The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mcvay.ken/press/Edmonton_Journal.9510



Edmonton Journal, Oct. 14, 1995, p. B2

"Racism on Internet Fought With Truth,"
by Helen Metella, Journal Staff Writer

Edmonton -
Whenever hate messages ooze onto the Internet, Kenneth McVay
mops up the mess.

     Within hours, the B.C. man and the global group of volunteers he's
assembled, refute lies from Holocaust-denyers and white supremacists
by posting highly detailed messages of their own. The method is so
effective that it's almost impossible for anyone reading the
originals not to bump into the replies, says McVay.

     ``That's the beauty of the net: you can run but you cannot hide,''
said the retired computer consultant, who was in Edmonton Thursday
to speak at Beth Shalom Synagogue.

     The 55-year-old spends each day at what he's called The Nizkor
Project, after a Hebrew word meaning, ``we will remember.''

     In the last four years he's amassed a data base of nearly 4,000
documents from books, newspaper stories and historical records,
addressing an array of commonly repeated racist opinions and
fictions.

     When hate literature appears in one of the Internet's 15,000 Usenet

discussion groups, members of McVay's group see it and link the
message to pages they've copied from books and articles dealing with
the same subject.

     By bombarding the hate discussion groups with meticulously
documented truth, McVay says his organization has forced many of the
leading hate-mongers off the public discussion groups.

     Besides reaping such encouraging results, the Nizkor Project has a
number of advantages over traditional methods of dealing with hate
literature, says McVay.

     For one, it's nearly immediate. Racists who make untrue statements
on TV or radio may go officially unchallenged for months, McVay
says.

     But via Internet, their remarks are immediately attacked with
highly detailed arguments.

     ``And once you've done it, you've done it forever,'' he said,
pointing out that the link to the original remarks remains there for
readers viewing the discussion, weeks or months later.

     Challenging hate literature through counter-literature on the net
is less expensive and less offensive to the principle of free speech
than pursuing the offenders through the judicial system, McVay says.

     ``We spent millions and 10 years trying to prosecute Ernst Zundel
and we haven't stopped him. He's still saying the same things. Look
what we could have done if we'd used that money on education.
Repression doesn't work. If we're really a democracy, we have to ask
ourselves, `What are we afraid of?' ''

     McVay's web site can be accessed via: http://www.almanac.bc.ca. The

Nizkor Project's e-mail address is: kmcvay@nizkor.almanac.bc.ca.
    Copyright Edmonton Journal 1995


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