Sunday, August 26, 2007

Crimes against history

"The most striking difference between the ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of the argument at the expense of truth, where as the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality. In other words, one destroyed the dignity of human thought where as the modern manipulators of facts stand in the way of the historian. For history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility ... is in danger, whenever facts are no longer held to be part and parcel of the past and present world, and are misused to prove this or that opinion" - Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

"The Denial of Genocide is a form of aggression. It continues the process of genocide. It strives to reshape history in order to rehabilitate the perpetrators and demonize the victims. It prevents healing of the wounds inflicted by genocide. Denying genocide is the final stage of genocide--it murders the dignity of the survivors and destroys the remembrance of the crime. The Turkish government's denial of the Armenian Genocide encourages--by its very nature--the current Neo-Nazi programs that deny the Jewish Holocaust,current Cambodian policies which seek to deny the genocide there in the 1970s,and every other program which seeks to deny genocide; and it threatens the meaning of the genocidal episodes that are currently occurring in Africa and the Balkans. The Turkish government's tactics pave the way for state-sponsored Holocaust and Genocide denial tactics in the future." - Statement issued by scholars and writers in regards to Turkey's efforts to deny the Armenian genocide (h/t Deborah Lipstadt's Blog)


Anonymous said...

Yes, the denial of genocide is actually a part of the whole program of genocide. It is an extension of genocide itself (which is why I seriously question if David Irving's "studies" really fall under the category of "free speech").

Hume's Ghost said...

I unequivocally think Irving's Holocaust denial falls under free speech, but I also unequivocally think he's a racist bastard that needs to be rebutted and refuted whenever he opens his mouth.

When I was in college we had a debate in an ethics course I took about whether or not hate speech should be legal.

I was on the side of that it should be. One of my debate opponents brought up Martin Luther's hate-speech against Jews being used as Third Reich propaganda as evidence that hate-speech being illegal. My retort was that free speech wasn't allowed in Nazi Germany, nor were Catholic Church and nascent Protestant movement in Luther's time free speech advocates.

Criminalizing hate speech to me is a bit like cutting down the laws to go after the devil

More: And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

- Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons