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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't posture for me, Argentina

Apparently Argentina has kicked out a Catholic bishop who has questioned the scale of the mid-20th century European holocaust.

And all without any hint of irony.

I've no intention of defending Bishop Williamson, who by all accounts is a very arrogant man. But I have previously pointed out that the way to combat holocaust deniers is with facts and debate, not by trying to shut them up, lock them or hope they go away.

Instead, I'm animated by the pointless posturing of it all. Booting Williamson out of Argentina won't change his views or those of anyone else, I suspect.

And it's not as if Argentina was one of those countries adversely affected by that holocaust. If anything, it greatly benefited from immigration as a result.

And of course, we should not forget how Argentina was one of the foremost destinations for many Nazis who fled justice after World War II. In fact, it now seems clear that they came at the invitation of Juan Peron, who then employed many of them in his government.

But the most compelling reason why this is an utterly hypocritical stance for Argentina to take is the fact that they themselves had their own mass murder of citizens, during the military junta period.

The mothers of the disappeared still gather in Buenos Aires to ask what happened to their relatives and demand clarity and answers which they still don't get. Around 30,000 desparecidos still remain unaccounted for. And the vast majority of those guilty still walk free.

It's long past time that Argentina owned up to its own crimes against its own humanity, and quit this hypocritical posturing about a holocaust that happened long, long ago on a continent far, far away.

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