I need not build up to a crescendo to reveal how utterly horrified I was to hear of a BBC programme called The Big Questions having as its ‘big question’ this week: Is it time to lay the Holocaust to rest? There is no way to mince one’s words on this one; it is nothing short of disgraceful and, as such, leads me to ask: Is it time to lay the BBC to rest?
The sheer inappropriateness and insensitivity of the wording itself is no mean feat, seeing as the thousands of people who were burned in the crematorium each day were cruelly denied a final resting place. A lesser thought of reason, perhaps, that remembering the Holocaust is so important is so that the incomprehensible number of those who were never literally given a place to rest can, therefore, reside in our hearts and minds for all eternity. Honouring the eleven million made up of Jews, gypsies, black people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the disabled. Is that really too much to ask? And, as such, leads me to ask: Is it time to lay the BBC to rest?
A more popular argument for remembering the Holocaust, perhaps, especially in these troubling times of rising anti-semitism, lies in the well-known but not overused ‘Never Forget’. Never forget the raging hatred that caused one nation to oppress another by casting them aside in ghettos. Never forget the violent bullying that followed, destroying Jewish shops, synagogues and homes. Never forget the ‘Final Solution’ which, thankfully, was not as final as the Nazis would have liked but which would still see six million Jews brutally murdered. Never forget how baseless hatred can cause one human being to obliterate another, for once you do and the slate is wiped clean, it paves the way for it to happen again. Asking us to forget, therefore leads me to ask: Is it time to lay the BBC to rest?
But my third argument for why we should never ‘lay the Holocaust to rest’ is, quite simply, why the hell should we? Will we ever lay the soldiers, who died fighting for our country not once but twice, to rest? Will we ever stop wearing poppies in remembrance of them? Stop taking a minute out of our busy lives at 11, on 11/11? Of course not. So why on earth would we be expected to stop remembering the victims of the worst genocide in history? As such, I ask you: Is it time to lay the BBC, in all its anti-semitic glory, to rest?
No. Because despite the horrific nature of this ‘debate’, as well as the media bias which is so often skewed against Israel it would, if not for the serious nature of the conflict, be laughable, the BBC is — warts and all — an upstanding media company. To lay it to rest for knowing how to push our buttons would be both counterproductive and hypocritical: we have, after all, been the victims of such prejudice, and to paint an entire organisation with the same brush — an organisation that has also been responsible for airing a number of Holocaust documentaries and writing several articles in honour and remembrance of the 70 years which have just passed since the liberation of Auschwitz, would be wrong.
After all, laying something to rest because we don’t like the way it looks, sounds or makes us feel isn’t really our style.