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Holly2003 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 16 Apr 10, 12:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8625543.stm  

I believe this German law is wrong. This man should be free to air his views about this historical event, no matter how odious some find it. I was a bit shocked he was fined not for denying the Holocaust but for questioning its scale. He claims 300,000 died, whereas the figure most scholars use today is 3 million (downscaled from 6 million, which was the common figure used until relatively recently). Surely the scale of the event should at least be open to question, without fear of criminal prosecution. It would be interesting to hear some German points of view,


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Posted: 16 Apr 10, 16:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

He did deny the holocaust saying that it was "not a deliberate policy" by Hitler and there were no gas chambers in the concentration camps. Please see the interview here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FobkmF21f2w

The interview was done in Germany, that's why he was charged. The law that  makes the denial of the Holocaust a criminal offense must bee seen in the context of German history. It allows the courts to act against Nazis when they spread their hatred in public. It is also forbidden to show any Nazi symbols in public. The general public does not mind these laws - many Germans think that it is more important that Jews are not offended publicly in Germany than to allow Nazis to spread their lies in public. These  laws make it easier for courts to charge Nazis for specific crimes rather than trying to charge them for "hatred speech" or something like that which is hard to prove in court.  My personal opinion is that we should not restrict the freedom of speech with such laws, we should be secure enough with our democratic values to bear a minority who will never learn the lessons of history. However, there are many other things in my country which I would find more important to change than these laws. At least they give us a tool to shut up a Nazi like Williamson.

Now you may ask why a British bishop has been prosecuted for a casual interview he gave in Germany. The answer is: Williamson has a history as a well known anti-Semite. He is a member of the Pius society, an ultra Catholic group who refuses to accept the change in attitude against the Jews in the Catholic church  (the Pius brotherhood still insists that "the Jews killed our Lord Jesus").Therefore, the members of the Pius society were expelled from the church by Pope John Paul II but re-admitted by Pope Benedict -  most Germans were outraged about the (German!!) Pope re-admitting the Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites into the church. That is why Angela Merkel asked the Pope to make a public statement about the denial of the Holocaust.  If Williamson were just an unknown bishop, this interview would probably have gone by unnoticed.


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Posted: 17 Apr 10, 06:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I don't believe in Freedom of Speech as a standalone concept because it's incomplete.  The right to freedom of speech should never, ever be seen anywhere without the responsibility to thinking-before-you-open-your-fucking-mouth.  

Surprise surprise, the people who tend to say the worst shit tend to cry foul that the right to freedom of speech has been violated when they're chastised, while never really exercising the option to say something worth listening to in the first place.


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Posted: 17 Apr 10, 07:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote: He did deny the holocaust saying that it was "not a deliberate policy" by Hitler and there were no gas chambers in the concentration camps. Please see the interview here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FobkmF21f2w

The interview was done in Germany, that's why he was charged. The law that  makes the denial of the Holocaust a criminal offense must bee seen in the context of German history. It allows the courts to act against Nazis when they spread their hatred in public. It is also forbidden to show any Nazi symbols in public. The general public does not mind these laws - many Germans think that it is more important that Jews are not offended publicly in Germany than to allow Nazis to spread their lies in public. These  laws make it easier for courts to charge Nazis for specific crimes rather than trying to charge them for "hatred speech" or something like that which is hard to prove in court.  My personal opinion is that we should not restrict the freedom of speech with such laws, we should be secure enough with our democratic values to bear a minority who will never learn the lessons of history. However, there are many other things in my country which I would find more important to change than these laws. At least they give us a tool to shut up a Nazi like Williamson.

Now you may ask why a British bishop has been prosecuted for a casual interview he gave in Germany. The answer is: Williamson has a history as a well known anti-Semite. He is a member of the Pius society, an ultra Catholic group who refuses to accept the change in attitude against the Jews in the Catholic church  (the Pius brotherhood still insists that "the Jews killed our Lord Jesus").Therefore, the members of the Pius society were expelled from the church by Pope John Paul II but re-admitted by Pope Benedict -  most Germans were outraged about the (German!!) Pope re-admitting the Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites into the church. That is why Angela Merkel asked the Pope to make a public statement about the denial of the Holocaust.  If Williamson were just an unknown bishop, this interview would probably have gone by unnoticed.
So a researcher, academic etc., could publish a book or give a lecture about the Holocaust challenging its scale or re-assessing some aspect of it, and s/he wouldn't have to fear prosecution?


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 17 Apr 10, 10:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@Holly:

It is simply not true that the "accepted figure" is now three million. The most commonly agreed upon number is still 5,9 million Jews, 2.5 million Soviet POWs, 1.75 million ethnic Poles, 500 000 - 1 million gypsies and about 100 000 homosexuals, freemasons and various victims for the entire holocaust. A total of over 10 million.


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Posted: 18 Apr 10, 01:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think that gyspy figure is a bit inflated.

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Posted: 19 Apr 10, 00:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holly - yes. Such research could not be illegal. Of course you can do your own research about the Holocaust and maybe you come to the conclusion that 4,2 million people were killed and not 5, 8 million. Personally, I think that the numbers do not make the crime any less horrible and unique. However, to claim that there were no gas chambers is not an issue that can be seriously debated on an academic level. Mr. Williamson is not a scientist, he is a classic Jew hater and as you could see in the video he was quite aware that he was violating German law in his interview.


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Posted: 19 Apr 10, 06:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote: Holly - yes. Such research could not be illegal. Of course you can do your own research about the Holocaust and maybe you come to the conclusion that 4,2 million people were killed and not 5, 8 million. Personally, I think that the numbers do not make the crime any less horrible and unique. However, to claim that there were no gas chambers is not an issue that can be seriously debated on an academic level. Mr. Williamson is not a scientist, he is a classic Jew hater and as you could see in the video he was quite aware that he was violating German law in his interview.

Okay, that makes more sense. At face value the law seems to suggest one official version of history, inert and protected by the law. Obviously that's not a healthy state of affairs, but isn't the case here. Thanks.


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 19 Apr 10, 11:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It doesn't have to be against the law to do research for the law or public sensitivities to shape or stunt academia.  I personally know of a law prof who had to drastically cull research on a woman named Karla Homolka from her doctoral dissertation at the 11th hour because you can't say Karla Homolka in Ontario without everybody losing their collective minds.  She had to make her case for a new criminal defense based on brainwashing and coercion in Canadian law based on cases from the US and the UK instead.  Absurd and inexcusable.

And funding is another issue. It seems to me that the humanities are particularly vulnerable to the personal views, ethics, fears and ambitions of individuals on grant committees arbitrarily steering the course of human knowledge.  I read a great article called something like 'The Black Box of Peer Review' a year or two ago.  If I recall it was from a book called 'How Professors Think' which I'd like to read as well.  I can't imagine those laws in Germany and other places don't impact a whole lot outside a court of law.

Free speech issues make for fascinating debate.  I once argued that the UK was correct in banning those God Hates Fags people last year or the year before just to see if I could hold the position and to refine my own views, which are still evolving.  Most difficult for me is how to think when the right to free speech clashes with other rights or proposed rights. Does true democracy require that it supersede everything else?  Still thinking about that.

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Posted: 20 Apr 10, 12:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

GratefulFan wrote: 

Most difficult for me is how to think when the right to free speech clashes with other rights or proposed rights. Does true democracy require that it supersede everything else?  Still thinking about that.


Ha.  Quoting myself just one day later after just reading this:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-supreme-court-strikes-down-animal-cruelty-law/article1540482/

Free speech clashes with another current issue at Queenzone: animal cruelty laws

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Posted: 20 Apr 10, 16:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd never heard of Karla Homolka until your post.

Two words: Holy Fuck!


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)
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Posted: 20 Apr 10, 18:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You probably knew more about Homolka before you actually looked her up. I'm much more worried about a social phenomenon surounding her that is so bizarre that it requires acaemics to toss out their best reasearch  than I am about the extremely unlikely possibility of her reoffending.

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Posted: 25 Apr 10, 07:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freedom of Speech is not equal to Freedom to Tell Lies.

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Posted: 28 Apr 10, 11:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holly2003 wrote" "He claims 300,000 died, whereas the figure most scholars use today is 3 million (downscaled from 6 million, which was the common figure used until relatively recently." What?! The figure has not been downgraded. It has always been 6 million, which itself is pretty conservative.

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Posted: 29 Apr 10, 09:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Holy... I'm just curious why you bring this subject.


I got to try al little more,

because I'm an asshole but I'm learning.



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Posted: 29 Apr 10, 10:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I saw an item on the BBC about it. Plus I work in an area where freedom to express ideas is paramount. There are Germans who post here who could maybe reveal more than the short BBC story could tell me (indeed that turned out to be the case). I have no particular interest in the story itself, just the principle.


"With a population of 1.75 million, Northern Ireland should really be a footballing minnow. Instead, they could be better described as the piranhas of the international game" (FIFA.com)