Monday, February 20, 2006

David Irving

The BBC is reporting on the trial of well known holcaust denier David Irving. Is this right? I mean one of the pillars of the west is the freedom of speech. And here is a western nation jailing someone for idiotic thinking.

Of course this is happening all while Isalmic mobs are burning embassys, protesting in the streets, etc. for the cartoons dipicting a religous figure and calling for the arrest of those involved in the famous Danish political cartoons.

Ah, the irony.


Blogger Rachel said...

You would have been welcome at the Richard Evans talk - turns out he was an expert witness for the prosecution at David Irving's trial, funnily enough. He mentioned in questions that Tony Blair promised to bring in a Holocaust denial act in Britain as part of his 1997 election campaign. A study group (maybe even a Jewish one, can't quite remember) then pointed out that there were exactly thirty active Holocaust deniers in the country at the time; they also decided that having a law against it would be counterproductive in terms of dealing with the nutcases. It was quietly dropped.

Apparently also, fewer Americans believe that the Holocaust never happened than believe Elvis is still alive...

I really agree that it's easier to let ideas (like Holocaust denial and the Danish cartoons) out openly into the realm of public information so that they can be fought against openly there - not by burning people's embassies down, though. On the other hand I'm coming to the opinion that the publication of the Danish cartoons was deliberately intended to cause offense and perhaps provoke a reaction of the kind they ended up getting, though not on this scale. I read that a few years ago the same newspaper refused to publish some cartoons of Jesus Christ on the basis that they would offend religious Christians, but once they heard that portraying Mohammed is blasphemous within Islam, they seemed to waste no time asking for submissions for the contest. If they wanted to point out the intolerance of the Muslim world (which is a subject that deserves essays of its own, not an overlong comment on your blog), they haven't a leg to stand on if they can't treat their own religion of Christianity the same.

Heh, that was longer than I expected to write. Sorry.

Thanks for the compliment by the way - it was appreciated.

6:28 AM  

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