Genghis Khan and Hitler – NOT the Same Thing!!

To NY Times: On August 3, 2009, you published a story about Genghis Khan’s 131-foot statue in Mongolia.  The story was written by a journalist named Dan Levin and was well written overall. The only real issue is that your journalist had the audacity to end his post with something along the lines of Genghis Khan and Hitler being the same thing!!

This is totally unacceptable.

First, Chinggis Khaan, the correct spelling for Genghis Khan, is Mongolia’s beloved hero and the founding father of our nation.  He is beloved and respected above anything else in Mongolia.  To us, he is like Abraham Lincoln, God, and Chuck Norris put together.  All jokes aside, your journalist and your post is no laughing matter.

This is how your post ended:

“Mongolian tradition respects our grand ancestors’ names,” she said. “To really honor him, it’s much better to use his name on only premium merchandise.”

Other Mongolians skew a bit more toward realpolitik in their devotion to Genghis Khan, even if they are happy to drink to his memory.

“He was a cruel man but he led our country to greatness,” said Toguldur Munkochir, 25, a bank teller unwinding at the Chinggis Khaan bar later that night. “If you look at Lincoln, Hitler and Julius Caesar, it’s kind of the same thing.”

99.99999% of Mongolians do not feel the same way as this guy “Toguldur”.  Chinggis Khaan is NOT the same thing as Hitler.


I don’t want anyone to be upset with this Mongolian guy.  I give him the benefit of the doubt because a) he likely had been drinking as he was at a bar at night and b) author may have twisted or misinterpreted his wording or meaning.  Plus, I just cannot believe a Mongolian person would say that Hitler, Lincoln, Caesar, and Chinggis Khaan are all “the same thing”.

What really bugs me is the Dan’s use of wording “realpolitik”.

The use of this word implies somehow that this quote is descriptive or fitting of the real feeling of the Chinggis Khaan.  Surely, there still are a few remaining negative thoughts about Chinggis Khaan in the west, despite the fact that he was named The Man of the Millennium by Time Magazine and despite the fact that Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” opened so many insights into the real Chinggis Khaan.

However, to make a far-fetched claim based on one quote from a guy at a bar at night is surely not utilizing proper journalism techniques.  Vast majority, if not all, Mongolians do not view Chinggis Khaan in the same light as “Toguldur”.  As such, the term “realpolitik” is not fitting in the manner in which it was used.  In fact, “realpolitik” is may be in the way in which Dan is using to push his views onto the world under the New York Times brand name.

And, does this “Toguldur” guy even exist?  Is he a real person?  Is he Mongolian?  Who knows!

The point is that the damage has been done.  This story has been spread over all over the web.  Dan Levin was successful in pushing his views onto the world.  Just try googling (searching on google) for key terms “TSONJIN BOLDOG” or “Genghis Khan Rules Mongolia Again”.

Here is the original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/world/asia/03genghis.html?_r=2

NY Times Needs To Issue an Apology

If you are not from NY Times, then please write emails to the following people.  They need to issue an apology, retract the last two paragraphs of this post, and notify all websites which have re-posted the information of the updated post.

The email addresses are: letters@nytimes.com, webeditor@nytimes.com, executive-editor@nytimes.com, managing-editor@nytimes.com

Published by

Mergen

Born in 1979. Lived, studied, and worked in the US from 1992-2007. Currently in Mongolia since 2007. Own and manage WebGuru Co Ltd (www.WEBGURU-CO.COM), an internet marketing and web design / development company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

15 thoughts on “Genghis Khan and Hitler – NOT the Same Thing!!”

  1. Part of the reason why I wrote this is because I did not see any other way to easily contact NY Times. I did not see place where I can comment. I could not even find the email of this guy Dan Levin.

  2. I totally agree with Mergen! NY Times has, through its misrepresentation and insincere quotation of this hapless Mongolian guy, lost a lot of credibility with me, and a lot of other Mongolians, I am sure.

    I was shocked when I read the last parts of that article and was sure that the ending quote was totally out of context. It must be a combination of the following;

    1. the guy quoted had too much to drink;

    2. he had poor English;

    3. he was answering a misleading question;

    4. he was appeasing a customer who had negative views of Chinggis Khaan;

    5. the reporter was trying to get a “balanced” perspective because he had overwhelming positive reviews of Chinggis Khaan and he didn’t believe it would come off as legitimate material for professional journalism, and therefore pursued another perspective at cost of a legitimate source; and

    6. the guy quoted was not at all representative of even a minority of Mongolians; he had a screw missing, and had the audacity to try to name the three most famous people in history he could think of as “similar” in his limited understanding of history–whereas the similarity stops beyond the fact that every NY Times reader has heard of them. That is NOT realpolitik. That is just plain ignorance and quoting the bottom denominator of the world does not make intelligent reporting.

    Mongolians are pretty homogenous people. Vast majority are Khalkha Mongols. We all speak Mongolian and understand one another even through various dialects spoken by the minority who are not Khalkha Mongols. We share common history dating back thousands of years as nomadic peoples. Generally speaking, we look alike as compared with countries like the US where there are strong immigrant populations or intermingling between various races, although this is changing rapidly in this generation. To top this off, if there is one thing that the Mongolians are the most homogenous about, it is that they are proud of their hero and founding father Chinggis Khaan.

    Mongolians see right through the various revisionist histories tarnishing Chinggis Khaan’s character and accomplishment that other countries and governments tried to impose. They have held Chinggis Khaan in high esteem even through the Communist years–even when some of them were proud to be Communist leaders. They know in detail, as Christians know the stories in their bible, the Secret History chronicling Chinggis Khaan’s birth, rise, and death (Mongolia has one of the highest literacy in the developing world, and has a very strong oral tradition). They are passionate about defending what it means to be a Mongolian and you cannot be a Mongolian without having immense respect for Chinggis Khaan. PERIOD.

  3. Well said! I couldn’t agree more!

    Mongolians…

    are passionate about defending what it means to be a Mongolian and you cannot be a Mongolian without having immense respect for Chinggis Khaan. PERIOD

    .”

  4. To The NYTimes editorial,

    Dan Levin recently published an article on the New York Times entitled Genghis Khan Rules Mongolia Again, in a P.R. Campaign. (see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/world/asia/03genghis.html?_r=2)

    In this article, Dan Levin, without any knowledge of historical facts, compared Chinggis Khaan with Hitler. It has almost been a taboo for modern journalism to quote a single unrepresentative individual as saying to validate a view or doctrine that in fact the author herself/himself willfully attempts to impose on audiences. When reading Dan Levin’s article one can easily come to a conclusion:

    1. Not Mongolian people think Chinggis Khaan and Hitler are alike, but Dan Levin thinks so and he wanted all his audiences think so as well. He achieved his goal, under the name of the New York Times, by borrowing an unrepresentative individual’s words.

    2. Dan Levin doesn’t even understand the Journalism 101.

    We urge the New York Times to:

    1. Publicly apologize to the Mongolian people around the world;
    2. Fire Dan Levin immediately!

    ———————

    Mongolian community in New York.

    cheeliinundur@gmail.com

  5. @Dogshin Har, Thank you for your support in this matter. It really is unacceptable for NY Times to be publishing something like this. The story was reposted on dozens of others sites, all with the misrepresented notes at the end.

    Please help our cause by forwarding link to this page to as many people as possible. Let’s encourage as many people as possible to send emails to NY Times.

  6. Another shock value post by a desperate journalist starved for attention! lol

    I emailed all the NYT contacts the night of the posting about the ridiculous quote Dan Levin used, which is quite possibly just a fabrication (a pigment of Dan Levin’s creatively sinister imagination)… as the newspaper industry is dying, their types seem to be resorting to more and more baseless folly these days, perturbing it to be legit news. 😛

    I expected more from The New York Times though, but they are surely losing credibility fast. Not only of Mongolians but of many Americans who regard Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest presidents and leaders in American history. Did NYT really think their preposterous slandering of Chinggis Khaan and Abraham Lincoln would go unnoticed? Well, comparing ‘The Man of The Millenium’ and the ‘Chicago Beloved’ with the likes of Hitler speaks volumes for where the New York Times is headed… down the Express Lane leading the industry’s death roll.

  7. @Altai lol too funny, but yes, journalism by some of the “well-known” publications is too often more or less crap these days. individuals and people are creating better stories and news. The print industry, with few exceptions, still seems to struggle with the whole web 2.0 era.

    Thanks for writing letters to NY Times and being so supportive from the initial decision to want to notify NY Times regarding this.

  8. In the matter of Medieval times, the word “cruel” does not correspond with its contemporary meaning. It was a way to survival.

    As for the use of the words “Other Mongolians” and “realpolitik”, I think Dave Levin used poor selection leaving the sentence open to many interpretations.

    One other thing, I found it a bit odd to see in NY Times’ (online) article have a link to only Hitler but not to Lincoln or Julius Caesar mentioned in the same sentence. Is it because Americans less versed in Hitler than the other two, or it’s NYT’s way to portray the Great Khaan as in the same league as Hitler?

  9. @Enkh @Bayar thank you for your support. Please pass the word. Let’s have as many people as possible email NY Times about this.

  10. …what a shame, we understand this as unrespected and violent action for our great history and ancestors…it cannot be accepted that Genghis Khan compared to Hitler…i doubt ‘there is real Tugoldor who said about comparision in end of the article’ and i also don’t know there is sumo wrestler named Sanchir /but its not proved, for me im not a big fan of sumo, but like sport and know our wrestler’s real name/…it means this post used fake quotes and make it suspicious in some way…tnx Mergen to warned us and take care of it…i will be send mails to these addresses…

  11. I think Chinggis Khaan was and is in a league of his own here. Understandably he may of made a few errors and bad judgements, don’t we all, but generally his history, the empire he created and values he stood by are to be admired and respected.
    If any one took the time to read more into the life of GK they would certainly see a great leader, politician and military general.

    I have been overwhelmed by Mongolia, its history and culture and the resilience of the people that live and work on the land.

    I certainly wouldn’t use Hitler in my lessons plans to educate the masses of children around the world so there can be no comparison between the great GK and Hitler or any other dominant figure. Besides, did Hitler tolerate and openly accept many different religions?
    Enuff said and please excuse any typographical errors. I haven’t been drinking!

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