Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Who Remembers the Ukrainians?

This has long been overdue, but will there be any movement now that the NYT's own historian is urging for it to happen?

NEW YORK (AP) -- A 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to The New York Times should be revoked, according to a historian hired by the newspaper to review the winning work, which has been questioned for years.

A subcommittee of the Pulitzer Board has been reviewing the prize won by writer Walter Duranty for his series on Russia. The review was sparked by complaints that Duranty deliberately ignored in later coverage the forced famine in the Ukraine that killed millions of people.

Mark von Hagen, a Columbia University history professor, said in his report to the Times that Duranty ``frequently writes in the enthusiastically propagandistic language of his sources,'' and that ``there is a serious lack of balance in his writing.''

``For the sake of The New York Times' honor, they should take the prize away,'' von Hagen said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. The New York Sun first reported the professor's recommendation.

The Times has reviewed von Hagen's report and forwarded it to the Pulitzer Board with a recommendation from Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who declined comment on Wednesday.

It hardly needs pointing out that if Duranty's award were for propagandizing on behalf of Nazi Germany, it would certainly have been rescinded long ago; but there is something about communism that makes supposedly decent people go all mushy, as if the loss of life under it was of lesser consequence. More Ukrainians lost their lives under a famine that was intentionally engineered by Stalin than did Jews under Hitler, but certain acts of genocide are evidently less equal than others in the eyes of the world.