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AUTHOR: Simon Schama

FORUM: Financial Times

LENGTH: 713 words

DESERVING TARGET: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

THESIS: Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust "on the eve of ... Rosh Hashanah" is an insult not only to Jews but to history, and the West's "muffled response" is appalling

CHIEF TERMS OF OPPROBRIUM: "buffoon frontman," "idle self-congratulation," "affront to reality," "pragmatic humming and hawing,"  "perversion of history"

EVIDENCE OF LINGUISTIC DENSITY: "Hence their creature's cheerful optimism that the days of the Zionist entity are numbered and his cheerfulness that Iran will be honoured in Islam as the heroic enabler of that happy outcome."

GOOD TITLE FOR A POLITICAL POLEMIC: "The Cowardice of Embarrassment"



OTHER CAMEOS: Dame Vera Lynn, John Adams, the word "forthwith"


But then perhaps we have already abandoned history as the rough upbraider of moronic turpitude. Perhaps it is easier to digest history as costume pabulum, a stroll with Dame Vera Lynn down memory lane; endlessly rerunning the Good War and wallowing in harmless period romance courtesy of Jane Austen, while tough history gets thinned and thinned until it is finally put out of its misery and the age of national amnesia is enthroned.

"Facts are stubborn things," said one of the flintier Founding Fathers, John Adams, who well understood that democracy stands or falls with the courage of its history. His remark was made in defence of British soldiers accused of deliberately shooting down civilians in the streets of Boston. Prudence would have advised the young lawyer to look the other way in a city lit by hatred of the redcoats. But he did not. History beckoned him to be brave, eloquent and indignant on behalf of the imperishable truth. Would that the same could be said of those who at this moment should confront the perversion of history with something less craven than a polite demur.

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