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Old 02-20-2006, 03:33 PM   #16
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It seems to me that laws like this border on the repressive. I am not a sympathizer of this man nor do I endorse his thoughts, opinion, or “research” (said in a loose sense). But I have to wonder, if Austria is serious about “staying clean” on this issue, why not arrest the “neo-Nazis” the article suggested he was preaching to?

It is censorship and unfortunately by censoring him, they are giving him a soap box to stand on. And when you censor folks like this, instead of letting them fade in to obscurity, you rally the extremists and create sympathizers.

Austria is up tight about that era of history for many a good reason. But what they have to remember is that you cant just erase it or diffuse it from a national conscious. My friends in Germany tell me that in school (at a university level no less) they just pass over the history as an unthinkable moment, something never to be revisited or recognized.

That sounds a lot like American politicians in the 1950s and 1960s who tried to pretend their parties ever had anything to do with pre-civil rights institutions. It sounds like the people that just wanted to erase that period in our history as “ugly”.

It does not work that way. The only way towards resolution is to confront it head on. To be open about it. To let children ask questions. To study it. To let everyone speak about it. Even if it mean that this guy has to get up their and spew offensive stuff, the burden of a free society and the process of recollection demands that he should be able to do this.

As for the Al Quedea reference, there is a large difference between a an active group that practices terrorism and extremism and a crazy old man who poses as an academic.

Plus I guess it does not help that we are in the midst of the al Quedea era right now.
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:53 PM   #17
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He has also got 3 years
Quote:
VIENNA, Austria - Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after admitting to an Austrian court that he denied the Holocaust — a crime in the country where Hitler was born.

Irving, who pleaded guilty and then insisted during his one-day trial that he now acknowledged the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million Jews, had faced up to 10 years behind bars. Before the verdict, Irving conceded he had erred in contending there were no gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," Irving testified, at one point expressing sorrow "for all the innocent people who died during the Second World War."

Irving, stressing he only relied on primary sources, said he came across new information in the early 1990's from top Nazi officials — including personal documents belonging to Adolf Eichmann — that led him to rethink certain previous assertions.

But despite his apparent epiphany, Irving, 67, maintained he had never questioned the Holocaust.

"I've never been a Holocaust denier and I get very angry when I'm called a Holocaust denier," he said.

Irving's lawyer said he would appeal the sentence.

"I consider the verdict a little too stringent. I would say it's a bit of a message trial," attorney Elmar Kresbach said.

State prosecutor Michael Klackl declined to comment on the verdict. In his closing arguments, however, he criticized Irving for "putting on a show" and for not admitting that the Nazis killed Jews in an organized and systematic manner.
link

Criminalisation of thought

How much longer until religious beliefs are offered protection from naughty men in the name of equality?
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:56 AM   #18
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Originally posted by verte76


No, actually most Austrians support the anti-Nazi laws, according to our resident Austrian, hiphop.
Thats right.

And we´re not talking about particular groups, but about the majority of Austrians.
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tarvark
But I have to wonder, if Austria is serious about “staying clean” on this issue, why not arrest the “neo-Nazis” the article suggested he was preaching to?
I assume Irving wanted to talk to young Neo Nazi groups.

We can´t arrest them as long as they are not showing their affection in public, i.e. deny the holocaust in a magazine themselves, or march the Austrian streets in Nazi uniforms and svastikas, or put a Nazi flag in front of their window.

Also secret meetings are forbidden, but in that case, the police would have to find out about them and monitor them (terrorist activity - we´ve had our share of right wing fanatic letter bombs too).

Being at a meeting where a Holocaust denier speaks is no offense per se, but organizing such a meeting is illegal.
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Old 02-21-2006, 04:00 AM   #20
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He was stupid enough to go back into Austria when he had been banned and Holocaust denial is illegal there, so in that sense he should face up.

However I agree withe Deborah Lipstadt, who said that the best way to try and stop Holocaust denial is by presenting the facts and not by imprisoning the deniers (I'm paraphrasing somewhat).
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:14 AM   #21
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hiphop, could you explain why the majority of Austrians still feel that these laws are worth having today?

I guess I feel the same kind of ambivalence on this topic that melon voiced earlier--here in the US, hate speech is protected and thus far anyway, it doesn't seem we're any the worse for it in the big picture. I guess you could argue that to a point, there could be some vague analogies drawn to the Civil War perhaps (though I know of no hate groups that romanticize a return to that particular historical setting), but it is an awfully problematic comparison. I do think it's easy for Americans to forget, stupid though it may sound, that WWII killed 62 million people, destroyed 70% of Europe's industrial infrastructure, and left many European countries utterly in tatters and severely depopulated. Given that context, I can understand why some might feel that anyone who would romanticize the ideologies that (at least in part) led to that isn't someone whose free speech is worth troubling oneself over. But I am speculating here, because I really don't know precisely what resonance neo-Nazism holds for Austrians today. Certainly far-right parties do seem to making a comeback in many European countries--though their focus today seems to be Middle Eastern, North African and certain other immigrant groups more than anyone else. Roma (Gypsies) continue to be subjected to periodic outbursts of violence and general abandonment by the state in many European countries, though as far as I know there is little in the way of organized concerted efforts to drive them out.

It's just easy for us to take for granted, I guess, that these kinds of ideologies have for whatever reason never had the match-into-gasoline effect here in the US that they've sometimes had in Europe. When Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were tried and convicted of treason in 1951, a scene that played out over and over in Jewish communities across the country was terrified, newly arrived Holocaust refugees being assured by American Jews whose families had been here for generations that No no no, don't worry, there won't be any pogroms here, no one is going to firebomb our neighborhood and no one is going to slit your children's throats as they walk to school. To European Jews of Central and East European extraction, it was unthinkable that there would not be waves of violence and persecution following such a scenario. But that was here, and that was then, and I don't really know how to make sense of what these laws mean to Austrians and Germans and Czechs and Poles today.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:55 AM   #22
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Quote:
European press split over Irving

BBC roundup

Hans Rauscher in Austria's Der Standard

Holocaust deniers like David Irving want to trivialise these inconceivable crimes and make them politically acceptable. That is the decisive point. Whoever wants to render National Socialism harmless wants to revive it as a political option. It's just too much to ask of democracy to tolerate this. And it is deplorable treatment of the victims.

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.

Editorial in Spain's El Mundo

It goes without saying that Irving's harebrained historical theories deserve none of our respect. But perhaps for that very reason, one cannot fail to wonder if, today, there is any point in keeping in force legislation conceived in a very different historical context. Fifty years after the end of Nazism, Holocaust denial - not, of course, incitement to or glorification of genocide - must stop being a crime in Europe. Can it be right that someone should go to prison for saying Auschwitz did not exist, when those who deny the crimes of Stalin or the tortures of the Inquisition go unpunished?

Sweden's Sydsvenska Dagbladet

His criminalisation can be said to have met one objective: if Irving is humbly apologising, then neo-Nazis around the world have lost an important ideologue. There will be alarming views and the falsification of history will continue to flourish. What is really significant is that false claims - such as that the gas chambers never existed and the Holocaust never happened - can be contested and exposed in an open public debate.


French daily Le Monde

Several factors explain the huge interest that the trial has sparked across the English Channel. The boycott of the Holocaust Memorial Day by Muslim groups decreed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and the controversy over a decision by the Imperial War Museum in Manchester to devote a part of its building to the history of the extermination of Jews has prompted another debate on the re-emergence of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom. The publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad has also demonstrated the survival of anti-Jewish sentiment among a section of British Muslim opinion. Finally, Jewish organisations have reported an increase in racist and anti-Semitic acts in the United Kingdom in 2005.

Italy's La Stampa

In upholding unsustainable ideas, Irving is not being an 'ingenuously' stubborn academic. He is a character who has intentionally put his historical intelligence at the service of neo-Nazi, racist and anti-democratic movements.

Editorial in the UK's The Independent

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.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
hiphop, could you explain why the majority of Austrians still feel that these laws are worth having today?
Yes but excuse me.. I dont really want to, Ive explained my view and the official Austrian view at length in another thread about Irving.

Good point you made about the Roma and today´s racism in Europe.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:14 AM   #24
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Hiphop made detailed arguments for Austria's position in this thread
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Hiphop made detailed arguments for Austria's position in this thread
Thank you

for the ones like me who dont have the search function.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:52 PM   #26
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Thanks for posting the link, nb. I was still recovering from surgery at that time and missed the whole month that discussion took place in. Apologies for my ignorance. It's a great thread, wish I could've been there for it.
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:33 PM   #27
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Too harsh of a sentence - he's an idiot but even idiots have the right to free speech, no matter how repulsive their views. A suspended sentence and fine would have been adequate.
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