- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Power and privilege

“I ask [documentary filmmaker Michael Moore] why he decided to send his daughter to a private school in Manhattan. …

“‘Is that a bad thing?’ he asks rhetorically of his decision, ‘I don’t know. Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child. Whatever I can afford, I’m going to get my kid the best education I can get.’ …

“Of course, it’s nobody’s business but Moore’s where he sends his child, except he makes it his business to detail the hereditary privilege of his subjects and tends to make his political arguments personal. In ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ one of his stunts is to attempt to get congressmen to sign their children up for the war in Iraq. …

“In his desire to be seen as the decent man telling truth to power, he is too ready to blame those less powerful than himself for his shortcomings.”

Andrew Anthony, writing on “Michael and me,” Sunday in the Guardian

Fake survivors

“Nearly 10 years ago, a man calling himself Benjamin Wilkomirski published ‘Fragments,’ which purported to be a memoir of his experiences in Majdanek and Birkenau. The book was initially well received, in Germany and in the United States, and Wilkomirski became a popular guest on the Holocaust circuit. … At a meeting in Los Angeles for an organization of child Holocaust survivors, he publicly embraced a woman who, he tearfully claimed, had been a childhood friend of his in the camps.

“Wilkomirski’s book was, of course, a fraud. He turned out to be Bruno Grosjean, the Protestant son of a Swiss factory worker, who for some time had been obsessed with the Holocaust. …

“Wilkomirski was not the first Holocaust fraud, though his name has since become synonymous with the phenomenon. As long as there has been survivor literature, there have been survivor impostors. …

“[W]hat makes Wilkomirski’s story particularly interesting is that fact and fiction may actually have fused in his mind: he seems truly to have believed that he was a victim of the camps. Not surprisingly, Holocaust survivors and their families were among the angriest of his debunkers. … Melvin Jules Bukiet, a child of survivors himself, named Wilkomirski as an example of ‘survivor-wannabeness at its grossest.’”

Ruth Franklin, writing on “Identity Theft,” in Monday’s issue of the New Republic

Deadly amnesty

“One of President Bush’s most recent ‘compassionate’ initiatives has indirectly led to more horrific deaths along the Arizona-Mexico border. Bush’s proposal for a quasi-amnesty for illegal aliens has been interpreted by poor Mexicans as a welcome mat, increasing the rate of attempted border crossings and the tragic deaths that go with them. Sixty-one people have died along the Arizona border since last October, a threefold increase from the rate of the previous year. …

“If we really want to encourage more Mexicans to come here, we should have the decency to help ensure their safe passage. If we don’t … then all talk of any sort of amnesty should be dropped, and our seriousness about enforcing immigration laws should be broadcast so clearly that it is understood even in the far reaches of Mexico. …

“Poor Mexicans don’t follow every intricacy of America’s political debate, but they get the message when the president is proposing to reward illegal entry into the United States. … Some illegals are shocked that they are arrested coming across the border: ‘Hey, where’s my amnesty?’”

Rich Lowry, writing on “Borderline Compassion,” Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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