‘My Holocaust is bigger than your Holocaust’

spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).

Mick Hume

Mick Hume

Topics Politics
  • How did a discussion about combating Islamic extremism turn into an infantile game of ‘my Holocaust is as big as your Holocaust’?

After July 7, the Government set up several committees to advise it on tackling extremism in the Muslim community. Now these advisers reportedly want Tony Blair to scrap the annual Holocaust Memorial Day and replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the plight of Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere. They say a special memorial to Jewish victims ‘sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims’ who ‘feel hurt’ that they are not included.

If anything in our hyperbolic culture still merits being seen as an exclusive event, I would have thought it was the Nazi’s industrialised campaign of genocide that killed six million Jews. Yet today it seems that millions more – by no means all of them Muslims – want to be recognised as having had a Holocaust of their own.

A quick internet search reveals an (almost) A to Z of groups whom it is claimed have experienced genocide: Armenians, Bosnian Muslims, Chechens/Cambodians, Darfur Christians, East Timorese, Falun Gong followers, Gay men, HIV/Aids sufferers, Iraqis/Irish, Jews, Kosovans, Laotians, Maoris, Native Americans, Palestinians, Roma, Slaves in America, Tutsis/Tibetans, Unborn children, Victims of motor cars, White South African farmers, Xhosa, Yugoslavs, Zulus. (My apologies to any forgotten genocide victims with the initials O or Q.) It might seem a wonder that there are any of us left behind to commemorate the dead.

No doubt some have strong evidence of mass slaughter. But when almost any experience of suffering, past or present, can be branded genocide, so that a US news network carries the headline ‘New Orleans evacuee: ‘It’s Genocide!’ ‘, it inevitably demeans the word and belittles the singular horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

The UK Holocaust Memorial Day now threatens to blow up in the faces of its well-meaning founders. Frankly, they were asking for it. New Labour set it up in 2001 not only as a commemoration of the past but also as an expression of the modern cult of suffering, which puts victims on a pedestal and invites us all to feel good about ourselves by feeling their pain. That in turn acted as an invitation to some Muslim worthies and other self-styled spokespersons for victims of genocide to claim their piece of the grief pie.

Perhaps we would be better off scrapping these stage-managed, victim-fests altogether. Far from ‘feeling hurt’ about being left out of the experience, some of us are only too happy to have been ‘excluded’ from the Holocaust – a terrible historical event that has Never Happened Again.

  • I was interested to see ‘police sources’ reporting that all of two fuel protesters approached the Shell refinery at Ellesmere Port this week, but were ‘frightened off by the size of the media pack’.

We often hear boasts about the media being ‘the new opposition’, but ‘the new riot police’ is a new one on me. Still, perhaps it was fitting that the media pack burst the protesters’ bubble. After all, it was the media that so ludicrously inflated their hopes of ‘causing chaos’ in the first place.

  • Although cricket is not normally my game, I concede that beating the great Shane Warne and his assistants was a significant sporting achievement.

But the cricketati couldn’t leave it at that. Even amid the victory celebrations, the snobs had to find time to have a go at football, boring on again about how cricket is altogether a more skilful, sportsmanlike and civilised game than brutish ‘soccer’. Apparently cricketers such as Andrew ‘Freddie ‘ Flintoff even binge drink like gentlemen.

One could offer various impassioned replies to these petty-minded allegations. But why bother? Let us just admit that football is simply not cricket, old boy. Which is why the world (as opposed to the Empire) loves it. With a bit of luck the Ashes hysteria will encourage some of the sporting tarts (male and female) who have attached themselves to football to dress up as Flintoff rather than Beckham, and pretending that they understand the law of lbw rather than offside. That would be something to celebrate. So come on, all you new-found Freddie fans. Can we have our ball back now, please?

Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics


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