To the Editor:
In her book, “Facing History and Ourselves: The Holocaust and Human Behavior Resource Book,” Margot Stern Strom writes, “In May 1983, Richard Cohen wrote an article in the Washington Post entitled “Killing Truth.” How do you kill truth? Denial. If a person or a group is allowed to promote the denial of genocide then the murder of innocent groups of people based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality or their race will continue. On April 20, 2016 I reached the back page of the Bayonne Community News only to find a full page advertisement by an Armenian Genocide denial group. I was at a loss for words and my head began to spin. This organization, I will not list because I do not want to promote them, is irrational manipulative and outright lies about the Armenian Genocide. It is a fact, a truth, it happened. Look back at the newspapers from 1915 and read the testimonies of the victims who survived. The murder of innocent Armenians during World War I was the result of fear and hatred of the other. There are countless testimonies from survivors, newspaper articles and documentaries verifying that the genocide took place. So why would the Bayonne Community News allow for a full page advertisement from an Armenian Genocide denial group to be published in its paper? Are there no rules or limitations to what can be published in its paper? Is there someone who is responsible for fact checking? The article by Richard Cohen that is in the FHAO Resource Book, “Truth: The Last Victim of Genocide” goes on to say the disturbing thought that perhaps, “the last victim of any genocide is truth.” Truth is the only way to combat denial. Denial is a major problem when it comes to genocide and we cannot let the victims of these tragedies be murdered again. Silence only gives the oppressor more power. We must stand together and educate people and provide them with the truth because that is the only way we will be able to prevent these horrible acts from happening again. Would you print an advertisement that promotes the denial of the Holocaust? I invite anyone from the Bayonne Community News to come to my Facing History and Ourselves and Contemporary Human Rights course to speak with my students about the countless times genocide has occurred. This has always been a part of my teaching and it is also mandated in the state of NJ since 1994. This mandate to instruct and “emphasize the personal responsibility that each citizen bears to fight racism and hatred whenever and wherever it happens…” came about as a result of the hard work and determination of Sister Rose Thering and Dr. Paul Winkler. Come and sit in on my class and we will share with you what happened during the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, Rwandan Genocide, the genocide that took place in the former Yugoslavia and the Sudan. Please, I implore you, do not fulfill the eighth stage of genocide; denial.
GENE W. WOODS