Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Argentina: desaparacidos denial?

Trump's Holocaust Memorial Day statement that didn't even mention Jews - on the same day he announced his ban-the-Muslims immigration rule - has highlighted one of the variations of Holocaust denial. Jonathan Freedland explains (Calling the Holocaust ‘sad’ is the first step towards denying it ever happened Guardian ):/

As anyone who has seen Denial, the new film about the 2000 libel trial brought by David Irving against the historian Deborah Lipstadt, will know, Holocaust denial can take many forms. In the face of all the evidence, there are those who say that six million Jews were not murdered by the Nazis; or that the gas chambers never existed; or that Adolf Hitler had nothing to do with it. There is another strand, too; one denying that Jews were specifically targeted for extermination. Even though the Nazis infamously referred to their mass killings of Jews as “the final solution to the Jewish problem”, this form of Holocaust denial seeks to negate that core fact – to suggest that the second world war saw lots of people get killed, and that Jews suffered just like everyone else; no more and no less.
Página/12 provides a current example of a similar approach to denying the murders and mass repression of the Argentine dictatorship of 1976-83 in Werner Pertot, Una nueva muestra del negacionismo PRO Página/12 31.01.2017.

The story concerns Juan José Gómez Centurión, a retired military officer who is currently head of the Argentina customs office (Aduana). He has somewhat of a checkered pass: "Gómez Centurión’s choice for public office has been questioned due to the fact that he took part in the 1987 and 1988 military uprisings against Raúl Alfonsín’s democratically-elected government." (Gómez Centurión reinstated to post Buenos Aires Herald 10/14/2016)

Pertot reports that he "negó que existiera un plan sistemático de desaparición de personas durante la última dictadura y calificó de '22 mil mentiras' la cifra de 30 mil desaparecidos" ("denied that a systematic plan existed to make people disapper during the last dictatorship and described the figure of 30,000 people disappeared as '22,000 lies'").

The number of people "disappeared" by the regime of El Proceso, the dicatorship's name for itself, is a well-researched, conservative and widely accepted figure. This is called a negacionista (denier) position in Argentina.

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