Debates


Negacionismo


 
Most esteemed scholars, journalists, and researchers
 
Is it not possible to return to a debate or contributions which are not only substantial but have relevance to the bulk of people who live on this planet and are NOT Europeans. Every time someone feels compelled to write something about supposed "denial" of events some nearly seventy years ago, I feel the tremendous urge to yawn. Do we see the same supposed concern about Leopold and Belgium or the annihilation of indigenous peoples throughout the Americas? Of course we do not. Because almost no one holding an official position or permanent employment wants to talk about policies that have never been repudiated.
 
Instead we have to listen to malicious and hypocritical complaints about events which in all their horror ENDED in 1945! No other country in recent history (more than 200 years) has ever had to pay such a price for its national policies: the utter destruction of its political and economic system. No one in my country can doubt that we have been made to pay for the murders of our fathers and our grandfathers-- even to this day. The only ones who are forgetting and denying are those who still do not admit that their countries, their land and wealth were all stolen from the murdered and enslaved indigenous of North and South America, Australia, parts of Africa-- and not one sous has been offered in reparations to the families of murdered Indios or African slaves. Not to this day!
 
People who point this out and document this have recently lost their jobs or are subject to marginalisation etc.
 
But, most esteemed colleagues, if we are still unable to discuss the issue of denial and forgetfulness in full honesty then we should leave it entirely alone and concentrate on issues where some fruitful and substantive discussion is possible.

I can think of a few:
 
Methods: This is one of the areas dealt with by people in the Network of Concerned Historians. How do we recover facts and document things when the very nature of documentation and records is changing?
 
Testimony: How do we obtain and evaluate testimony from witnesses who not only see what they experience but see their experience through mass media? How do we record and evaluate the evidence of the traumatised?
 
Public sources: How can forensic methods help distinguish between facts and propaganda reported and recorded in official sources and "embedded sources"?
 
Maybe there are historians in this HuD network who have useful and thoughtful contributions to these questions about history and historical research TODAY. I am sure that I am not the only one who would appreciate more attention devoted to this debate.
 
Mit freundlichen Grüßen/ Cordialement/ Cordiali saluti/ Yours sincerely/ 
 
Dr. Patrick Wilkinson
Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies - Europe
Kirchstrasse 32
D-40227 Düsseldorf