- I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the
death your right to say it.
- - "The Friends of Voltaire," 1906.
- Last Tuesday Canadian authorities quietly shipped Ernst
Zundel to Mannheim, Germany under cloak of night. Once his flight landed,
Zundel was placed under arrest and taken into custody to stand trial for
hate crime charges that were filed on behalf of the German people in 2003.
- Indeed, aside from this flight, Zundel has only briefly
seen the outside of a prison cell since his abduction from his home in
Tennessee by U.S. agents and subsequent deportation to Canada. His exile
to Germany is the culmination of a two-year "Star Chamber"-style
legal proceeding in which Zundel was unable to question witnesses, examine
available evidence or even know precisely what he was being charged with.
The court's ruling, however, was inevitable - Ernst Zundel presented a
grave risk to national and international security, and he had to go. The
quicker the better.
- What precisely has Zundel done that's incurred the wrath
of three powerful nations? He's questioned the accepted views of the Holocaust.
Does he acknowledge Jewish persecution during the second World War? Yes.
Does he agree with the official position on casualties and methods? No
- and he wants a dialogue with anyone who will listen.
- And therein lies the problem. In Germany (and many other
nations), questioning the Holocaust is a crime. Ernst Zundel is being persecuted
for a belief. Anyone besides me feel that's wrong?
- It does not matter to me if Ernst Zundel is right or
wrong. His contrary investigations into the machinations of Nazi atrocity
are interesting, but ultimately unimportant.
- What is important is the freedom to believe or say whatever
one wants. There are those that insist world oil reserves are on a permanent
and steady decline; still others are convinced aliens walk among us. If
they're right, God bless 'em; if they're wrong, the only thing they're
guilty of is being wrong (please note that I have no opinion on peak oil
or UFOs). Neither outcome should be a crime - how can someone be legally
responsible for an incorrect belief?
- That is what puzzles me. Anyone should have the ability
to debate the merits of whatever case he or she chooses without fear of
government reprisal. In supposed democratic states like Germany and Canada,
the very idea of free speech is a fundamental part of daily life - no topic
should be off-limits to public discourse. It certainly doesn't stop the
debater from believing in his cause and it clamps down on thought at the
same time. Oftentimes, it makes people question why the topic was so risqué
in the first place, creating new converts to a forbidden dialogue.
- "Truth needs no laws to support it," says Mike
Rivero. "Throughout history, only lies and liars have resorted to
the courts to enforce adherence to dogma."
- So if Ernst Zundel is wrong - and most of the world agrees
with that assessment - what better way to expose Zundel as a fool than
by letting himself hang on his own words? Why seek to prosecute someone
for believing something few people want or care to hear?
- Until his persecution by the Canadian courts, I had never
heard about Ernst Zundel despite his decades-long attack on Holocaust dogma.
He's been put on trial twice before for the same "crime," and
his list of enemies is long. By continuing to harangue a marginal player
in revisionist history, those who seek to condemn him have only shone the
spotlight on his research... and the fervor of vested interests trying
to impose a singular view of the Holocaust upon the world.
- Like Zundel, I believe that the topic of the Holocaust
should be openly and freely discussed and debated. I personally feel that
how it is remembered today does a great disservice to the millions of other
people who perished in World War II. The death toll was staggering - why
nitpick over which culture was impacted the most (not much of a debate
when you consider the Roma were effectively obliterated)? Anybody that
wants to disregard or debate that stance should be free to do so.
- Except they're not. Travel to countries with laws prohibiting
dissenting opinions on the Holocaust and you can be jailed right alongside
Zundel. Most startling is that Zundel is being prosecuted because his website
has the potential to reach German citizens. Does it frighten writers that
their text, written and stored in an entirely different country online,
can be used against them in a foreign court? It should.
- It's a sad state of affairs that Germany is now required
to try one of its own citizens for daring to think differently - the same
kind of ridiculous legal theatrics that would be at home in the Third Reich.
- There are those who would protect their interests in
maintaining the Holocaust image as-is. Are they opportunists? Perhaps.
Are they truly interested in examining Nazi atrocity if they quell alternative
viewpoints? No. Who maintains the legacy better - those who seek to learn
all they can or those who bury viewpoints under layers of dogma?
- In 1633 the revered scientist Galileo was brought before
the Roman Catholic Church and charged with heresy for his conviction in
a heliocentric solar system. His belief shook the very foundations religion
and science; his reward for accepting long-denied truth was the promise
of torture unless he recanted... and a lifetime of house arrest.
- Right or wrong, Galileo's beliefs deserved greater scrutiny
than the threat of an iron maiden. The research of Ernst Zundel and others
of the Holocaust shouldn't end in a 17th-century Inquisition. It should
be evaluated openly, regardless of the outcome.
- History is supposed to ruffle feathers. Chaining up a
man illegally, having him deported based on the word of a biased judge
and subjecting him to a trial that has no basis in a truly free and open
society doesn't help the Holocaust... it only helps others think there's
something to hide.
- Canon Fodder is a weekly analysis of politics and society.
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