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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How free is free?

So David Irving has been jailed for denying the holocaust. Unpleasant chap though he is, I think it's wrong that this law exists and has been used against him. I accept, nonetheless, that he broke the law as it stood in Austria; as did he. For this, for good or for ill, he was going to be punished. Surely it's right though that we question the priorities of what is, broadly speaking, "our society" in the light of the three year sentence handed down?

Just to focus the mind, David Irving will be deprived of his liberty for three years for merely questioning, 17 years ago, an established, albeit important, public opinion. That is the same sentence as handed out for this woman, for committing what is, in the eyes of many, one of the most offensive crimes in the world at the moment, this killer, this burglar, for burglary from an Army worker giving him a lift home and repeated criminal damage, this man for committing 47 offences of burglary and theft, and this "trained carer who used her experience to prey on vulnerable elderly people". Is that really parity? Is that really just?

Other parts of the world, however, are less compromising. About which should we be more concerned? Which helps us better "engage" with the Muslim world? Moreover, who dares suggest our focus and energies are misplaced?

3 Comments:

At 10:57 am, Blogger Ken said...

David Irving will be deprived of his liberty for three years for merely questioning, 17 years ago, an established, albeit important, public opinion.

Let's be less equivocal about this. This wasn't "merely questioning" a "public opinion"; it was denying an established fact. The Holocaust happened. To suggest it didn't is sick, vile, wrong, and in this case used to justify Nazi beliefs.

I don't believe it is a crime, Irving should not have been jailed. But let's not talk down what an awful, horrible man he really is.

 
At 12:23 pm, Blogger Chris Palmer said...

"To suggest it didn't is sick, vile, wrong, and in this case used to justify Nazi beliefs." - Ken

Some require occular proof. Not everbody believes the textbooks/allied/soviet propaganda.

 
At 11:55 am, Blogger Edward said...

Yes, there is a truly vile element about denying it. Nonetheless, he didn't actually harm anyone, and the laws of defamation have completely and utterly discredited him when he did approach causing harm.

I also 100% agree with you about him personally: "But let's not talk down what an awful, horrible man he really is."

It is still no less outrageous that merely questioning whether something took place which blatantly obviously did is a crime punishable in this way.

 

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