Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Debate Continues

And this is a response to the response. I'm lucky to have such passionately articulate readers (although the topic at hand is not a barrel of laughs).
This concludes the part where I post things readers send me via email. You are all welcome to continue this fascinating discussion by posting your comments directly.

"The reader’s note that commented on the “controversial topic” confused me. Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but she seems to be saying explicitly that freedom of the press, and implicitly that freedom of speech, are sacrosanct, except in the case of Holocaust deniers. I’ll try to express my misgivings point by point.

1. She writes: “To compare the right of the newspaper to publish anti-muslim cartoons while having laws that restrict holocaust denial is truly to compare apples and oranges.”
They’re apples and apples. Either one has the right to free speech or one doesn’t. If anyone has the right to free speech, then everyone has to have it, or it’s a sham. As heinous as Holocaust deniers are, free speech laws cannot apply to everyone minus them.

2. She writes: “The idea that the hurt caused by denying the holocaust can be equated to the pain
triggered by the drawing of a cartoon is insulting to me.” The “insult” merely shows where her sympathies lie and what her blind spots are. No doubt the pain that the cartoons triggered toward many Muslims is equal to the pain triggered by the Holocaust deniers to many Jews and their sympathizers. She seems to have a blind spot for the pain caused by the cartoons. To some Muslim readers they were clearly tantamount to a hate crime.

3. As the reader indicates, Holocaust denial is among the purest forms of anti-Semitism. And the tide of anti-Semitism is rising, principally in Europe, where in the past few years synagogues have been firebombed, Jewish cemeteries have been defaced, Jewish children have been beat up on their way home from school, etc. As time passes and fewer witnesses to World War II remain alive, the Holocaust deniers’ view of history might well become more acceptable, particularly by
ignorant and benighted people. However, that doesn’t mean their views should beoutlawed. They should be denounced, roundly, loudly and clearly, as most governments, for example, denounced the new president of Iran’s espousal of Holocaust denial.

4. I have some, albeit limited, experience with Holocaust deniers. I am a reporter, and I interviewed a handful of them for two articles I wrote. The most frustrating and unnerving problem is that they have a prepared counterargument for whatever evidence is presented to them that the Holocaust indeed occurred. They quote chapter and verse from dozens of books, by the vile David Irving and various others, that spuriously refute any and all evidence of the Holocaust. That most of the world treats their views as absurd is, to them, mere proof that the Jews control the media, and thus the hearts and minds, of the world. They cannot be swayed. What’s more, the conviction and jail sentence of the despicable David Irving only serves their – his – arguments. His place behind bars will not make the deniers reconsider their point of view. Irving becomes in their eyes a Christian martyr, prosecuted and crucified for telling “the truth.”
Frighteningly, his conviction might make others come around to the deniers’ point of view, partly because they see the Holocaust deniers being denied their right to free speech.
5. For the record, my mother was a Holocaust survivor. Most of her family was killed in the concentration camps. Personally, I’d like to see David Irving roasted on a spit with an apple in his mouth, in my view fitting, given the pig that he is. Luckily I
don’t make the laws. As hateful as I believe him to be, I cannot deny that he has the same right to free speech that I have. She’s dead now, but I daresay my mother would have felt the same."

1 comment:

  1. hey

    gracias por tu visita y tu comentario

    nos andamos viendo por acá