New Trend Magazine Forum

(These two letters from Shoaib Qureshi, London, England, somehow got published in the Times Literary Supplement, over an extended period of time. The first one is about the bombing of Dresden and the other about David Irving's case last year that he was was being defamed by a Jewish American professor, Lipstadt, to stop the publication of his work in mainstream media.)

{The first was a response to a recent book review about bombings in the second world war.
The second about David Irving losing the court case.}

More than half a century after the end of the second world war, there is still an inability to deal maturely with the moral issues raised by the bombing of Dresden (Books, THES, May 25).
In particular, the trite way Sir Patrick Moore quotes Robin Neillands, author of The Bomber War: The simple defence against the charges levelled against the air crew who destroyed Dresden is that there was a war on. It was the war that killed... And who should be blamed for that? This is precisely the argument used by the Germans tried at Nuremburg.
And it is similar to the one used for the continued allied bombing of Iraq and the genocidal sanctions. Those who use it speak as though they are bombing and starving Saddam, not the unwitting population of Iraq. If this logic is correct, it is OK for terrorists to bomb United States embassies because they are attacking George W. Bush. It appears that the weight given to arguments depends on whether you are a winner or a loser.
Admit it, might is right
Should ruling about the holocaust be taught as part of history studies?

Judicial processes themselves are subject to bias of period they are in.

Irving and others have pointed this out witt Nuremburg war trials. (Which to me begs the question why, he should have approached a court in the first place.)

Interestingly your journal chose to print Lipstadt's response to the verdict but not Irving's, reflecting your own bias in favour of whatever the current norms (prejudices) are.

My prejudice: I don't like Irving at all.

However, it appeared that the trial focussed on exposing his personal prejudices rather than the case he was presenting as a historian. (i.e. we don't have a law against holocaust denial, but we do have one against anti-semitism. If we can prove he's anti-semitic and link that to the concept of holocaust denial, we don't need to seriously examine the case for criticising the account given of the holocaust.)

You don't reject the work of Alan Turing as a Computer Scientist because he's a homosexual.

Similarly, we don't reject Plato because of his views on women and slavery.

I read in a previous issue of your journal that its the job of academics to be a bit "transgressive" - well lets see you do it. Put the arguments for and against the historiographic evidence. Dont be scared someone will call you anti-semitic. Let readers judge.

2001-08-23 Thu 17:31ct