide in history. Not only we have survivors, we also have details written and recorded by the Nazis themselves who wanted to satisfy their weird perversions in trying to extinguish a people. Fourth, nobody, in a free nation (unlike Iran), prohibits anyone to question the Holocaust, Democracy, God(s), whatever. It is in his nation where people are not allowed to question certain things like Allah's existence, Ahmadinejad's right to be a president. All his claims about the "myth of the Holocaust" return to the same point: Give Palestinians a state.

I happen to agree that Palestinians should have a state. But what does this have to do with a historical event like the Holocaust? It is as if Ahmadinejad is saying:
"I am going to deny the Holocaust as long as Palestine is not a sovereign nation. When that happens, I will withdraw and, perhaps, withdraw my claims that Holocaust did not take place."
The science of psychology must have studied these kind of people: those who are stubborn upon an issue and will be stubborn and adamant about it until they receive the reward they want. Children act exactly this way, until their parents fullfil their favours. But Ahmadinejad is, as far as we know, an adolescent. Yet he behaves exactly like a spoiled child.

What's unique about the Holocaust? Michael Fridman commented on it recently. There are denialists of all kinds of things (genocides, wars, terrorist acts, etc) but the Holocaust, according to Michael, is unique. Because it is simultaneously the most well-documented genocide in history and the most denied one.

On a positive side, several protesters in Iran did not agree with Ahmadinejad. "Death to the dictator", they cried, while marching in Teheran. Strikingly, one of the strongest calls for opposition participation in the Quds Day protests came from Hojatolleslam Sayyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution. In a thinly disguised rebuke to the hardliners, Khomeini called Quds Day "a day for the oppressed to resist against the oppressors", implying that it is also a day of protest against repression and oppression in Iran.


  1. It would be a case of optimism to just call Ahmedinejad childish. Because then it's like he just "caught a case" of the bigots and the irrationals and it's reasonable to expect to cure it in many people.

    I don't think I'm as optimistic -- as an example Holocaust denial is probably very widespread in the general Iranian population, in which case I don't think it makes sense to label them as childish.

    I think the problems of bigotry are a bit more serious, in that they're entertained by lots of very adult people.

  2. I agree with your comments. I only used the term "childish" to refer to the arguments he uses to support his thesis. It's annoying that he gives "learned talks" from time to time (e.g. in universities, both in Iran and abroad) claiming he has "arguments" about the fiction of the Holocaust. His arguments are moronic.

  3. Michael, I think a more accurate title of my posting is "A dangerous holocaust denialist with childish arguments" and not "A childish holocaust denialist". I have now changed it. Thanks for the comment.



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant