For years I have been trying to explain to my constituents (Professors in FAMCO, the union at Monmouth – once a College and now a University – and perhaps needing to be called FAMU) and members of the Board of Directors of 7th Moorings Condominium or Building “G”, that saying “NO” is a right each of us has. This is not to say that saying “no” is the same as “denial”. Denial is something else again and particularly when it is used to pooh-pooh inhumane acts as genocide or THE Holocaust against Jews in Europe during World War II.
Carol and I sat weeping through Hotel Rwanda last Sunday. The sheer madness of slaughter of Tutsis by Hutus and the rest of the world denying it was happening is an example of the use of denial that this essay is addressing. It was not solely the Jews who were systematically and institutionally “liquidated” (a term used first in Soviet Russia when the Kulaks were disposed of to get rid of any semblance of private enterprise) but there was the recent striking examples of Chechnya, a Muslim enclave in what was once Soviet Russia, where they, the Chechnya’s, were attacked by the might of the new “Democratic” Russian Government in the absence of the former Soviet Empire. Pick any country where there are “insurgents”, “rebels”, “dissidents” or revolutionaries and you will find those who suffer from “DENIAL”. The country’s leaders do not listen to the minorities, to their claims of disenfranchisement or lack of attention to their demands for equality or the “freedom” promised by G.W. Bush in order to get elected.
The Turks have their minority of Kurds and there are Christians within the majority of Iraqis. These groups, somewhat like the Palestinians on the borders of Israel have been denied equality and a voice in determining their own destinies. Each group has a story of its own and each group has been the subject of Denial.
But, that works two ways. While majority parties work to insure their dominance, the minority party or people work to make themselves heard. Denial is not the same thing as saying no. What I had been trying to do while a working Professor and am now trying to do as the President of a Condominium is getting people to say no to the preliminary steps where disenfranchisement and second class citizenship becomes the rule.
Denial of the Holocaust ever happening or that slaughter of humans in Rwanda, Chechnya or Kosovo has become acceptable by comfortable “democratic” people living in places like “civilized” enclaves within your country and mine.