Denial ain’t an African river girlfriend!


by Rohin
21st February, 2006 at 3:08 pm    

Freedom of speech, again! Oh Lordy Lord it’s all a-comin’ at once. By now most of you will have heard about David Irving’s three year jail sentence for holocaust denial. Essentially, disgraced British historian Irving claimed the gas chambers had not existed, which contravenes Austrian law – the country in which he was interviewed when he made his assertion. A libel case six years ago destroyed his reputation and most of his enemies were placated by this verdict alone. He was branded an active holocaust-denier, an anti-Semite and a racist.

However, yesterday many were stunned when the three year sentence was handed down to Irving, who pleaded guilty during the trial in Vienna. Irving has already announced his plan to appeal. So what should we make of all this?

In Europe opinions are split. At the crux of this controversy is the fact that Irving broke the law. We, as Brits who have a deep respect for freedom of speech, can denounce the Austrians for locking up someone who said something silly. But then again, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland have laws against holocaust denial as well. It’s hardly a case of one loonie country having a loonie law. Indeed – two of these countries, Germany and France, were recently praised by many of the people who are now wringing their hands at the severity of this sentence. Why? Because they published those cartoons and upheld that legendary freedom of speech. Had this verdict been handed down in France or Germany, what would public reaction have been?

In fact, holocaust denial carries a maximum sentence of TEN years in Austria, so Irving could be thought of as having got off lightly.

The law itself could be thought of as a knee-jerk response to the deep unease former Nazi countries felt after the War. However, as you can see, they are not the only countries with the law in place. But Irving has merely stated an opinion, he has not incited anyone to murder, he has not glorified terrorism. Should his freedom of speech be curtailed?

Within Austria, a debate is now taking place over the holocaust-denial law. The strongest argument for the law is that it is instrumental in curbing neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic activity. Germany has been far more active in cracking down on far right groups than Austria, but both are acutely aware of the large swathes of anti-Jewish and anti-immigrant sentiment that lingers on. Fears are now that he will become a far-right martyr.

The BBC highlights a few quotes:

Vienna’s chief Rabbi Chaim Eisenberg:

“All this is very ugly, despicable. I am not sure if people should go to jail, but there should be some measure to make sure that this does not happen.”

Professor Theo Ohlinger, an expert in constitutional law at Vienna University:

“It is so clear that the Holocaust existed that everybody who denies it is considered a fool. But abolishing this law could signal that Austria may not be really active in fighting against any National Socialist activities, and that is a problem.”

Czech Republic’s Mlada Fronta Dnes:

“He should not have been brought before the court. The European countries should shake off the Holocaust taboo and the Muslims should stop hating those who make fun of the Prophet… There only appears to be a difference between the rioting of furious Muslim activists and a sophisticated court in Austria.”

Germany’s Die Tageszeitung:

“What David Irving said yesterday in the Vienna court represented a first-class burial of the myth of the “Auschwitz-lie”: Irving apologised for his earlier views and withdrew the statements that brought him before the court… Neo-Nazis around the world have lost an icon.”

Noah Klieger, 80-year-old Holocaust survivor:

“This is a big day for Israel and all Jews, as the Pope of Holocaust deniers has finally been brought to justice. The sentence is not important. What is important is to send out the message while we, the Holocaust survivors, are still alive.”

Lothar Hobelt, an associate professor of history at the University of Vienna:

“This is a silly law by silly people for silly people. In fact, having a law that says you mustn’t question a particular historical instance, if anything, creates doubt about it, because if an argument has to be protected by the force of law, it means it’s a weak argument.” [Link]

From the Indy:

“Few in this country will shed many tears for an academic who never cared to hide his despicable views… But (the sentence) is three years more than anyone should have to serve for exercising freedom of speech in a democracy… We have deep misgivings about the classification of Holocaust denial as a prosecutable offence.”

“But in the last year the Government has cited the need to bring in more laws to curtail our freedom of speech. We are moving closer to Austria where a personal opinion of a historical event can not only lead to a jail sentence but attracts the oxygen of publicity to a very odious point of view. ” [Link]


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  1. Geezer — on 21st February, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    The charge dates back to 1989 and he admitted he made a mistake yet he still got there years…He shouldn’t of been bought to court for this neither should niki boy of the BNP it will just encourage support for them.

  2. Sunny — on 21st February, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    As much of a twat he is (I remember thinking that during my history A levels too when we did 20th century European history)… I think its stupid to bang him up. Suing him and forcing him to prove his fallacies was the right thing to do.

  3. bananabrain — on 21st February, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    well, i won’t weep for him, but the idea that this will shut holocaust deniers up is laughable. what worries me is just how popular his ideas, however scary, are – particularly in the muslim world.

    churlish though it might be to point it out, despite this law, austria has proved a hard country in which to prosecute actual nazi war criminals over the last 50 years, despite their ample and indeed unrivalled supply. a cynic might say (as the wiesenthal centre indeed does) that a nice big slap for holocaust deniers is exactly the right pr move to make if you wanted to draw attention away from actually failing to go after geniune, real-life austrian nazis.

    as deborah lipstadt says, he deserves obscurity, not the oxygen of martyrdom.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  4. PapaHomer — on 21st February, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Dear picklers, FYI the image you posted for this thread is now showing a remote linking error.

  5. PapaHomer — on 21st February, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    …and now it’s not. weird.

  6. Old Pickler — on 21st February, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    forcing him to prove his fallacies…

    Yeah, men like that should put their fallacies on the table for all to see.

    Nobody takes any notice of this dickhead except when he’s in a court case. This just makes a martyr out of him.

  7. jamal — on 21st February, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

    So Austria had no problem with the recent cartoons being published in their papers, but jail a man for denying the holocaust.

    This just doesnt sound right.

  8. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Dear Homer, I’m blogging between psychiatric patients here, cut me some slack!

  9. Don — on 21st February, 2006 at 7:00 pm  

    Irving went to Austria knowing he could be arrested, posted his intentions on his website and basically dared the Austrians to do something about it. When they did, he tried to back track and claim his ideas had changed. As though the judge didn’t have access to all the crap he continued to produce. He was taking the piss, he should do his time. The free speech debate won’t miss his contributions.

  10. Sid D H Arthur — on 21st February, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    Damn good post and analysis Rohin.

    In spite of Don’s comment, I still don’t get why he went to Austria in the first place.

    Got to give BNP credit of resisting the urge to riot and set the Austrian embassy on fire over this free speech issue and for jailing one of their poster boys. ;-)

  11. Don — on 21st February, 2006 at 8:00 pm  

    ‘Last night Irving’s partner Bente Hogh said he had brought his imprisonment on himself by going to Austria despite the ban. She said: “He was not jailed just for his views but because he’s banned from Austria and still went. David doesn’t take advice from anyone. He thought it was a bit of fun, to provoke a little bit.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/farright/story/0,,1714403,00.html

    ‘Asked by the Observer last month why he appeared deliberately to court trouble in Austria by returning when he knew he could be arrested and prosecuted, he replied: “I’m from a family of officers and I’m an Englishman. We march towards the gunfire.”

    Note ‘from a family of officers’, Irving never actually served in the forces but seems to see himself as ‘officer class’.

    Looking for cheap publicity, misjudged the situation.

  12. Ted Matthews — on 21st February, 2006 at 8:04 pm  

    At first take this may seem like atotal over-reaction to something that was said 17 years ago. But hold on a minute; Austria has a tremendous guilt complex to over come.
    Hitler was Austrian. The Austrian government of 1939 welcomed him to attach Austria into a greater Germanic nation.
    When the truth came ou the guilt of the Austrians in their complicity was overwhelming.
    Austria has leaned over backward to recognise their complicity in the rise of Nazism,
    The fact that they are prepared to make such an enormous effort to ensure that historical revisionism is not lauded on the altar of political correctness is right and proper.
    Close on 55,ooo,ooo people died as a result of what Hitler and co instigated.
    Austria has a concience. The world should take note of this.
    Free Speech has nothing to do with it.
    David Irving was the Shirley Temple of the Neo-Nazis of today. I’m more than happy that his poisonous bile of untruths has been brought to book.
    He made his bed .. let him die in it..
    If only for the sake of future generations.

  13. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 8:32 pm  

    Thanks Sid. That’s an interesting quote Don, we march towards gunfire. Sounds as stupid as agreeing to go hunting with Dick Cheney.

    Yes Ted I too was thinking about mentioning Hitler – the fact Austria was the place from whence he came plays no small part in their mentality after the war.

  14. mirax — on 21st February, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

    Good point Ted . Austria and Germany ‘s holocaust denial laws arise out of a very particular and recent historical past and, while this may on the surface, appear a free speech issue, it is not. This context to the law is often missed, sometimes deliberately as with Jamal’s post above.

    Irving purposely (all that Englishman marching towards the fire crap) set off to tweak Austria’s nose and got what he sought. I think that he richly deserves 3 years in the slammer.

  15. mirax — on 21st February, 2006 at 8:45 pm  

    Deborah Lipstadt’s point that Irving deserves nothing but total obscurity is the best. Forget him.

  16. Jay Singh — on 21st February, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    David T has written the best post on this on Harry’s Place. He does not deserve the notoriety of being a martyr for right wingers and Islamists like Jamal.

  17. Khan — on 21st February, 2006 at 10:21 pm  

    Well get real, lets see the proof of the so called jewish holocaust.What about the holocaust created by the us and uk in iraq

  18. Jay Singh — on 21st February, 2006 at 10:23 pm  

    It’s The Wrath of Khan!

  19. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 10:35 pm  

    KHAAAAAAN!

  20. Bikhair — on 21st February, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    BananaBrain,

    “…well, i won’t weep for him, but the idea that this will shut holocaust deniers up is laughable. what worries me is just how popular his ideas, however scary, are – particularly in the muslim world.”

    Its the signs of the times really. Kafirs make a huge issue about the Quran mentioning that Muslims are not to take Jews and Christians as friends but it never dawns on them, which doesnt surprise me much, that apart of not taking them as friends and allies, instead of Muslims, that we arent supposed to take their ideas either. This would include all political, economic, and social ideas that have come out of Europe.

    There is a very poignant hadith about Muslims and their imitation of the kafir. Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alaihi wa salam) states that Muslims would immitate the disbelievers to such an extent that if they were to crawl into a lizards hole, we Muslims would be right behind them. Prophetic? I think so!

  21. Khan — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

    Allah knows all fools and infidels. Those who give dis-respect on this site will be found

  22. Sid D H Arthur — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:04 pm  

    Dave T, Dave TI was only joking
    When I said I’d like to smash every tooth
    In your head

    Oh … Dave T, Dave T, I was only joking
    When I said by rights you should be
    Bludgeoned in your bed

  23. Jay Singh — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

    Troll?

    Fool?

    You decide.

    I am still laughing at Bikhair’s vision of a bunch of kaffirs diving head first into lizard holes to be followed by the faithful.

  24. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:06 pm  

    Oh shit. We will be found Jay, WE WILL BE FOUND. I don’t know about you, but I’m scared. I am going to be struck down for the heinous crime of quoting Star Trek!

    I assume you’re saying “You decide” in a geordie accent like that Big Brother announcer. Who gors, who stears, you decide.

  25. Jay Singh — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:07 pm  

    Rohin

    I am going to go to my local Muslim quarter and tunnel into the ground like a lizard and see if anybody follows me ;-)

  26. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:09 pm  

    Hahaha! Mind you don’t run into any David Icke-style lizards when you’re there.

    What’s the wacko’s obsession with lizards? Icke AND Bikhair – two sides of the same reptilian coin.

    “Poignant” hadith. What a great choice of word.

  27. Sid D H Arthur — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    It is a poignant hadith, given that all the lizard holes are in the royal quarter of Riyadh.

  28. jamal — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:26 pm  

    “Denial ain’t an African river girlfriend!”

    Rohin, are you gay?

  29. Jay Singh — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:42 pm  

    Rohin, are you gay?

    Jamal, are you a homophobic bigot?

  30. Rohin — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

    jamal, are you ignorant to pop culture?

  31. Sid D H Arthur — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:46 pm  

    jamal, are you averse to a bit of shirtlifting?

  32. Refresh — on 21st February, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

    I know now where to come for light relief (and not the Vikrant type) – do we have a shrinking set of contributors to the site and are they all having to dig deep to make a post?

    Mr Irving is a particularly nasty individual – who can happily now move on – no longer denying the holocaust. But watch with great interest where he focusses next.

    He may yet get with the program.

  33. Jay Singh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:01 am  

    Oooh, cryptic! So enigmaticly sly, you old fox, you are sooo impressive.

  34. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:04 am  

    Thank you. I think.

  35. Jay Singh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:06 am  

    What program might the pompous Nazi twit get with next you old rogue?

  36. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:15 am  

    Well, he’s got 3 years to ‘re-habilitate’ himself and follow the Nick Griffin path. ‘We’re not racists’.

  37. Jay Singh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:16 am  

    Oh right.

    Yeah.

    Suppose so.

  38. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:17 am  

    Why, what did you think?

  39. jamal — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:32 am  

    “are you a homophobic bigot”

    Rohin, no I am not.

    Im aware of “pop culture”, are you aware of slang?

  40. Rohin — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:35 am  

    I don’t get what Refresh means. He is too cryptic and sly for me. Spell it out old boy, I’m thick.

  41. Rohin — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:38 am  

    Jay asked you that jamal, not me. I already had my answer. Cars me aware a slang chichibwoy. But I love how you’ve put “pop culture” in inverted commas as if it’s some magical thing other people partake in :D

  42. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    Nothing mysterious Rohin. It just came out that way. Saying too much in too few words – without taking responsibility, whilst having a side-swipe at Vikrant for his red-blooded interest in P3 (I assume its still P3).

    In other words how do we go from a major news story requiring serious debate to homophobia, “pop culture” to a link to ‘slang’ website. A link I regret following.

    And I don’t think you are thick – smug maybe.

  43. jamal — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:51 am  

    slight mix up of comments there. Im currently suffering from bird flu so everythings a bit blurry after overdosing on beechams. You get my drift tho, it was just an observation, no need to get defensive. After reading the likes of boudrillard and Bourdieu, ‘Popular culture’ has to be put in inverted comments, but thats another topic.

  44. Rohin — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    I can live with smug.

  45. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 1:00 am  

    Maybe I said.

  46. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 1:02 am  

    Rohin, don’t bother with a reply. I’ve just had a horrible deja vu feeling about this exchange, and I don’t want to go there.

    How about we get back to the topic in hand?

  47. Bikhair — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:13 am  

    Jamal,

    How does this sound, “Denial aint an African river, homie, homeboy, son, cousin, dawg, my nig, patna, cuz, blood, brotha…

  48. Bikhair — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:14 am  

    Jay Singh,

    “I am still laughing at Bikhair’s vision of a bunch of kaffirs diving head first into lizard holes to be followed by the faithful.”

    The above I will ignore, but the smell I can no longer tolerate. Ha Ha Ha…

  49. Sunny — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:15 am  

    that we arent supposed to take their ideas either.

    Bikhair you do chat some serious amount of crap don’t you. Prophet Mohammed always said to seek knowledge and wisdom from whereever it came. If you want to be dumb, I don’t have a problem…. but please don’t make out as if you’re speaking for all Muslims.

    BTW, I reject the explanation that just because Austria has a big guilty complex, therefore its allowed to. We either apply the same standards to everyone, or we don’t.

    IRan has plenty of history with the USA and Israel that it uses to justify its own crappy behaviour, but that don’t mix the mustard for me (or whatever the term is), so I don’t know why some people are buying this ‘guilty past’ excuse.

    This whole espisode has the danger of making Irving into a bigger man than he is. What next? The bloody Iranian president offering him political asylum and fund his writings? These are all publicity stunts, and may be that’s why Irving went to Austria – he’s been making a tidy sum since he got declared bankrupt by speaking to far-right groups in America. This could make it worse.

  50. douglas — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:34 am  

    It is interesting that this extremely ugly – (could you arrange a vote on that?, I’m only going by the photo at the top of the thread) – person decided that he would become a haulocost denier. What failures in an earlier life would make someone take up a career such as that? Is being pig ugly, sorry I’ll wait for the vote, sufficient reason to allow you to determine that your life will be lived on the basis of a lie? He, apparently , thought it was. At least as long as the money rolls in.

    We are talking here about an ego and a fool. He lost the Penguin trial big time, he is considered persona non grata in the circles he most wants to live in. Whilst I agree that Austria in particular should have laws against Vieneses painters, I think the guy is sucha busted flush that no further punishment is necessary. It is ironic that the country of Hitlers birth should send him down, is it not?

  51. Suhail Kazi — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:49 am  

    I try not to flame on co-commentors. But Bikhair is one crapload of Islamist asshattism. She(?) is the perfect embodiment, an all-in-one bundle, a never-to-be-made-again unique blend of everything that is wrong in the Muslim world. A machine which takes ideas and twists them in the most horrible way you and I would never imagine even in our dreams.

    Bikhair how about the poignant hadith where Prophet (pbuh) said (paraphrasing) : Go to China if you must to gain knowledge. (ilm haasil karne Cheen bhi jaana pade tau jaao). In those days of camel transportation, China was considered a far off land. Speak for yourself not for ummah.

    Enough with your vitriol! Now if you excuse me, I feel like puking.

  52. Suhail Kazi — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:52 am  

    spello… *co-commenters*.

  53. Sid D H Arthur — on 22nd February, 2006 at 7:57 am  

    I can live with smug.

    co-habiting or civil partnership?

  54. Cinnamon — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    Sunny said:

    “BTW, I reject the explanation that just because Austria has a big guilty complex, therefore its allowed to. We either apply the same standards to everyone, or we don’t.”

    Ouch :(

    It is not the guilt complex that is the problem!

    The problem is that there are still large pockets of Neonazi’s in Germany and Austria who believe the lies that Irving spreads, and the crap he writes unfortunatly keeps the ‘spirit of 1933′ alive.

    Moreover, it isn’t opinion, it is straighforward falsification of historic facts. He even admitted to that!

    Irving is not some kind of innocent, misguided british pensioner with a lose tongue as the BNP and the Islamofascists are claiming — he is a ‘spritual’ leader for the Neonazi movement, and his lies have fuelled the Neonazi’s ideology for years as a main driving force, by providing a (pseudo)’scientific base’.

    Anyhow, that aside, ‘Freedom of Speech’ is the right to offend with an opinion.

    Slander, incitement, lies and hatemongering are not opinions, and as such not covered by free speech.

    Put simply:

    If I write that you’re a pedophile, that isn’t free speech, that is a lie and you’d be more than entitled to take me to court for it and sue me for all the losses you incurred (lost career, divorce, having to move house, etc).

    But…

    If I write that you’re an educated, but alas mixed up british asian dude who needs some serious remedial classes in history, politics and formal logic, well, that is an opinion. I hope you see the difference here =)

    Cinnamon

  55. Jay Singh — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    Pompous patroniser alert.

  56. Simon B — on 22nd February, 2006 at 12:44 pm  

    Jamal,

    “So Austria had no problem with the recent cartoons being published in their papers, but jail a man for denying the holocaust.

    This just doesnt sound right. ”

    Blasphemous cartoons and denying genocide are incomparable.
    Just as cartoons blaspheming against Moses would be incomparable to denying the genocide in Bangladesh.

    Having said that, I think it was wrong to jail Irving. I have no sympathy for the scumbag, and I hope he rots, but he will be made a martyr as a result of this.

  57. Sunny — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    Cinnamon:
    The problem is that there are still large pockets of Neonazi’s in Germany and Austria who believe the lies that Irving spreads, and the crap he writes unfortunatly keeps the ’spirit of 1933′ alive.

    And you think by putting him in jail and giving him the oxygen of publicity will get rid of the problem?

    I don’t like the BNP or what they say, but jailing them is not going to get rid of their supporters so easily is it?

  58. mirax — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Rohin writes :”It’s hardly a case of one loonie country having a loonie law.”

    It is not even a loony law. Germany for example:
    Germany’s parliament passed legislation in 1985, making it a crime to deny the extermination of the Jews. In 1994, the law was tightened. Now, anyone who publicly endorses, denies or plays down the genocide against the Jews faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail and no less than the imposition of a fine.
    Please note that a democratic country, after much debate and having arrived at a broad consensus, enacted laws to safeguard its public peace.
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1833619,00.html

    Rohin writes : Indeed – two of these countries, Germany and France, were recently praised by many of the people who are now wringing their hands at the severity of this sentence. Why? Because they published those cartoons and upheld that legendary freedom of speech.

    There is so basic a difference between the two situations that such an analogous statement has no meaning. Publishing of the cartoons broke NO LAW whatsoever in those countries just as Irvings’ shifty, shitty history mangling broke no law in the UK- and the old geezer suffered no consequences whatsoever. The hand wringers are as deeply stupid as Islamists if they think to dictate to these countries what their own laws should encompass. Sovereignty? Heard of it? The HD law is only a matter for Austrians themselves to debate and decide on.

    Rohin writes: Had this verdict been handed down in France or Germany, what would public reaction have been?

    HD prosecutions have occurred in the past in both countries, to little public murmur.

  59. mirax — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    Me personally, I would rather that there was no HD law just as I would rather that Iran/Pakistan had no sharia-based blasphemy laws. But it is not up to me.If the Danes decide to pass blasphemy laws that will actually ensure future cartoonists poking fun at Islam/the prophet swiftly suffer the death penalty, that is just their their own business, no matter misguided it may be.

  60. mirax — on 22nd February, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Two arguments have been made repeatedly on PP.

    1. Publishing the cartoons was a grievous mistake since it added fuel to an Islamist agenda.

    2. Prosecuting Irving (and Griffin etc) is a big mistake it adds oxygen to an extremist racist and fascist cause.

    Both groups of extremists exist, they will attempt to seize public debate on issues close to their heart and produce their martyrs NO MATTER WHAT WE DO- that is the one dynamic that is inevitable. Why allow extremists to set the parameters of public discussion in the first place?

  61. Cinnamon — on 22nd February, 2006 at 4:12 pm  

    Sunny,

    the BNP is a joke and no comparison to what kind of nasty ilk there is in Germany and Austria. Those people are a very different dimension, and Nick Griffin is an intellectual midget in comparison to people like Horst Mahler.

    Why are men like Mahler dangeous(he is only one of quite a number of them), and what has Irving, the lying historian got to do with it?

    It should be straighforward — we all know the Holocaust happened, the Germans lost the war and Hitlerism was a stupid idea, this is modern Europe now, bingo, no?

    You have to understand that we brutally and honestly educate our kids about the war and what led to the Holocaust, perhaps a little later now, but, kids find out the truth very quickly anyway. Nazis, the Gestapo, the Waffen SS etc are not nebulous bogeyman figures to us, they were our immediate family, real flesh and blood, we know them personally!

    I was taught at the age of 7 (I found a picture in a book and asked questions, it was not possible to not tell me), and given that I’m 42 now, you can imagine what went through my head when I saw my grandfather and uncles at holiday times, or, what I was thinking when I saw an older person in general.

    It is more than a guilt trip, I think I need not tell you in detail what turmoil this produces in even an older child.

    Now, if someone comes and proves with facts to me that this ‘didn’t happen’ — it is very tempting to believe in it, and when it is backed up by ‘scientific fact’, well, you can imagine how much anyone wants their kin to not be nasty murderers and so easily succumbs to wanting to believe this lie when it is presented well and wrapped in academic respectability.

    Multiply this by millions of German-speaking families, each child that is growing up making this thoughtprocess in some way, there is no way around it for anyone.

    People don’t tend to spend a lot of thought how Germans are dealing with their post-war trauma, and so, the Holocaust Denial laws (and the many other laws we have aimed at killing this meme proper’n'good) are not understandable to them, and I hope that gives you a little bit of background depth.

    The recent Nazi demo in Dresden atttracted 5000 followers. The German government is still very actively running schemes to combat the rise in fascism amongst young people — there is a vibrant nazi music scene, in fact, faschist fashion is rather advanced, see here:
    http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,357628,00.html

    We can combat stupid ideas and usually kids give up the fascist fad quite quickly when challenged about it, but when false facts are brought in to support said dumb ideas, it is way harder to undo the damage done.

    So, this is why there are all those laws against the glorification of National Socialism, of which Holocaust Denial is only one of a set.

    Cinnamon

  62. Jai — on 22nd February, 2006 at 4:24 pm  

    I personally regard it as a mark of integrity that nations involved in actively collaborating with the Nazis are honest about their past (and attempt to prevent a recurrence, ie. via Holocaust denial laws etc), rather than denying their past responsibility & crimes, making excuses, or “blaming the victims”.

  63. mirax — on 22nd February, 2006 at 4:54 pm  

    #62. I concur 100% Jai. Beats the Japanese WW2 textbook revisionism that goes on to this day (and provides regular grist for a deep mistrust of modern Japan in East Asia) or the official Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide. Those who forget/distort history are fated to repeat it.

  64. Bikhair — on 22nd February, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    Suhail Kazi,

    “Bikhair how about the poignant hadith where Prophet (pbuh) said (paraphrasing) : Go to China if you must to gain knowledge. (ilm haasil karne Cheen bhi jaana pade tau jaao). In those days of camel transportation, China was considered a far off land. Speak for yourself not for ummah.”

    What about all the hadiths of what Prophet Muhammed (sallallahu alaihi wa salam) said about what knowledge or ilm is? He wasnt talking about communism or capitalism. He was talking about knowledge of the deen because that is what knowledge is. Besides I dont know where that hadith came from.

  65. Suhail Kazi — on 23rd February, 2006 at 7:55 am  

    “He wasnt talking about communism or capitalism. He was talking about knowledge of the deen because that is what knowledge is.”

    Now we’re talking. Does the name Khadijah ring a bell? Do you know Prophet (pbuh) was his employee. Have you heard about Usman ibn Affan and his trade caravans? Continuing with the China example, do you know how Islam spread in China? Let me tell you. When the first followers migratred to China they started trading their wares. However the Muslim migrants used to prompty mark their defective/damaged/seconds products unlike the natives. This very act of honesty in trade practices got many people thinking and wanting to know more about Islam than any formal preaching.

    Your idea of a clean deen-duniya separation is a mistaken notion. If Allah has sent you on the face of this earth, then surely he can’t expect you to live in isolation. With all due respect may I request you to re-read the basics of Islam. Thanks.

  66. Bikhair — on 24th February, 2006 at 7:30 am  

    Suhail Kazi,

    “Your idea of a clean deen-duniya separation is a mistaken notion. If Allah has sent you on the face of this earth, then surely he can’t expect you to live in isolation. With all due respect may I request you to re-read the basics of Islam. Thanks.”

    Does this mean war? Everything in the dunyah is permissible, as another hadith goes, except what has been made clear to the Muslims that it is haram. WIth regard to Muslims living in isolation, I dont even know where you got that from. Check Sahih Bukhari and the book of mortgages. The Messenger had tons of dealings with the disbelievers. In fact that is the only relationship we should have with them. THis wouldnt include allowing them into Darul-Islam and telling us to go against the Quran and the Sunnah lest we be made out to be human rights violators.

    None of those kafirs will protect me in the dunyah or the akhirah. President Bush save me from the hell fire! Not!

    If that came out of left field, I should have mentioned I am an American.

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