Monday, December 25, 2006

Nicht Schuldik!

Or at least that's what Professor Shiraz Dossa claims. While under suspicion, under attack for moral lapses, for conduct seen to be unbecoming a professor in good standing at Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, why just stand your ground and pronounce yourself not guilty as charged. Nicht Schuldik was the very plea that Nazis standing trail at Nuremburg used to claim; they were merely following orders.

Professor Dossa is clearly following orders of a different yet sadly familiar type. He appears on the face of it to be one of a kind that fit in very nicely with the grand plans of the Iranian Holocaust denial conference. Shiraz Dossa clearly knows how to defend himself; he takes up the cudgel of outrage, lashing out against the university that has gently chided his questionable (to them) judgement in aligning himself with this nastily unsavoury group.

He is outraged that the university has "failed to defend his academic freedom". Freedom, one might suppose under the circumstances, to cast real, not imagined doubt on his denial of aiding and abetting Holocaust deniers; in fact, being one himself. No one likes to feel himself thought of as ignorantly scurrilous, certainly not from his own colleagues. This dilemma is easily solved, however.

Shiraz Dossa need only clarify matters and support his argument that he is not to be classified as a Holocaust denier (merely as an academic stumbler in the cesspool of historic revisionism) by revealing to an interested public at large and his colleagues in particular the text of his address to the conference. This should establish his claim, or refute it.

He claims the conference was relevant to his work. "The conference was unfortunately tainted by the presence of a small number of Holocaust deniers, but I feel it is a mistake to boycott any academic conference because of the presence of participants whose views one finds repugnant", he stated. Whatever can he mean by the presence of a small number of Holocaust deniers, in light of the fact that the conference was meant specifically to attract any and all such anti-Semites to its welcoming bosom.

Moreover, invoking the time-tattered and latterly-rejected absurdity of academic freedom to meet head on conferences whose purpose clearly runs counter to universal standards of decency and honourable intentions is to deduce that the professor holds the intelligence of his colleagues and the public in general in rather low esteem. It was in fact he himself who claimed ignorance of the purpose of the conference when he made his initial decision to take part in it.

He states "It is more appropriate to participate and confront and challenge repugnant views directly", and while no one might disagree with this statement at its face value, it would be more than appropriate for Mr. Dossa to enlighten his critics with proof of the manner in which he disagreed with the purpose of the conference, and the manner in which that purpose was addressed by the participants.

He must have been quite the sensation at the conference, a lone and lonely, but honourable dissenter. His was the duty to ensure that history was not distorted, nor the plight and fate of world Jewry stained by illogical doubt. Did he then question the reason that Iran's President Ahmedinejad so resolutely seeks to visit another genocide upon this much-put-upon people that he so stoutly defends?

He alone among the veritable crowd of Holocaust deniers, hate-mongers, white supremecasts, Jew-baiters, Islamists and Israel-bashers sought to put the record straight. We would like to admire his bravery. Until Shiraz Dossa enlightens us, however, we are unable to. He has but to publish his address, and we will clap in admiration at his resolve, clarification of the issue and courage in confronting this critical mass of historical revisionists.

Holding one hand up in denial of the accusations leveled against him, and the other busily clapping in self-congratulation, there is a large void, a silence, a lack of accountability and explication.

Until then, guilty as charged.

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