Thursday, February 16, 2006

Selective free speech.

Irving to admit Holocaust denial

Ian TraynorThursday February 16, 2006
The Guardian

David Irving, the Nazi apologist and historian jailed in Austria for the past three months, said he would plead guilty in court next week to charges of denying the Holocaust.
He was arrested in southern Austria last November on charges dating from speeches he delivered in the country in 1989. Austria has the harshest laws anywhere criminalising Holocaust denial although it is also regarded as being reluctant to prosecute Nazi war criminals.
According to the charge sheet which has been obtained by the Guardian, Irving said in two speeches in Austria 1989 there were no "extermination camps" in the Third Reich, the gas chambers were a "fairytale" and Hitler had protected the Jews of Europe.
Irving faces up to 10 years in prison for such statements in Austria.

The sub-text to this, of course, is the trumpeting about free speech in the West over the Prophet Mohammed cartoons, when true free speech is a myth. It's illegal to say that the holocaust didn't happen. Stupid, yes, racist, yes, denying the evidence, yes...but why illegal?
It's a very selective 'free speech' system isn't it.


nzm said...

I think that you have to be German or Austrian to truly understand how the stigma of WWII, Hitler and the Jewish genocide has impacted on the people of these countries.

J is German, and we had her parents here recently to stay with us for 2 weeks. They speak limited English - enough to get by - certainly better than my German!

Going down in our tower elevator one morning, they met a friendly Arab man who first asked if they were from Russia. When they said Germany, he gave them the Sieg Heil/Heil Hitler Nazi salute!

J's parents were aghast, and in their halting English, told the man that all this happened before their time - and in fact this is true, as the war ended 70 years ago - the same age as J's parents.

The Arab man was extremely puzzled - as he still thought that this was a standard German greeting.

It was a prime example of how easily offense can be given when not intended!

J's parents were very upset by what he had done - as it is illegal to also give the Nazi salute in Germany. We tried to reason with them that this is how the Arabs feel about most things that the west does that they find offensive, but it took a couple of days to settle down her mother!

J isn't here to confirm - she's in Germany right now - but I believe that the bans on salutes, swastika flags, anti-jewish sentiment etc all came about because of the uprising and growing popularity of the neo-nazi movement - the skinheads. (in the 70s?)

The government at the time had to pass legislation that made pro-Nazi rallies etc illegal in order to curtail the growing violence and unrest that this group was causing.

nzm said...

OK - correction on the above.

The bans were put in place after WWII by - drumroll - the Americans!

Who then proceeded to asset-strip Germany of all its artworks and artefacts, claiming them to be "spoils of war".

Hot Lemon& Honey said...

I totally agree with your article..its funny how certain things can be taken to court because they are offensive to certain court..while other things "are out of the country's hands"...
LOL is all I can do and wait for another double standard to appear.