Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Here's an amazing story from Britain. They published a compilation of poems written by children, 11 - 18, who had won a literary prize. One of the poems attempts to Adolf Hitler's mind and depict how he regarded Jews.
The entry by the 14-year-old Gideon Taylor is apparently written from the viewpoint of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

It includes the lines "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces."

Another part reads: "Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I'll be happy Jews have died."
When Jewish groups protested the inclusion of this anti-Semitic poem, the publisher defended the choice with the incredibly weak argument that this poem shows a sophisticated ability to blend history with poetry and get into the Nazi's mind.
Young Writers editor Steve Twelvetree, who also edited the book, said the poem was included as it illustrated how the writer was able to empathise with the infamous Nazi Fuehrer.

Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger… I'll be happy Jews have died
The poem reads
Twelvetree told the Telegraph: "From Gideon's poem and my knowledge of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3 his poem shows a good use of technical writing and he has written his poem from the perspective of Adolf Hitler.”

The editor continued: "Key Stage 3 history requires pupils to show knowledge and understanding of events and places - to show historical interpretation and to explain significance of events, people and places, all of which World War II and the Holocaust is part of.

"The poem clearly states 'I am Adolf Hitler' and it recounts a historical fact, something Young Writers and Forward Press are not willing to censor."
Well, isn't that special? Are they really impressed with this kid's knowledge and understanding of the Holocause when all the poem seems to have is an anti-Semitic rant? This is a book geared for children to read. Do they have any sense of the impact of having such a poem in a book for children?

This is a country where any pig-related toy or picture is now on the hit list because it might offend some Muslim who doesn't eat pork. Yet having a poem written by a kid expressing hatred for Jews wins a prize and gets published in a books. Up is down and down is up these days. Apparently, there are some groups that one can offend with impunity and other groups that we have to treat with such tender sensibility that Piglet and piggy banks are now offensive.

UPDATE: And now the children can't hear the story, "The Three Little Pigs" in school. Again, we can't do anything that has the slightest obscure chance of offending a Muslim, but a poem about killing Jews wins a prize because they admire her ability to get into Hitler's head. How tough is it for some kid to imagine that Hitler may have indeed hated Jews? (Link via Musing Minds)