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The Press and Afghanistan

August 31, 1986

Henry Feingold's review of "Beyond Belief" by Deborah Lipstadt (The Book Review, Aug. 17) failed to note that our press has not learned from the history of the Holocaust. What about the current holocaust by the Soviets in Afghanistan? Where's our press now?

Feingold argues that "the failure of the press during World War II was understandable," and writes that he is "glad the book is not an overheated brief against the press." He apparently misunderstands the centrality of bias in human nature--and that the press is not exempt. He should rather challenge the press to learn from Lipstadt's outstanding book--to learn not to repeat the omissions they made in the reporting of the Holocaust during World War II.

Since the press has assumed a new social identity as guardian of free societies everywhere, then I challenge them to do now what they failed to do in World War II--to help save thousands, if not millions, of Afghan lives. As Feingold states, "(World War II) was a difficult period." For the Afghans, it now is a difficult period--let the press and Prof. Feingold be witness to this holocaust.

NORMAN LAVIN

Tarzana

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