January 27th, 2009

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Brookline Magazine Profile

The December 2008-January 2009 issue of Brookline Magazine (along with its sister magazines Newton Magazine and Metrowest Magazine) has just published a very nice profile of me. Although the impetus of the profile is the publication of I Remember the Future, the focus of the profile is also my involvement with the town of Brookline:


Michael Burstein is a writer with a special focus, a profound concern with memory.

Burstein is a typical Brookline resident – well-educated, liberal, and with leisure enough to content himself with a wide spectrum of interests. A physicist by training and educator by practice, Burstein has been a Brookline town meeting member since 2001, a library trustee since 2004, was once a would-be astronaut and has a tendency to burst into song over dinner.


If you'd like to see more of the article, the author has posted a PDF from her blog entry Profile of Michael Burstein.
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Holocaust Denial, Again

This past Saturday, the New York Times ran the article Pope Reinstates Four Excommunicated Bishops, in which they reported that Pope Benedict XVI has revoked the excommunications of four bishops described as being on the far right.

While in general this news item wouldn't concern me one way or another, it does, for the following reason (quoted from the article):


Among the men reinstated Saturday was Richard Williamson, a British-born cleric who in an interview last week said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers. He has also given interviews saying that the United States government staged the Sept. 11 attacks as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.


The problem of Holocaust denial is one that has so plagued me that I wrote a whole story about it ("Kaddish for the Last Survivor"). The simple historical fact of the Holocaust is as incontrovertible as American slavery and the many other injustices that have taken place in human history. And yet, it seems that there will always be people among us who wish to deny the truth, and whose motives I would suspect are not rooted in a desire to paint the human race as angels.

Bishop Williamson's erroneous (and to my mind, malicious) belief that there is no historical evidence for the Holocaust may have been repudiated by the Vatican spokesman. But in this case, sad to say, actions speak louder than words.