Not-So-Free Speech in Europe

For the last couple of months, European newspapers have been taking heat for publishing cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammed. The newspaper editors say it was making a statement against self censorship and in defense of freedom of speech.

The rebellion against self-censorship is understandable. But free speech was never in question -- there was no danger that the newspapers would be sanctioned by their home governments for choosing to print the cartoons. Yet not all speech is equally free in Europe, and the conviction in Austria of British historian David Irving delivered a jarring reminder of that fact. The Austrian court sentenced Irving yesterday to three years in prison for making statements denying the reality of the Holocaust.

Both the Associated Press and the New York Times report that Irving was convicted under a 1992 law, yet he made the offending statements in 1989. (He now admits those statements were wrong.) Britain's The Independent reports a more logical scenario: that the law violated in fact dated back to 1947, "banning Nazi revivalism and criminalising the 'public denial, belittling or justification of National Socialist crimes'."

In both Irving's case and the cartoon controversy, the accusation is essentially that blasphemy has been committed -- "an irreverent or impious act, attitude, or utterance in regard to something considered inviolable or sacrosanct." In countries like Pakistan, which has the death penalty for blasphemy, the Koran is an inviolable truth that must be protected by law. In Austria and elsewhere in Europe (and in Israel, which also has a law against denying the Holocaust), the tragedy of the Holocaust is also an inviolable truth that must be protected by law.

The trouble with laws like this is that they criminalize misinterpretation. This is not to say that historians, newspaper editors or anyone else should make false statements, but is it reasonable to make being wrong a criminal offense? (Note: Defamation, libel, slander and the like are only civil offenses in the United States -- no jail time involved.)

D.D. Guttenplan admits that after Bosnia and Rwanda, we can't pretend that free speech is an "absolute value. Sticks and stones may break bones, but name-calling can clear a path for genocide" -- as happened in Rwanda as Hutus listened to radio programs inciting them to violence. Guttenplan also believes that countries that have been most affected by genocide should not be belittled for having laws on the books that limit speech when it comes to those experiences. For Britain, though, "existing laws against incitement to racial hatred are sufficient."

Why, then, aren't such laws sufficient for other countries as well, even those where, as Guttenplan writes, "the experience of occupation and the shame of collaboration still rankle"? Isn't incitement of racial, ethnic or religious hatred the real threat?

Incitement laws would cover certain aspects of Holocaust denial without limiting the right of people, including underinformed historians, to say they don't see the evidence that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Irving, for example, has written that many of the Jews believed to be gassed in concentration camps actually died of communicable diseases.

The Guardian quotes a rabbi as saying "I welcome yet another public rebuff for David Irving's pseudo-historical views, although personally I prefer to treat him with disdain rather than with imprisonment." In The Asian Age, Farrukh Dhondy also believes that "Irving is revolting, self-deluded and sad and it will do no good to put him in jail."

"I don't believe in winning battles via censorship," says Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt. "The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth." Dhondy agrees, insisting that "liberal democracies can't afford in today's world to create a crime of political heresy. Insult to religion and to the feelings of groups of people ought to be incorporated, albeit with accompanying debate and protest, as part of the dialectic of freedom."

Incitement laws are by no means perfect, but it seems unreasonable to limit freedom of speech only when it comes to the Holocaust. After all, where should the line be drawn? Should denying the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia or of Tutsis in Rwanda be a criminal offense? Of course, incitement laws themselves have pretty big implementation problems -- is it still incitement if no one is incited? How about, as in the case of the cartoons, when incitement is an unintended consequence of speech?

At the Global Clashes blog, Kiki writes that laws like the one under which Irving was convicted -- and hate speech laws in general -- "are not only counterproductive, but are on the contrary helping those with hateful and anti-Semitic view to attract attention and to find a bigger arena on which to try to diffuse their hatred. I understand the noble sentiment behind having laws that forbid people to deny history especially one as significant as the Shoah, but I believe that by making hatred speech the forbidden fruit they make it more attractive instead of making it less so."

Over at Vox Popoli, written by WorldNetDaily's "Christian Libertarian" blogger, the feeling is that Irving's case demonstrates "that Muslims really do have a genuine legal case for prosecuting the publishers of the notorious Danish cartoons."

Debaters, what do you think? Is Austria severely overreacting to statements made nearly two decades ago? Or are European countries, and Israel, right to curtail freedom of speech when it comes to the Holocaust? Should such restrictions be extended to cover other historical and religious heresy?

By Emily Messner |  February 21, 2006; 10:43 AM ET  | Category:  Issue Updates
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I disagree that both cases are "blasphemy", while I do agree on the troublesome nature of making political speech, even if it's malignant, illegal.

The cartoons might be considered blasphemous, but only in light of the "idolization" argument against depicting M'med.

The denial isn't 'blasphemy', it's intentionally ethnically motivated marginalization based on blind denial of historical fact.

I guess if you consider 'historical truth' to be something that needs qualified in spiritual terms like 'sacrosanct' rather than defining it all in terms based on the sheer illogic of rejecting proven historical fact, you might see it as 'blasphemy'.

But it's better to refer to it in terms that remove it from the realm of belief and place it in the realm of the scientifically and historically quantifiable. It is, or it isn't true. To couch a stupid refutation of history based on misrepresentation of facts as "blasphemy" gives ignorance spiritiual power.

Posted by: T for Ted | February 21, 2006 11:59 AM

T for Ted,
I'd argue that the denial is indeed blasphemy. To many the idea of the holocaust has actually become akin to a religious event, similar to likening the holocaust to the enslavement of hebrews in ancient times and Moses' act of freeing them. As this was religiously motivated, many see the holocaust and the subsequent forming of Israel as another stage in 'God's work.' To deny it is to deny part of a religion and its history.

For you, and most certainly for me, this act is simply a denial of world history as it is documented. For others, this is more of a denial of someone's religious history. I've met too many people who are fanatical about Israel and the holocaust to believe otherwise.

Posted by: Freedom | February 21, 2006 12:21 PM

as the Fourth Reich arises from Americas' affluent sector...


I think, I'd want to send a message to the people.

on a human note though, it seems that if the author has admitted his "wrongheadedness" then what's the point?

Posted by: I think that you're all ignoring the political climate that it's occuring in... | February 21, 2006 12:41 PM

the president has painted us as being in a "war" in order to federalize the government and take it into the nazi campe.


this war has us being attacked by CIA forces disguised as Arabic peoples...the "semites"


that we trained to attack us.


if he wants to be consistent, he shouldn't be having Arabic peoples controlling our ports otherwise it looks like he knows we have nothing to fear from Arabic peoples...


he's being inconsistent.


let's look at "war powers"


very simply, we weren't attacked by Iraq....we're attacking them, it's an operation not a war....pretty simple....the president, cheyney, powell have admitted that...rescind the war powers and investigate for fraud...

I know for a fact that they planned on invading Iraq before 9/11, right?

if an action is fraudulent, there are criminal charges that can be filed as well as civil ones...

when asked about terrorist acts the president reframes the "shoe bomb guy" into a terrorist attack....doesn't mention that there have been other violent actions during the past two years that have to do with suicidal people getting angry about life....that his terrorist action foiled is at a lesser level than someone taking a gun on board...but in that range.


the president and his people want war powers so that they can change the country to benefit the affluent that have been in charge and to destroy democracy, to prevent democracy from interfering with their plans for using the country and government to their advantage regardless of who gets hurt...it won't be them.

some examples of a government working to perpetuate itself:

voter fraud, outsourcing, moving factories overseas

removing the middle class and replacing it with a service-sector

using the threat of outsourcing as a way to get people to accept lowered expectations.

solution:
we should be requiring companies that move their production overseas to be paying reparation to the Americans that they took those jobs from.

don't you think?


ask Billy Joel or Bruce Springsteen

or Ford, GMC or Chrysler workers.


bottom line, poverty is increasing

yet:
the just passed a tax break to give the richest of the rich more money while dropping $385 million from foodstamps before Katrina is solved, and reducing Social Security medical benefits by $30 amonth for peoples on fixed income, primarily aged..


we're talking about leaders that care about people in the same fashion that


cattle farmers care about their cattle...


they sell them to slaughter...


if they die, they'll buy some more from Mexico....


do you think the wealthy mind paying someone half of what they would have to pay a citizen to do your job?


do you think that walmart thinks that medicare is a company benefit?


free speech, better think about what happened to habeus corpus if you think you've got free speech as an inalienable right....


rise up and bite some asses..

Posted by: I think what you're missing regardless of what Carter said is this

Posted by: let's not forget the fourth reich... | February 21, 2006 12:47 PM

To say that free speech in Europe "was never in question -- there was no danger that the newspapers would be sanctioned by their home governments for choosing to print the cartoons --" is disingenuous. It doesn't take government sanctions to limit free speech. A climate of fear can be just as effective. That's exactly what was happening in continental Europe as the cartoon controversy escalated. And that's why many newspapers published the cartoons of Mohammed.

Posted by: Tom Grubisich | February 21, 2006 01:20 PM

People seem to forget that the Holocaust was about the genocide of all those deemed impure in the eyes of the Nazis. It went beyond the Jews, including the handicapped, homosexuals, communists, gypsies, and other non-Aryan people. If I recall correctly, more gentiles died in the Holocaust than Jews, unless I am mistaken in that by 'Holocaust' one means only the Nazi genocide of the Jews, not all genocide carried out by the Nazis.
Now, does pointing out the fact that more non-Jews than Jews died at the hands of Nazi genocide count as 'denying the Holocaust', at least it's relevence to those of Jewish faith? I am not trying to use it for such a goal (I'm a pro-Semite), but anti-Semites could, if they were really intent on belittling the significance of the Holocaust. The Austrian law as a deterent to hatemongering doesn't seem very feasible; Criminal laws should punish acts, not intent. In lieu of an actual riot being incited or other mayhem occuring directly from statements being made, I see no grounds for such laws even being called incitement laws, as they punish speech regardless of any actual incitement occurring. That's like outlawing the ability to EVER yell out 'Fire!' because doing so falsely in a crowded theater would endanger those in the theater.
These incitement laws have little to do with practicality, and a lot to do with national guilt over the Holocaust occurring at the hands of Austria-born Adolf Hitler, not to mention the nation's own culpability as one of Nazi Germany's allies back then. I personally don't approve of such laws, but I understand why such nations wish to be mindful of any denial of what occurred during the Nazi regime.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 21, 2006 01:29 PM

A climate of fear can be just as effective. That's exactly what was happening in continental Europe as the cartoon controversy escalated. And that's why many newspapers published the cartoons of Mohammed.
Posted by: Tom Grubisich | Feb 21, 2006 1:20:14 PM

But that 'climate of fear' didn't eminate from the Muslims; It came from within the Danes. Their own Islamophobia created those cartoons; Prior to the cartoons, no specific threats were made, just a general feeling among Danish illustrators to not draw Mohammed for fear of reprisal (again, without any actual, specific reprisal being threatened by anybody). The Muslim population in Europe has been growing for some years now, and it is safe to say that there is some element of xenophobia among European nations that now manifests itself as Islamophobia.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 21, 2006 01:43 PM

Hate speech laws are counter productive because they are general guidelines for, by necessity, what turns out to be a very specific case by case issue. Hate speech would be better replaced with "Incitement speech" which needs to follow a few legal guidelines.

1) The "incitementness" (I invent words) of the deeds or words of a person are never determined by the person(s) being incited. We do not think that just because a phrase offends a certain group that the phrase itself is criminal. This would empower the "victims" of the hate speech and would lead to countless counterinuitive results. It would make it inciteful speech to draw pictures of Mohammed, but not to piss on a crucifix of Jesus because if you do the former people will be killed but not for the latter.

2) Further, no one needs to be "incited" for someone to have committed a crime. If I call up my cousin and ask him to "Kill my wife for 500 dollars" even if he refuses to accept I have still committed a crime. That my cousin was level headed enough to refuse does not abrogate my crime.

I have always been confused why societies create broadsword legislation to deal with "incitement" speech when it is obviously much better left to a Judge and jury of peers to determine. The intentions of the inciter are more important than the reactions or non-reactions of the incited, and courts can determine this much more clearly than mere legislation. Would an anti-semitic joke that denies the holocaust make me a criminal in some European countries?

There is a not-so-fine line between promoting an idealogy, which is never a crime, and promoting actions, which can be criminal. A Nazi is free, in the US at least, to march around waiving a sign that says "The Holocaust never happened!" but as soon as they use that sign to beat a person to death or light the sign on fire and throw it at law enforcement they commit a crime. If the person was "incited" to commit a crime, then there is a complicit third party we can hold responsible.

This is why Danish newspapers should be free from legal response while Islamic Clerics who promoted violence are not. Whereas the Danish newspaper did not encourage nor could predict the violence that occurred elsewhere, an Islamic Cleric who hands a gun to a young Muslim and says "They have insulted Allah. Use this to repay them" can be brought up for incitement. Or, more specifically, when Pakistani cleric Mohammed Yousaf Qureshi offers to pay 1 million dollars to anyone who kills the Danish cartoonists in a crowded street in Peshawar, he has committed a crime worthy of legal action even if no cartoonists lose their lives.

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 01:56 PM

An important point was touched upon that gets lost in the coverage and discussion. This was never truly a "free speech" issue in the sense of government prosecution. It is an "intimidation" issue, over whether SELF-censorship exists due to intimidation by a violent minority.

Posted by: Canuck | February 21, 2006 01:58 PM

Errinf-

"But that 'climate of fear' didn't eminate from the Muslims; It came from within the Danes."

Not all true. It probably came from a number of places, least of which The Netherlands where Theo Van Gogh was shot 8 times and stabbed twice. Lest we be confused about *why* he was killed, the assailant left a note "stuck" to Mr. Van Gogh's body (with a knife) that called him an infidel deserving of his fate. Theo Van Gogh's crime? He made a movie criticizing Islamic treatment of women (which is actually quite bad)

"Their own Islamophobia created those cartoons; Prior to the cartoons, no specific threats were made, just a general feeling among Danish illustrators to not draw Mohammed for fear of reprisal (again, without any actual, specific reprisal being threatened by anybody)."

This is slightly dishonest. Every single Cartoonist who refused to draw the cartoons, about half of them, is now vindicated because the other 12 who did are either in hiding or under police protection because they have received very real threats from very real muslims on their very real lives. And a 1 million dollar bounty on any of their heads.

So when you say there were no specific threats, you might be right... but self-censoring intelligent Danes knew what happened to Theo Van Gogh and made a calculated decision not to draw cartoons of Mohammed based off that perceived threat, even if no specific threats had precluded the event.

As it turns out, they were right to do so. Every single cartoonist has now had their lives threatened.

"The Muslim population in Europe has been growing for some years now, and it is safe to say that there is some element of xenophobia among European nations that now manifests itself as Islamophobia."

Right, and we should have a dialogue over how much of that xenophobia is justified and how much of it is not. You seem curiously willing to assume that all "phobias" are irrational.

People in Europe *are* and *were* scared of Muslims prior to the cartoon issue. That's why over half the cartoonist invited to participate refused to do so (and why a comedian refused to do anything anti-Islam in his act and why they could not find an illustrator for a harmless children's book). The ones that abstained were emminently justified because there were dangerous Muslims who were willing to threaten their lives for doing so.

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 02:04 PM

Will,
I'm curious as to why you believe that European papers did not incite the muslim population. I agree that the first time the cartoons were printed, that would not be incitement as the papers would have no way of knowing that it would in fact, incite the muslim population and it would not appear that this was their intent. But to reprint the comic again, seemingly out of spite (Does this not sound like something that would happen on an elementary playground?), is something I would argue can be construed as inciting the muslim population. It is one thing to post the cartoons the first time and then post an article defending what you did and expressing an intent to not limit your freedom of speech. It's another thing entirely to go "you didn't like it? Too bad! Here it is again!"

Posted by: Freedom | February 21, 2006 02:13 PM

The Holocaust did happen, that is well established by the military liberating the camps. But what about those instances where it is genocide for one group but putting down an insurrection by another. An isntance that comes to mind is the controversial genocide by the Turks against the Armenians. I guess a stretch would be to call the American Civil War a genocide since one group (North) was persecuting another group (South) for their beliefs. We must be careful to not legislate against dialog that if listened to will shown the stupidity of the argument. The United States has had no problems with the National Socialist White Peoples Party marching and speaking freely. It doesn't seem to have swelled their ranks or followers. Maybe if the world lightens up and allows ideological dissent we will all learn from it.

Posted by: Harry | February 21, 2006 02:26 PM

Freedom-

I don't think I'm saying that the Danish newspapers haven't incited anyone, in the sense that people are upset about what they have published. That seems evident. But they have not "incited" anyone in the criminal sense because that action does not demand a criminal response. And their intentions, which are important legally, were not to cause people to commit crimes.

That European papers printed the cartoons out of "spite" is your opinion and I do not share it. I know why they say they printed them. I trust their explanation. I benefit from the free excercise of religious expression throughout the world.

Let me make clear who I think is at fault. I do not think European newspapers are at fault. When you make the comparison between them and schoolyard children, I find that analogy far more appropriate for someone who lights a building on fire or beats a Danish person half to death just because they were Danish. There is a crystal clear difference between a criminal action and merely an insensitive one.

This legal distinction is what I place my emphasis on. Since some justification for hate legislation is that hate speech incites people to commit crimes, I think it's important to actually distinguish between actions that promote protest and ones that encourage criminal acts. Publishing cartoons to protest self-censorship does not encourage criminal acts. Telling someone you will pay them 1 million dollars to kill another would likely consititute a criminal act. Disagree?

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 02:30 PM

In terms of the written word, a lack of free speech on the internet largely boils down to making certain keystroke combinations blocked or illegal.

China with Google support is blocking the getting sets of these now. Within this Blog, we're looking at extending the strategy to negate the creating or sharing of them.

Shouting fire in a crowded theatre is one thing; but can anything as abstract as pressing keys, even if accompanied with synthetic 2-D images, ever constitute a cause of incitement between mentally-fit adult humans? If it is not libelous, giving away protected secrets including intellectual property, conspiratorial, or threatening, then it can be (should be) ignored as easily as read.

The condition of community/global mental health is the true underlying issue, and we should focus on that fast because we are not turning back from an information age if we continue to develop.

However obnoxious or vulgar the words of a person may be, it is best for the mental ecology of the community to just let them reveal themselves. Take away the anonymity of offensive communications and it gets fixed or deflated in the marketplace of ideas.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 21, 2006 02:35 PM

The one element that seems to be missing from all of these arguments is how and when the enticement took place - the timeline.

These cartoons didn't so much as make a perfunctory stink when they were first published back in September of 05. It is now known that it was not until a 28 year old Dutch-Arab who is now under investigation took the cartoons to his home country of Syria? and had them reprinted in a Syrian paper with additional cartoons created by him that this cartoon nonsense escalated into an international crisis.

Not to mention reports that the Saudi's also exploited a REpublication of the cartoons to incite the Islamic peoples in their country in an effort to get the media to focus on something other than a human rights charge levied against them.

No one has even mentioned the curious lack of restraint posed by the governments of Pakistan, Syria, Iran, and a number of others on the demonstrators. Not a single policeman or soldier can be seen trying to restrain the demonstrators. In fact, in one video, policemen in Damascus are actually leading the mobs to the Danish Embassy. NO rally EVER happens in these countries without the blessing and guidance of the governments.

If any Western countries reprinted the cartoons it was to help qualify the "offense". Not having done so would have been a disservice to anyone not understanding what the issue is and an outright capitulation to these medievalists.

This issue is not simply about xenophobia or religious tolerance or capitulation to a murderous religious mob, it is about state sponsored support for stirring up the ignorant rage of intolerant murderous fanatics.

Posted by: Paul | February 21, 2006 02:36 PM

Will,
While I agree from a western perspective with your points (except your analysis of the paper's reasons. I still maintain that could have been handled better without the destruction that has ensued), I think the problem is that you are interpreting this from a western perspective. Please forgive me if I am wrong, as I have no education in the cultural/legal norms of muslim cultures. But based on what knowledge I have of past actions in and by the muslim world, I expected this result. I would still argue that to reprint the cartoons was inciting in the 'criminal sense' as the action seems to be demanded by the people it was targeted at culturally. I am not maintaining this behaviour as right; I am simply stating that was is criminal/wrong based on your culture views is not necessarily criminal/wrong based on another's, and vice versa.

As to your suggestion that the school yard comparison suits the muslim response, let me clarify. I meant the childish behaviour of calling someone a name, without necessarily intending harm. When that person gets angry at said name, what is the right path? Call him it again repeatedly to get a rise out of him? This issue seems to have been sensationalized more than it should have been, largely by the reprinting.

Posted by: Freedom | February 21, 2006 02:44 PM

Paul, I think you nailed it. Without the complicity and - in some cases, material support - of their respective governments, the Arab protests against the cartoons would have been short-lived. We're all navel-gazing about the decisions to publish the cartoons being influenced by free speech principles vs. fear of intimidation, and it's pointless. This controversy is largely manufactured. That fact should be influencing our perspective.

Posted by: CT | February 21, 2006 02:52 PM

You're being too gentle. Denying the Holocaust is not "misinterpretation" -- it is outright lying.

That said, perhaps false speech should be protected. I'm not sure.

Posted by: Nick | February 21, 2006 02:57 PM

Freedom-

Let us avoid this "Western" or "Muslim" perspective stuff. While it is clear that from a "Muslim" perspective a picture of Mohammed is offensive, Arson, Assault, and Murder are criminal acts that *nearly* transend cultures. Irregarless of my cultural view, I can condemn acts of Arson, Assault, and Murder and those that commit them.

We seem to be discussing whether or not Danish cartoonists encouraged a crime. I don't think they did, nor does it make sense from a legal standpoint. If someone calls my mother a whore and I kill them, does that make the other person a criminal? No, it means the other party overreacted. It makes them insensitive, dangerously stupid, yes. But they haven't committed a crime.

But I would welcome this debate in a legal setting. Evidence would have to be presented to a judge that pictures of Mohammed that compelled them to believe that the cartoons necessitated violent response. The Judge or jury of peers would then make a decision, no doubt weighing the 1st Amendment implications of that ruling. And this ruling could be appealed and a higher court judge could then make an assessment based on the facts... again. And again...

This process is far more logical/deliberate than telling a crowd of 1,000 angry Muslims that you will pay anyone 1 million dollars to kill a cartoonist.

Furthermore there is no crime, in America at least, for saying something that NECESSARILY infuriates and offends even large groups of people. You commit a crime only so far as you encourage criminal actions, and the intentions of the person making the "inciteful" speech are then legally important whereas the reactions of the infuriated and/or offended are irrelevant, legally.

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 03:01 PM

Paul says:

. . . it is about state sponsored support for stirring up the ignorant rage of intolerant murderous fanatics.

_______________

Accurate except leaving out a key adjective -- *religious* fanatics.

Religions properly put sanctions on offensive speech and images, influencing their cohorts. That's one of their social roles. However, putting sanctions on most varieties of speech, especially political speech, is not the role of the state in a pluralistic society.

The problem is when religions and states merge. China/communism. Iran/radical Islamists. Cuba/perpetual revolutionism.

Keep state and religion separate, and free speech can flow in a generally healthy way.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 21, 2006 03:09 PM

Laws are not intented to limit free speech, but only to give a legal framework for further prosecution.
Nobody will prevent you to say or write offending or hatred speech (expect self-censorship here), but you will have to face the consequences.
In the case of the cartoons, it is striking that most people in the middle east reacted by burning flags and embassies (as if newspapers where a tool for government propaganda, like in their own country), while the Muslim community in Europe has started legal actions against the cartoonists or the newspapers themselves.
This clear difference in behavior is the only good outcome i can see in this sad story: Muslims in Europe have started to behave as responsible citizen and use the tools provided by their own country to assert their position.

Posted by: Christophe | February 21, 2006 03:14 PM

Please. There are no similarities between the false "historian" and the cartoonists whatsoever. Irving lied. If you are religious minded he broke the commandment on not bearing false witness alongside of breaking the law.

Posted by: Marie | February 21, 2006 03:15 PM

Emily writes:

Vox Day questions "that Muslims really do have a genuine legal case for prosecuting the publishers of the notorious Danish cartoons."

"Debaters, what do you think? Is Austria severely overreacting to statements made nearly two decades ago? Or are European countries, and Israel, right to curtail freedom of speech when it comes to the Holocaust? Should such restrictions be extended to cover other historical and religious heresy?"

First, the tradition of free speech outside the UK, Lowland Countries, and France is not solidly entrenched in Europe. Centuries of bloodshed following calls to bloodshed by agitators have made the Euros sensitives to the consequences of untrammeled "free speech". So we do need to have a measure of sensitivity to that bloody history and certain European countries desires to avoid more of the same.

But along the way, certain groups have tried to carve out special victim status and not only seek to augment their security, but also their power and influence by making themselves above criticism.

Special Victim Status does not generally work, IMO. Not when it is outside the sphere of balancing public safety or avoidance of sectarian or ethnic violence....to areas of attempting to control, quash, stifle debate on matters that special groups wish to have unassailable status on through enforcement of orthodoxy. Where questions of history, cultural criticisms, practices are relagated to being Thought Crimes.

That is how PC arose - from far more serious treatment of antecedents like punishment of religious heresy in medieval Christian Europe. Or during the two decade period at the outset of the Soviet Union when Jewish Bolsheviks dominated, when they made any expression of any "anti-Semetic thought" a capital crime (all while they led the effort to de-Christianize Russia through destruction of 18,000 Russian Orthodox churches and liquidation of up to 30,000 Orthodox priests, while sparing synogogues...).

PC of course works even when criminal penalties do not apply when the aggrieved "special victim class" are empowered to declare they have the power to punish the offense in other ways - firings, political disfavor - and also the power to "forgive" the offender after groveling apologies are publicly tendered.

In Europe's case, they have made declarations of "racism" and "homophobia" punishable as crimes with penalties of imprisonment or fines possible, as Canada and Australia have done after the precedent setting "Holocaust denial". Vox Day is correct that the Islamoids do have a case to lobby for "special victim status" and use that as a critically invaluable tool against the infidels - turning their own laws to aid in self-destruction of European culture and civilization in the name of "special sensitivity to the grievances and values of Islam and prohibition of all things the Islamoids find "painful or offending".

In the most-mod, relativistic Cult of Special Victimhood era, the radical Muslims seek the same special treatment Jews are getting in certain matters, same as homosexuals and Africans...They DO have a case by the current rules, IMO.

And it would not begin and end with equating cartoons of the Prophet to the criminal status of "holocaust denial or even questioning the "facts" Jewish activists purport are historically inerrant and immutable - but likely extend to a panopoly of "offenses against Islam" as detailed by the Koran and Sharia and likely to spread into speech and textbooks prohibition on saying that the Crusades and the Reconquista were anything but totally evil acts of history Europe must apologize for and always condemn....

I think the Euros did go overboard in "holocaust denial" laws, as did the Soviets...and that opened the door to successive groups wanting special PC legislation that now strongly conflicts with other critical ethos of Western Civ (freedom of speech and ability of a Christian minister in Scotland or Australia to say homosexuality is a sin w/o being arrested for it). Now the Islamoids are in line wanting their own list of things that cannot be openly criticized by other peoples in the West.

The solution is to reconsider what is important. Is it really prudent to sentence a German historian to a year and a half of jail for not denying the Holocaust but saying it is time for scholars to get access to sealed records of that era? Or say a Catholic priest can be imprisoned for saying homosexuality is evil??? What is important enough to constrain free speech is the possibility of it's exercise putting a nation or any of it's people - from any walk of life in immediate peril. That is the old maxim about free speech not covering endangering lives by FALSELY shouting there is a fire in a crowded theater, but it extends past that to inciting others to riot or violence - and, in an area the ACLU fights hard to deny - speech intended on jeopardizing a nation or which gives aid and comfort to lethal enemies who are killing the people of that nation....for years we have been afraid to say that crimes of sedition and treason are created by "free speech" that do endanger innocent life - but exist they do.

Denying the holocaust or crusades or whatever historical event doesn't enganger lives except through a long causal chain like a butterfly flapping it's wings ultimately causing - or not causing - a hurricane. Or how blasphemy, racist speech might set in place the "right" preconditions that might somehow cause violence if the stars align.. It should not be an objective to criminalize speech with a very low probability of being culpable for ensuent violence years or decades later if other factors are somehow added in and align properly.

What we should have limiting laws on speech for are (1)for speech that can be directly tied to inciting domestic violence. Or, (2) speech that gives an enemy force aid and comfort, or (3)endangers our troops or civilians through disclosure of national security secrets (NYtimes and CIA leakers) or (4) political cover for the enemy (as Al Gore came very close to in his quasi-seditious speech against American actions he delivered to his Saudi sponsors in Jeddah for 6 figures). Or in domestic cases where speech directly results in financial or personal harm for malicious, false exercise of speech (Fire! False accusation of crime. Libel.)

And even with no direct link to violence certain "free speech" needs to be limited, with careful consideration to constitutional right to free expression of political thought, religion, redress of grievances - when it creates a public disturbance or nuisance. Free speech does not excuse a homeless man calling every woman that passes by him a c*nt, a woman saying n**ger at a public meeting, or even a gay drunk disturbing the neighborhood by loudly singing Clay Aitken songs at 3 AM. Nor can radio or TV cuss or otherwise violate public decency standards. Nor can "free speech" trump necessary and prudent regulations needed to properly discharge the mission, business - of state and private enterprise entities...

We balance fairly well in America with exceptions, presently by the jeopardizing of American citizens in uniform and at home by certain media giving aid and comfort to the enemy, revealing national security secrets - as a consequence of their war against the Bush-Hitler...And the ACLU war on Christian religious expression. But we live in a country that is self correcting and both the media sedition and the ACLU and it's CHristian-bashing allies are getting serious pushback. We have overturned the Speech Codes the Lefties tried imposing on campuses. We have overturned other overbearing impositions of PC in the workplace through tort litigation and law. So we do seem to have a better system than the one the Euros are suffering under until they move past a Marxist worldview of "thought crimes"..

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 21, 2006 03:31 PM

I think however, despite many of the pronouncements above, one can detect a trend emerging in Europe and the West vis-a-vis the Islamic world. A trend that reflects to a large degree the earlier historical processes of marginalisation that preceded the crystallisation of the genocide complex in Germany and Austria in the run up to and carrying out of the Semite Holocaust.

It is this subtle process that is of concern to those of us westerners unhappy with the presentation of this image in Denmark as regards this particular semite culture at this particular juncture in world history, not the mere mechanical act of presenting an illustration. Notions of Mohammadan or Jewish propensities..etc, etc...are merely mechanisms, in this context, it seems, for the embedding and configuration of variations of anti-semitism...or to put it somewhat more generically, deep ethnic polarisation.

Free speech is then considered, in this context, in all its subtleties, and absences of sacred cows are then detected....for example.....the pronounced absence (marginalisation?) of marxist voices in a climate that has persisted since the days of McCarthy.

Posted by: Jock | February 21, 2006 03:31 PM

I think it is hypocritical (etc.) when
"we" try to suppress "sacrilege"
against our sacred cows -- example,
when the Mayor of New York tried
to cut off funding to the Brooklyn
Museum when they showed an artwork
of the Virgin Mary with excrement --,
but we get self-righteously
indignant when believers in
other religions (etc.) get upset
about sacrilege against their
sacred things.

There are getting to be more and more
things in the political arena
which are unmentionable in
out society these days. Surely all of them
must be so completely lacking in
merit as to not merit even being
permitted to evaluate them.

Probably if a "bird flu" pandemic
hits the U.S. and people have
little choice other than to continue
to go to work (etc.) in crowded
public conveyences and enclosed
spaces, it will be prohibited
to suggest that social life could be
reorganized to avoid close
contact with large numbers of people,
as well as promiscuous travel
all over the place,
and we will all rightly
blame our suffering
and deaths on the real culprit:
"communicable disease".

Posted by: Brad McCormick | February 21, 2006 03:39 PM

There is no real evidence that any Jew was gassed ever in the Third Reich. It's all hearsay, and we know that a lot of the hearsay was false because in 1945 every concentration camp was called a deathcamp, i.e. a place where people were gassed, but as of 1971 only former camps behind the Iron Curtain, where investigation was difficult, were still called deathcamps. A few years ago the Auschwitz Museum stated that Krema I, the alleged gas-chamber shown for decades as authentic, original, and unaltered, was a so-called "reconstruction" which means that it is not evidence of anything. The reason why there is repression of Holocaust skepticism in Europe is that the story cannot withstand skepticism. Hadding@national-socialism.us

Posted by: Hadding Scott | February 21, 2006 03:41 PM

If the Holocaust is such an impregnable fact of history, there should be no need to *ban* discussion of the facts and figures of it. There have been many legitimate historians lives ruined because they ACCIDENTLY found anomalies. Just because facts and figures can be uncomfortale doesn't mean everyone should just *shutup*. And if for example they discover it was 400,000(the number put forward by most revisionists), and not 5-6 million that died, it's not as if the world is going to get angry at Jews for it. Discuss it like any other historical event, and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Johann | February 21, 2006 03:42 PM

So this means that I'm not allowed to think for myself and question history ? I have a brain and a mind of my own and I'm allowed to think what I want ... History was written by the winners and not the losers of the war ! There are still many questions unanswered and just because I don't jump on the band wagon as quick as everyone, does this make me wrong ?

Remember when the earth was flat ? Many died back then making the claim otherwise ...

I think that its important to question intelligently and set aside our emotions and religious beliefs which will only obscure and bias our findings !

By the way, who counted all six million ? Or was it 5 million 3 hundred thousand and twenty five, give or take a few ... ?

How many died during the Stalin years (20 million or so) ?

How many died in Ukraine ?
How many died in world war 2 ?

etc ...

Food for thought and happy thinking !!

Posted by: CJ | February 21, 2006 03:49 PM

"free speech is then considered, in this context, in all its subtleties, and absences of sacred cows are then detected....for example.....the pronounced absence (marginalisation?) of marxist voices in a climate that has persisted since the days of McCarthy." -Jock

LACK of Marxist voices? Jock, you HAVE to be kidding me. The theories of Marxism killed more people than the theories of Nazism.....yet go to any bookstore and tell me how many pro-nazi books you will find, and how many that are marxist in bent. One type is banned, the other is actually given preference.

You Americans and your paranoia about 'McCarthyism'! Bloody hell, the only 'taboo' subject today is anti-liberalism. Even your neo-conservatives are really neo-liberals. They have nothing to do with conservatism or anti-liberalism.

Posted by: Johann | February 21, 2006 03:50 PM

johann-

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression
by Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin, Mark Kramer (Translator), Jonathan Murphy (Translator)

Good book.

Posted by: D. | February 21, 2006 03:58 PM

Hadding Scott,

Besides the captured papers, the books, the memo's and all the other documentation of Hitlers Final Solution.

I think the testemony of my grandfather who was one of the soldiers that liberated these death camps makes for a pretty convincing argument.

Posted by: Duck | February 21, 2006 04:00 PM

Will - You're saying the cartoonists shouldn't be held responsible for the violence as they did not torch the buildings or throw the rocks and i agree with you there but I still can't help but feel that their intentions really were provacative as freedom pointed out. I'm truly am surprised that the newspaper is 'shocked' at the response.

It seems like common sense to me -You've got to exercise some discretion when printing (and reprinting) some frivolous cartoon, especially in the fragile pressure cooker that is the islamic-european relationship (which seems to be much more tense than the islamic-american relationship?) The reprintings were irresponsible If I may quote from superman; with great power comes great responsibility.

I haven't come across any information regarding legal action taken against the cartoonists in my very limited reading on the topic but I hope that's case. I'm neither Jewish or Muslim so forgive me if I don't understand the nuances of these incidents in respect to religion but I see no distinction between the two. If a historian can be jailed for his opinion (whether it be true or false) I dont see why legal action cannot be taken against the cartoonists expressing their opinion (whether it be true of false).

Posted by: Morgan | February 21, 2006 04:07 PM

There is no real evidence that any Jew was gassed ever in the Third Reich. It's all hearsay, and we know that a lot of the hearsay was false because in 1945 every concentration camp was called a deathcamp, i.e. a place where people were gassed, but as of 1971 only former camps behind the Iron Curtain, where investigation was difficult, were still called deathcamps. Posted by: Hadding Scott | Feb 21, 2006 3:41:34 PM

I would prefer that idiots like this guy be allowed to voice their extremely stupid opinions and/or deliberate lies rather than lock them away. Then again, I wouldn't lose too much sleep knowing somebody like that was locked away in an Austrian jail.
And, for the record, the Nazis filmed a lot of what they did. There is plenty of proof beyond 'hearsay' that they committed genocide on a large number of people, most notably the Jews. Only a ridiculous extremist would deny the Holocaust, and they'd do so out of either deliberate manipulation or a lack of rationality. Probably a little (or a lot) of both.

Posted by: ErrinF | February 21, 2006 04:17 PM

Will states,
"Let us avoid this "Western" or "Muslim" perspective stuff. While it is clear that from a "Muslim" perspective a picture of Mohammed is offensive, Arson, Assault, and Murder are criminal acts that *nearly* transend cultures. Irregarless of my cultural view, I can condemn acts of Arson, Assault, and Murder and those that commit them."

Will, for this dicsussion and ignoring perspectives, I agree with you whole heartedly. But I don't think we can ignore perspectives, as this is not something happeneing in the US. This is something happening globally. And it is fine to interpret this from the US perspective, as recently US policy has taken the stance that we can AND will enforce our domestic policies abroad.

However, I argue simply that from a cultural perspective (which is important when discussing morals/beliefs/laws of other countries to actually understand motives/actions of the peoples involved) it can be suggested that the European reprintings did in fact incite the reactions they have had. Your suggestion about things that transcend nearly all cultures seems wrong. As we can see, religious dogma is something that can be used to go against these 'rules.' The very idea of a Jihad transcends the idea that the very crimes you commit are always 'wrong.' Palestinian suicide bombers, the pilots of 9/11, and Osama are all examples of people who I condemn as wrong, that are lauded as heroes by many of their respective cultures. For that matter, Iran and its President denounce the Holocaust and suggest Israel be wiped off the map. I present these examples to show you that cultural differences are important and that our ideals are not necessarily across the board globally.

I do not agree with the actions of the extermeists blowing up buildings, causing fires, and putting bounties on the cartoonists heads. I denounce it and personally feel it is a horrible, unjustified response that should be dealt with by the global community. But that does not mean I cannot look outside of my own way of thinking to understand why they think and act how they have. To many, the defiance of reprinting the 'blasphemous' cartoons may have been the incitement needed to conduct criminal acts.

Posted by: Freedom | February 21, 2006 04:31 PM

Hitch makes a couple of good points I think.

http://www.slate.com/id/2136714/fr/rss/

Posted by: | February 21, 2006 04:54 PM

Sorry, that was my post

Posted by: D. | February 21, 2006 04:55 PM

Emily posed the following:
"Or are European countries, and Israel, right to curtail freedom of speech when it comes to the Holocaust? Should such restrictions be extended to cover other historical and religious heresy?"

It depends on what the meaning of "right" is.
The right to speak rests on our physiology, our ability to speak. The right to the content of speech is a political right arising from a political/social accord among a people, be it family, church, community, ethnic group, state, or nation. Each comes to its own accord however they choose and can hardly be denied the "right" to do so; such accords do not extend beyond their political boundaries.

If by "right" you mean a "good idea" then I would say definitely not, for reasons already outlined by ErrinF and Will.

All I would add is born in the foundation of our accord providing for our "Freedom of Speech". As we have framed it, Freedom of Speech is a right we have accorded to each individual and the government is specifically precluded from abridging this right by any law it might pass; it is explicitly disempowered in this specific matter. Thus we are largely free to say anything we like, offensive or not, true or not, sensible or not, eloquent or not, ugly or not, hateful or not, racist or not, blasphemous or not, logical or not. No one has to believe any of it, or disbelieve any of it. The government has no place in it.

I recommend this particular system to each and all people in the world; certainly I can't impose it. It grants to each individual, whether majority or minority, male or female, of whatever race, color, religion, station, or wealth, the right to speak out in criticism or support, on whatever subject they might choose without fear of imprisonment or worse by government. The small price to pay for this is that they must tolerate the nonsense spouted by those equally empowered. It creates a world in which all censorship is self-censorship.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 21, 2006 04:57 PM

Johann writes: "There have been many legitimate historians lives ruined because they ACCIDENTLY found anomalies."

That is true. Historians researching other aspects of WWII discovered new details about Nazi actions, or diplomatic papers that cast new light on events and found themselves in criminal trouble for simply revealing the facts when those facts contradicted part of the approved - by -Jews orthodoxy regarding the events of the Holocaust.

Johann - "Just because facts and figures can be uncomfortale doesn't mean everyone should just *shutup*."

Well, Jews aren't the only ones that wish to contol and safeguard an iconic figure or specific event in history. JFKs cronies, paid hagiographers, and admirers kept the dark side of the Kennedy Presidency under wraps for decades. The Commies in the West and their Lefty tools not only have well concealed the Great Communist Holocaust, but tried to control the history of the McCarthy era and say it was groundless hysteria. And all the damaging files on Saint Martin Luther King are sealed and may remain sealed for centuries because of his apotheosis to a figure on a higher moral plane and historical worthiness than any other American, even the greatest Presidents and noteworthies in fields outside "civil rights protest". King was a serial adulterer, woman beater, in thick with Communists, and avidly playing the "good cop/bad cop" routine where he was in close contact with militants that started riots and coordinating with them to offer cities the choice of dealing and settling with him "through the initial non-violent approach", or with the militants that would soon strike if MLK was not satisfied. Many other groups, like notably the Islamoids - are now trying to carve out the same inviolable space where their special heroes or events are held to be above debate or criticism.

Johann - "And if for example they discover it was 400,000(the number put forward by most revisionists), and not 5-6 million that died, it's not as if the world is going to get angry at Jews for it."

I think people would get angry with the Jews if it was discovered they ran a big money-making scam on the heels of their extraordinarily great WWII tragedy - based on reparations for the "6 million". Even some Jews have criticized the money-making aspect of the Holocaust - particularly over last 15 years as rapacious lawyers have driven enormous class action lawsuits hinging on the 6 million dead claim...Norman Finklestein with his book "The Holocaust Industry" and objections of both Israeli Leftists and Religious Jews that it is unseemly to make a unique disaster boil down to the quest for money mark the change in historical perspective the lawyers have accomplished..

The Holocaust was also used ex post facto to shield Jews for decades from any criticism via the Victim Card that any criticism = anti-semitism = which leads to Another Holocaust and another 6 million dead. And the Holocaust is useful to give Israel greater moral standing and in America, special deals we give no other country..Which is part of the cause of why Arabs question the absolute moral superiority claims of a Holocaust in Europe giving Israel a higher moral position through victimhood than the Muslims in the ME can lay claim to. All through the Muslim world, the Holocaust is challenged or minimized as less than Arab suffering/grievances on this basis...)

But I think the Jewish claim of 6 million is closer to the truth than the most extreme "deniers" claims of 400,000. The initial "fixed in stone and reparation litigation" 6 million dead claim may be a rectal pluck made without scholarship and research, with subsequent Jewish Holocaust scholarship devoted affirming that number at all costs. But I don't doubt it was initially a good faith estimate made by some survivors. Like Giuliani saying up to 9,000 may be dead on 9/11 when the real number was found to be under 3,000.

What is clear is that many vaults of documents from that era have remained off limits to historians, guarded by the American, British, Soviet/Russian, and German gov'ts. And many a can of worms would be opened if we go digging there...everything from Stalins knowledge of the ongoing Holocaust and his sacrificing whole cities with "scorched earth" tactics which killed legions of Jews Nazis are pinned with....to lists of Jewish collaborators...to reams of documents containing the actual facts and figures from the Camps that well could adjust the "6 million" estimate. And some deeply immoral and embarassing diplomatic talks between Zionist organizations and the Nazis, or between "neutral" nations and the Nazis, etc..

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 21, 2006 05:09 PM

Morgan-

"I'm truly am surprised that the newspaper is 'shocked' at the response."

I think they were shocked that it spanned many countries and that people actually died. I am certain that they predicted an angry response since the entire justification of publishing the images was to challenge the violent supression of Religious expression by Islamic radicals a la Theo Van Gogh.

"It seems like common sense to me -You've got to exercise some discretion when printing (and reprinting) some frivolous cartoon, especially in the fragile pressure cooker that is the islamic-european relationship (which seems to be much more tense than the islamic-american relationship?) The reprintings were irresponsible"

It was common sense to about 13 cartoonists who said "No thanks on that job, I don't want to live in hiding for the rest of my life for fear of a violent Islamic militant stabbing/shooting me over a cartoon." But then again, publications have more to lose and less to gain from collective self-censorship of society, so they have a vested interest in challenging "taboos" like "If you draw the Prophet we will kill you" because, well, if a free newspaper refuses to publish controversial cartoons for fear of reprisal it has already committed suicide.

Societies would do themselves a favor to take note as well. The instant we decide that the gentle sensibilities of Muslims are more important then the free expression of religion, or criticism thereof, then we accept Shari'ah law as much as any Saudi Women who dutifully dons her burka because to do otherwise would be illegal.

The Islamic-American relationship is doing very well right now for a number of reasons. Muslims in America have assimilated better in society than they have in European countries. We only have a 2% muslim population vs. the 10+% in many European countries, which has a lot to do with that.

A good case in point was CAIR's (I think that's what it is called) Center(?) for American-Islamic Relations protested the image of Mohammed on the Supreme Court. A judge weighed the evidence and determined that the image was not going down but apologized for any insult derived from that ruling. CAIR's leader essentially said "We've said all we need, our protest is noted, we live in a society that enforces free religious expression and we will abide by the ruling." I have a lot of respect for CAIR, even if I wholeheartedly disagree with the bones they pick.

Freedom-

"Your suggestion about things that transcend nearly all cultures seems wrong. As we can see, religious dogma is something that can be used to go against these 'rules.' The very idea of a Jihad transcends the idea that the very crimes you commit are always 'wrong.'"

I am a moral objectivist. I do not buy into shallow multiculturalism that says all Cultural Norms should be valued in virtue of their being Cultural Norms.

If Islam is a religion that encourages Jihad, which I do not think it to be the case, then we can talk about eliminating Islam. I have no time for untenable religious or cultural norms. Cannabilism, though widely practiced culturally in parts of the world, thankfully pretty much died out before I was born.

If a religious sect decides that having unsolicited sex with minors is part of their religion, I do not need to respect that religion in virtue of it being a religion. I can make evaluative claims about the actions of religious people or hte tenents of religion without giving them unnecessary levels of respect.

If this is, and I do not think or hope it is, a cultural divide between the West and Islam where Islam says "We reserve the right to kill people and/or burn down buildings to prevent drawings of our prophet" then yes, this is precisely the type of fight they start that I feel justified in finishing. I hope it does not come to that.

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 05:16 PM

I think it would be wrong to penalize any speech as blasphemous. That requires you to buy into someone's religion.

There is another category of speech which sells things using lies. "Cocaine is fun and can not hurt you. This is how you can get it." or "Rent this palatial beach house!" when what you get is a mud hut in a swamp. If it is a joke, that is one thing. If the intent is to deceive and it is successful, that is quite a different thing.

History has shown that the more religions try to suppress blasphemy the more they will beget it. That is the way human beings are.

Posted by: Descartes | February 21, 2006 05:21 PM

The object of the game: Succeed in painting yourself as the most victimized.

What you win: Moral superiority, and its innumerable attendant 'rights.' Your suffering becomes 'holy.'

'the' holocaust has won.

Armenians, Russians under Stalin, Chinese Communist purges, Native Americans, North-Central-and-South American descendants of enslaved Africans, Cambodians, Rwandans, millions of Catholic Poles during WWII, today's sub-Saharan Africans - you have all lost.
Your suffering was not, is not, and will never be'holy'.

And, if you even think about saying 'yeah, but', saying so is now illegal. And, you are a 'denier.' One conviction puts you in jail, the other result in your being eviscerated in the press.

Like Eric Blair said:

"Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others."

Posted by: Zbigniew | February 21, 2006 05:22 PM

The bigger question is, why should people care if someone denies the holocaust ? The average individual with reasonable intelligence and any grasp on history knows that it happened. In fact, how could anyone deny something that happened in recent memory with actual SURVIVORS that are alive today who can recount the horrors ??

There are a small bunch that wish to deny the holocaust based on their "evidence" - so let them. By imprisoning them, we're only granting them a much larger audience by making them controversial.

Want to really silence these people ? Don't listen to them. Really, it works. When is the last time anyone listened to Jerry Falwell ?

These silly laws are actually backwards and only should have their place in countries where any form of thinking is discouraged. The true danger is that it will go beyond its purpose and be used as a political tool to silence those who have legitimate information to share with others.

Remember Galileo being accused of heresy ? It was well known back then that planets revolved around the Earth based on evidence back then, and not vice versa. Mr. Galilei had new evidence that went against that thinking and was accused of heresy.

Not to compare the holocaust with physics, but, these types of laws can eventually be used to silence anything that can be politically damaging.

Let us do away with these stupid laws and let individuals decide what they want to hear.

If it is okay to publish cartoons ridiculing an individuals religion and prophet, then those who wish to publish books going into discourse regarding history should also be allowed to stand.

Posted by: Kam | February 21, 2006 05:36 PM

Will,
As I have stated, I agree with you, from my perspective. I think it is stupid and wrong to kill people based off of a cartoon and these people that have called for this action, as well as the perpetrators, should be brought to 'justice.' But this comment, "this is precisely the type of fight they start that I feel justified in finishing," is what I am attempting to discuss. From your standpoint, 'they started it.' From theirs, it can be argued that the newspapers did from their cultural standpoint and their religious views. You are putting your own beliefs and ideals into a people that you admitedly note don't follow them (see your references to treatment of women). And I don't fault you for this. Ultimately, I do the same. I just note that the muslim reaction to the reprinting (again, I justify the initial printing, but feel the reprintings were asking for trouble) was one expected by many that have reviewed the cultures involved and reviewed the western-muslim relationship in the last few years.

Posted by: Freedom | February 21, 2006 05:37 PM

We now have "historian" Irving's admission that he actually falsified history to deny the holocaust. Facing imprisonment, he now discovers at long last that Jews and others were slaughtered by the millions. His mission should be manifest upon a review of his own website and the litany of his speaking engagements. One-part pathetic exploitation and self-promotion; one-part to the promotion of neo-nazi tendencies in europe. The goal of holocaust deniers is to reignite totalitarian Nazi ideology. Holocaust denial is not the crime here. The crime, if there is one, is offering aid and comfort to those who would revive an ideology which led to the greatest world conflagration in history.

Posted by: jvonkorff | February 21, 2006 05:39 PM

No amount of twisted logic can justify this ...shame on Austia and shame on anyone that supports this outrageous act..

Posted by: LaCabe | February 21, 2006 05:41 PM

You ought to be able to say anything you want to say in your own publication. No one is required to read it. It contains no force of law and limits no ones freedom.

When we become so afraid of words that we start thowing people in Jail, it's not but a step away from Lennin, Mao and Castro.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but Jails are mightier than the pen.

Posted by: Equus | February 21, 2006 05:43 PM

"The crime, if there is one, is offering aid and comfort to those who would revive an ideology which led to the greatest world conflagration in history."
Posted by: jvonkorff

Don't think so, Stalin starved 11 Million in the Ukraine alone. What shall we do to Communist Holocaust deniers?

Posted by: Equus | February 21, 2006 05:47 PM

As a general rule, holocaust denial ought not be a criminal offense, and of course it would not be in the United States, where all sorts of idiocies, including holocaust denial and evolution denial are protected by the First Amendment. Austria and Germany, however, for obvious historical reasons, present a special case, and in those two countroes such a law makes sense.

Posted by: quart1944 | February 21, 2006 05:51 PM

Kam writes on the veracity of the "official version" of the Holocaust:

"In fact, how could anyone deny something that happened in recent memory with actual SURVIVORS that are alive today who can recount the horrors ??"

Would seeing several stories of the SURVIVORS of Islamoid attack on the WTC recounting the horrors, convince you that 6 million people died?

It's not the fact that people were not killed in WWII war atrocities - that is the question - even the "Deniers" say scads were - Jews, Slavs, Chinese, Indonesians, Roma. The debate is about the magnitude of the Holocaust and if the Jews were somehow unique in scale to that war, or historically unique given other genocides and mass slaughters of civilians (Hindi genocide, Cambodian, Tutsi, Armenian genocide, and the Bolshevik planned Ukraninan genocide in just the 20th Century)....

That is the problem of just extrapolating from a few personal stories of war or disaster that if it was bad in Location X, it must have also happened exactly the same in other places.

That is why figuring out the extent of a disaster, war casualty count takes enormous amounts of checking, noting, and research....personal stories are just one event and a little piece of a bigger picture, or just a manifestation of a smaller phenomenon.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 21, 2006 07:41 PM

Freedom-

"But this comment, "this is precisely the type of fight they start that I feel justified in finishing," is what I am attempting to discuss. From your standpoint, 'they started it.' From theirs, it can be argued that the newspapers did from their cultural standpoint and their religious views."

I do not want to get tied down in linguistic semantics. If they think publishing a naughty cartoon of Mohammed constitutes the "start" of a cultural fight, then I think we are justified starting AND finishing this fight.

If Islam, and I'm making a hypothetical, decides that my wife must don a burka or be punished, or that her testimony is worth only half that of a man's in court, then I will fight Islam over those points. I am not just going to respect "their" perspective because it belongs to someone else. If the other perspective is hostile, violent, or the antithesis of my values, then I will treat it as such.

That cannabals and non-cannabals had different religious and cultural norms does not by itself exonerate the act of cannibalism. I have as little reservation claiming moral superiority over Cannabals and pedofiles than I do over the King of Saudi Arabia. If it turns out that Islam is all about killing people and lighting buildings on fire, then Islam's time has come.

I should note, lest I be accused of xenophobia, that I do not think Islam is all about lighting buildings on fire and killing people over cartoons. I just wanted to illustrate that just because Islamic people have a different cultural mindset than me doesn't make me helpless to condemn acts of Arson, Assault, or Murder.

Posted by: Will | February 21, 2006 07:42 PM

"I should note, lest I be accused of xenophobia, that I do not think Islam is all about lighting buildings on fire and killing people over cartoons. I just wanted to illustrate that just because Islamic people have a different cultural mindset than me doesn't make me helpless to condemn acts of Arson, Assault, or Murder."

Will I should like to know what they are about. There seems to be no outrage over the burning of communities in France and now this catoon crap among the "moderate Muslims".

Where the freak are they.

Maybe us Christians ought to start chopping off heads to make our point, but I digress.

Posted by: Equus | February 21, 2006 08:18 PM

There are so many comments I may have missed one, but it strikes me that no one has pointed out that David Irving is not and never has been an intellectually honest man. His views, which he now says he repudiates, were intended to, and did, win him a wide and admiring audience in Germany and elsewhere. His repudiation of his views is as self-serving as were the views themself. Whatever one may think abstractly and in general about hate laws, in this concrete instance I rejoice that such a law existed for the prosecution of David Irving, and I hope he spends three years in jail. It's really not enough.

Posted by: Historian | February 21, 2006 08:30 PM


I have studied the Holocaust for many years and I have concluded that in some ways the revisionists are right and in some ways wrong.

The bigger lesson however that I get from this is that, when you question, deny, or equivocate about some statement that someone else considers self-evidently true, there is a predictable range of responses.

First, you may be called a liar, usually on no evidence.

Second, you may be called stupid, again, on no other evidence than your obstinate refusal to see what someone else sees.

Third, you may be ostracized.

Fourth, you may go to jail.

The first two of these appear to be mental self-defense mechanisms. But they are a sign of weakness. I meet people every day who don't believe things -- let's say, in the spiritual realm -- that I believe. So what. Big deal. To belittle, attack, or smear your opponent on such matters is really a sign of weak belief in what you think you know.

The second two are social-legal attempts to cover the same ground. And they are wrong for the same reasons.

I am surprised sometimes at how intolerant people really are of alternative visions of reality. It's really rather strange. The other thing I find surprising is the fact that, again and again, human beings demonstrate their cruelty, and penchant for sadism, for those who have committed no real crime but whose conduct or opinions they find offensive. God help us.

Posted by: Febnight | February 21, 2006 08:54 PM

While growing up, I saw tons of evidence in footage and photographs, heard first-hand testimony of soldiers, and saw such horrible examples of depravity such as soap bars lampshades made from human body parts. I cannot ever take any of the recent denials with a nano-ounce of seriousness.

The Nazis were real sons-of-bitches. What I find most sinister about them is that they were capable of carrying out their morbid business and yet were so advanced in engineering and some cutting-edge fields of technology.

I have always found it fascinating and somewhat hard to believe all this could have occurred not so long ago, my father's generation of men, and in a modern Western power. But it boils down to is a bunch of thugs who figured out how to tap into the innate evil present in all of us, amplify it, and make a whole race of people (as they defined it) believe the bad things they were doing were necessary.

I believe people should not be jailed for simply saying or printing incredibly stupid things, but it is completely understandable why laws barring some of those things were enacted in Europe shortly after the war.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 21, 2006 08:54 PM

Austria does have a law that was violated. The articles I have read don't give much insight into sentencing under Austrian law. Having David Irving recant his statement from 1989 and confirm the holocaust occurred should have been emphasized more by the Austrian Court, with less emphasis on sentencing.

I don't think that freedom of speech should be curtailed; it's that same freedom of the speech may in the future preserve the history of the holocaust. No, the restrictions should not be extended.

A clear line should be drawn between hate crimes and freedom of speech.

Posted by: Jamal | February 21, 2006 10:03 PM

It seems bizarre to say some things were beyond the Nazis, given their proven role in medical experiments, gassings, extermination vans using carbon monoxide, mass shootings (and the most brutal slave labor practices outside perhaps the ChiComs, Kymer Rouge, and the WWII Japs...)

But after the war, there were lots of white lies peddled to make the Nazis appear even more inhuman and the Jews more sympathetic. Johnnyg in NE DC was reeled into two, perhaps 3:

"While growing up, I saw tons of evidence in footage and photographs, heard first-hand testimony of soldiers, and saw such horrible examples of depravity such as soap bars lampshades made from human body parts. I cannot ever take any of the recent denials with a nano-ounce of seriousness."

That is what happens when particularly good Propaganda Meisters go to work - the trick is to take something plausible (Nazis did monstrous things) and construct a web of lies hooking into the initial confirmed belief - then relentlessly run it in media you control until it becomes an article of faith. Stalin's propagandists set the standard..

"these propaganda lies (of soap and lampshades) have been dispelled many times, but continue to be repeated frequently in establishment sources. It is no wonder that many people still believe these horror stories.
General Lucius Clay, the military governor of the US zone of occupied Germany, explained the lampshade story, "Well, it turned out actually that it was goat flesh [sic --clearly the general meant skin]. But at the trial [of Ilse Koch] it was still human flesh." (Interview with Lucius Clay, 1976, Official Proceeding of the George C. Marshall Research Foundation Quoted in M. Weber, "Buchenwald: Legend and Reality," The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986-87 7(4), pp. 406-407.)

In regard to the human soap story, darling of the establishment media and virulent anti-revisionist Deborah Lipstadt noted in 1981 "The fact is that the Nazis never used the bodies of Jews, or for that matter anyone else, for the production of soap." ("Nazi Soap Rumor During World War II," Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1981, p II/2.) Michael Berenbaum, former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, now supervising Steven Spielberg's taxpayer-funded Holocaust remembrance project, admitted in 1994, "there is no evidence, despite widespread reports, that human fat was used for soap. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tested several bars of soap reported to be composed of human fat but no such fat was found." (Y. Gutman, M. Berenbaum, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1994, p.80.) One would clearly think that the case is closed..."

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040604.html

There appears to be no truth to either the soap or the lampshade, but both stories have been sold well over the years.

As for "individual stories" they are of some value in typifying an event, be it a an earthquake or a genocide, but not core to historical researchers work which goes into primary documents, area surveys, statistics to best understand the scope and magnitude of a big event...since "individual stories" sometimes conflict or are established to be atypical, typical, half-truthed to fit the story tellers own agenda, or purely concocted...as was the recent example to the Kuwaiti Baby Incubator Atrocity - which was also widely believed. That whopper was that Iraqi soldiers were pillaging all the incubators out of Kuwait and dumping live babies onto hospital floors to die so they could pack up "incubator swag" to bring to Baghdad.

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 21, 2006 10:33 PM

Anybody who can rationalize criminal penalty for saying something like, "The Holocaust didn't happen," is an idiot.

Anybody who can rationalize criminal penalty for drawing cartoons of a religious idol is an idiot.

Anybody who would overthink this with an argument that involves the phrase "on the other hand" should stop voting. You think you're a beacon of reason in our society but you're not.

No Emily, in fact, sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Words only hurt if you let them hurt. If you let them hurt, then you are too stupid for democracy. The trouble with laws that criminalize the expression of ideas is not misinterpretation. Rather, the trouble with laws that criminalize the expression of ideas is that they criminalize the expression of ideas.

Anybody who thinks they can accurately draw the line between an idea that is edgy but protected and an idea that truly crosses the line is (a) either still in college,(b) an alumni of a New England college, or (c) something even worse than (a) or (b).

Posted by: JDW | February 21, 2006 10:44 PM

As a Jew I was horrified David Irving's remarks. A seminal moment in my life was visiting Aushwitz and Birkenbau while in Poland in March 1990. Nonetheless, I am also mortified by such a law banning speech. Free speech means allowing the most offensive speech. That's the true test. Take away that right and you nurture the sort of environment where holocausts happen.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 21, 2006 10:58 PM

I'm afraid we're entering a very dark age in human history.

This is just the beginning.

I have little interest in the holocaust, but if there are those who will imprison someone for simply questioning the current version of history, I have to wonder what it is they are hiding.

nukem

Posted by: nukem | February 21, 2006 11:08 PM

Ok Chris, maybe I was duped in part. I was a kid in grade school in the early '60's when I saw that newsreel-type short. It is one of those things that shocks you and is forever stored in your memory.

I do remember that the skin on the lampshades had tatoos. Also, it showed buckets of teeth that were gather to reclaim precious metals. Some things that resemble exhibits at the Holocaust museum, e.g., piles of eyeglasses and clothes, also were depicted.

But as you stated, there is unrefutable evidence of equally horrifying practices by the Natzis, as well as Japanese disregard of humane treatment of POWS.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 22, 2006 01:17 AM

I was very suprised at some of the laws being discussed. A few topics ago a post by a Mr. M J Akbar alluded to some of these types of laws. He posted:

"I quote from Section 266B of the Danish penal code: "Any person who publicly or with the intention of dissemination to a wide circle of people makes a statement or imparts other information threatening, insulting or degrading a group of persons on account of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation, shall be liable to a fine, simple detention or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years." Section 140 adds, "Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months."

My only explanation is that the laws were enacted in reaction to a movement that gripped some European societies and went so far that people acted in inhuman ways. When WWII ended the horrors of the holocaust were exposed, it must have been like a whole society suddenly came to their senses and vowed that it would never happen again. The new wave of governing officials and administrators, with Allied military and Marshall Plan rebuilders looking over their shoulders, enacted these laws as evidence of their determination to turn over a new leaf in the course of European history.

We now examine the laws 45 years later and see them as overcompensation. Those same laws are now being used to not only repress questioning of the holocaust, but also as a basis for prosecuting the Danish newspaper publishers that printed the Muhammad cartoons.

This is an example of history and events exerting influence on the manifestation of human rights in human law. It is often the best intentioned actions that, over time, chip away at our freedoms the most.

Posted by: DK | February 22, 2006 01:59 AM

HI DK,
Left a message for you after yours on cartoon thread.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 22, 2006 02:22 AM

On the occasion of President Washington's birthday, it is important to recall his words from his Farewell Address: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world...avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty."

Immortal words from the only President named George who ever made any sense. Thank you President Washington

OTHERSIDE123.BLOGSPOT.COM
WWW.ONLINEJOURNAL.COM
WWW.TAKINGAIM.INFO
WWW.WAYNEMADSENREPORT.COM

Posted by: CHE | February 22, 2006 03:04 AM

JohnnyG wrote:
"The Nazis were real sons-of-bitches. What I find most sinister about them is that they were capable of carrying out their morbid business and yet were so advanced in engineering and some cutting-edge fields of technology."

It is really quite worse than you think. The truth is that they approached their task with uncommon intelligence and great pragmatism. They approached it as an Industrial Engineering problem. How do you process N number of people through the camps per day? What is its capacity? How much can we increase its efficiency and thus expand its capacity? This is the kind of thinking you would use to plan a meat packing plant or a slaughter house. They were extremely good at logistics, at getting very high efficiencies out of their rail rolling stock for example. Military supplies to the front, Jews coming to the camps from the front. Those rail cars never ran empty.

The real danger, young fellow, is that you might think this is some one time aberation of a past distant to you. Its not. We all carry the capacity for depravity within us to do things we would not imagine. You have seen it in Rwanda, in Cambodia, in East Timor, in the Balkans in your lifetime. Closer to home, did this not occur to you when you saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib? Nor are women immune as we also saw grinning with thumbs up.

Saddam had many tongues cut out, humanely of course; Doctors were employed to do it. Also ears and noses.

It is a really bad mistake to think this is a German problem. Its not. It is a human problem. Any society can be infected by it. The best vaccine against it is an absolute freedom of speech. This is also why we must be intolerant of torture period. Like everything else, torture seeks to creep, to expand its territory, to expand its efficiency, its capacity. You think not?

The amazing thing about the WWII experience is how many millions of ordinary folk found their own way internally to willingly cooperate in the endeavor; and not just Germans, but also Poles, French, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, Danes, Ukranians, etc. Some did not of course, but many more did.

Freedom of speech is absolutely essential to check the insidious progress of such infections.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 22, 2006 03:37 AM

Cayambe:

"The real danger, young fellow, is that you might think this is some one time aberation of a past distant to you. Its not. We all carry the capacity for depravity within us to do things we would not imagine."

I do not, Cayambe, and that was my point. We all are capable. However, it was easier at the time to manipulate the masses utilizing the propaganda machine they had perfected. The mediums of film and radio were still quite new and were utilized very effectively by the Germans.

Hitler's layers and layers of control permeated all levels, and percolated all the way down to the Hitler Youth, and had all under is watch paranoid.

Yeah, Saddam was a big fan of Hitler and carried around a copy of his manifesto!

I believe the shame of it all trumped any concerns for free speech after the war in central Europe, as some above alluded to.

I wish I were a young fellow. I guess it is evident I respond to these posts without researching my "facts," and do so while taking breaks from my work. I'll try to first verify next time :)

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | February 22, 2006 07:08 AM

I WANT TO SHARE SOME COMMENTS/THOUGHTS WITH YOU THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE, HARMONY AND TOLERANCE. IT IS A COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE FROM BIRTH TO DEATH. MUSLIMS LOVE VERY MUCH TO HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (PBUH). PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (PBUH) IS VERY DEAR TO THE MUSLIMS. WE LOVE SO MUCH TO OUR MESSENGER (PBUH). IN OUR RELIGION IT IS PROHIBITED TO MAKE SKETCH OF ALL THE MESSENGERS OF ALLAH (SUBHANA HOO WATALLAH).I ASK YOU A QUESTION.

I THINK RELIGION IS THE MOST SENSITIVE AND IMPORTANT ASPECT OF SOMEONE'S LIFE.

IF SOMEONE HURTS YOUR RELIGIOUS FEELINGS THEN WHAT YOU WOULD DO HIM?

WE SHOULD RESPECT ALL THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD. IF WE RESPECT EACHOTHERS RELIGIONS THIS WORLD IS BECOME A PARADISE AND PEACEFULL PLACE TO LIVE.

WE FEEL THAT, THE (DANISH NEWSPAPER) HAVE COMMITED THE BIGGEST CRIME HAVING PUBLISH THE CARTOON. THEY HAVE HURT THE FEELINGS OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLES (MUSLIMS).

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THAT MUSLIMS ARE INSULING TO ANYBODY? I MEAN FEELINGS OF SOMEONE'S.

MUSLIMS DID NOT HURT TO ANYBODY'S FEELINGS EVER. OUR RELIGION PROHIBITED THIS KIND OF ACTS.

IN THE LAST I REQUEST TO ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD (SPECIALLY THE PRINT MEDIA) TO RESPECT OUR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, FEELINGS ETC. I ALSO REQUEST YOU TO KINDLY ALWAYS WRITE THE NAME OF OUR MESSENGER THIS WAY

" HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (PBUH)"

I AM THANKFUL TO WASHINGTON POST FOR PROVIDING CHANCE TO EXPRESS MY FEELINGS THOUGHTS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.

THANKS, TAKE CARE

HAMZA KHAN

Posted by: HAMZA | February 22, 2006 07:44 AM

Regarding the laws against holocaust denial in Austria and Germany.
These laws were put in place at a time when the Alte Kamaraden were still much alive and kicking. In the late 40's and early 50's adult German and Austrian citizens in had lived in the Reich and, let's be honest, participated in the glorification of the Nazi's.
There was no reason to believe at the time that the Nazi's wouldn't make a massive comback. (It's actually amazing that they never realy surfaced again after 45.)
By stoping holocaust denial, it was hoped (and I think this worked) that Nazis wouldn't be able to scapegoat the Jews (and other victims) for the loss of germany, thus robing them of their main "talking point".

For those that think it's only the Jews that benefit, I think that if someone would stand up and say that no homosexuals were killed in the death camps he would be liable aswel.

Maybe these laws controling free speech should now be stoped, but since they have become such a symbolic thing, no politician will do this.

Posted by: Gueze | February 22, 2006 08:58 AM

I think these issues should be understood in light of Europe's larger restrictions on individual expression.

Arresting holocaust deniers and banning headscarves in French and now British schools, and then defending the Muhammad cartoons (rightly) on free speech grounds exposes Europe to a clear hypocrisy and adds ammunition to those who say that the West is anti-Islam.

More here: More here: http://www.agendagap.com/2006/02/so_much_for_free_speech_in_eur.html

Posted by: Michael R. Herman | February 22, 2006 09:50 AM

Chris Ford Wrote:
"That is what happens when particularly good Propaganda Meisters go to work - the trick is to take something plausible (Nazis did monstrous things) and construct a web of lies hooking into the initial confirmed belief - then relentlessly run it in media you control until it becomes an article of faith. Stalin's propagandists set the standard."

So following your thought logic this can also be true:

That is what happens when particularly good Propaganda Meisters go to work - the trick is to take something plausible (Liberals did monstrous things) and construct a web of lies hooking into the initial confirmed belief - then relentlessly run it in media you control until it becomes an article of faith. Roves propagandists set the standard.

Posted by: Jamal | February 22, 2006 09:50 AM

The media should be held accountable for their actions. We live in a society where the press does not report news anymore, they report their opinions and feelings. This incident with the cartoons was not news , it was a deliberate act to incite controversy. People have died because of it and huge portion of the population in the world was insulted.
I am Catholic and it the total disregard that was shown for the religon of Islam offended me.
There is freedom of speech and there is complete and total disregard for anyone else's beliefs and ideals. The publishers of the cartoons picked the latter.
Should they be punished... of course!
Enough is enough and the media needs to learn that they too need to be responsible for what they print or report. In a world that is ruled by sensationalism, these publications try to one up eachother and now they are killing people in the process.
One thing that needs to be said is that those responsible for the publishing of the cartoons are just as responsible for the deaths that have occurred.
God help us if that is what freedom of speech means now!

Posted by: Rosemary | February 22, 2006 09:57 AM

Cayambe wrote:
"The amazing thing about the WWII experience is how many millions of ordinary folk found their own way internally to willingly cooperate in the endeavor; and not just Germans, but also Poles, French, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, Danes, Ukranians, etc. Some did not of course, but many more did."

It's scary to think, but after the war a study was done in the US that concluded that it was probable that many Americans (I forget the statistic, but I believed it was over 50%) would be capable of going the path of the Nazis and contributing to government sponsored abuse. All that was needed to cause an average man to electrocute someone to lethal levels (the person was behind a screen and could be heard but not seen. There were screams leading up to the mid-high shocks and silence at the lethal levels) was a man in a lab coat behind them saying, calmly, that they needed to continue. During some became stressed out. And afterwards? They felt good about themselves. Again, if I recall correctly, only one or two people were overly concerned, and one was simply because he was worried about his own heart. You are right, Cayambe. This is a problem with all people.

Posted by: Freedom | February 22, 2006 10:54 AM

Not to pick on Rosemary, but she is clearly off the wagon. But it is comments like this that terrify me:

"One thing that needs to be said is that those responsible for the publishing of the cartoons are just as responsible for the deaths that have occurred."

Have we all confused the victims for the perpetrators here? Danish embassies burned not Syrian ones.

This idea that Some Religious Group was Deeply Offended by X therefore Whomever Does X is inciting violence is a DANGEROUS reality in Islamic society. Not so much here in the states, but Rosemary wants that changed (apparently).

I'll appeal to your sense of womanhood, perhaps that will convince you of the danger of your position.

According to Shari'ah Law (which is based off the Qur'an and the Sunnah which is the life example of the prophet, I think) it is illegal for women to be viewed in public without their traditional head covering or Burka.

Politically it is virtually impossible for women to change this law. In the countries where women can participate in the electoral process, they are intimidated with beatings, rapings, acid, domestic violence, etc. from challenging Shari'ah law. That is... in the countries that actually dare allow women to vote. Saudi Arabia does not, so they don't even need to beat, rape, or throw acid in the face of the women who try and change, they just imprison them.

Not that it would matter if women could vote, because a key difference between Western laws is that they are created by legislators who are elected by the people. This is not hte case in Islamic society, where the laws are based on the Subjective Interpretation of the Qur'an of the Cleric-class. So even if, for some crazy reason, all the women in SAudi Arabia got the vote tomorrow, decided they weren't afraid of acid, rape, or beatings at home, and voted on changing the law, it would be forbidden in accordance with the Prophet's wishes.

The worst case scenario is Saudi Arabia, where this discussion or dissent cannot even take place because it is explicitly outlawed. In Iraq, there is no law on the rulebooks that says women *MUST* wear their Burka because Iraq is not yet an Islamic country (I stress yet, because sectarian Islamic groups continually win votes while secular ones lose them)

But in Iraq, no law is really necessary because an environment of violence discourages women from violating the cultural "taboos" like showing their hair in public. Women like Sumeya Abdullah, 35 year old school teacher, knows all too well what happens when Iraqi women fail to don their abaya: in a crowded market assailants threw acid in her face.

Or Hania Abdul-Jabbar, student, 23, who was kidnapped, beaten, and had acid dripped on her face/legs for failure to cover herself properly.

For these women, and the women who decide not to take a risk with Acid attacks, the effect is the same as if there really was an explicit law enforcing Abaya/Hijab/Burkas on women. An environment of fear discourages them from doing what is legally sanctioned.

It is precisely this kind of violent environment that a Danish newspaper protested.

I would love for you to explain to the Iraqi women, who now must live the rest of their lives disfigured from acid attacks, that they incited the violence visited upon them by ignoring sacred Shari'ah law.

These women suffer in silence because the only countries that would dare challenge the religion that imprisons them is condemned by the world over. Have a nice day (because you do not live in Saudi Arabia)

Posted by: Will | February 22, 2006 11:37 AM

Austria is going too far withIrving.Lipstadt did it the right way. There are many people like Irving . We must fight their efforts with more education.

Posted by: morgan-lynn lamberth | February 22, 2006 12:51 PM

Flemming Rose , the Danish editor who ran the cartoons explained wellwhy he did so.Iagree with him. We can satirize Judaism without recourse to a hook d-nose money grabbing person displayed. Iwould Satirize Joshua as an ethnic cleanser[ Actually, he is legend].

Posted by: morgan-lynn lamberth | February 22, 2006 01:00 PM

Flemming Rose , the Danish editor who ran the cartoons explained wellwhy he did so.Iagree with him. We can satirize Judaism without recourse to a hook d-nose money grabbing person displayed. Iwould Satirize Joshua as an ethnic cleanser[ Actually, he is legend].

Posted by: morgan-lynn lamberth | February 22, 2006 01:00 PM

Cayambe Wrote:

"It is a really bad mistake to think this is a German problem. Its not. It is a human problem. Any society can be infected by it. The best vaccine against it is an absolute freedom of speech. This is also why we must be intolerant of torture period. Like everything else, torture seeks to creep, to expand its territory, to expand its efficiency, its capacity. You think not?"

I agree with "freedom of speech" and add checks and balances. Or in Industrial Engineering terms, a good QA/QC program to prevent what happened in Germany. The Nazis first task was to destroy opposing parties.

I do not agree with some comments in this blob, but it's a necessity for those comments to be written. Nor do I, as a Democrat, call for the total destruction of conservatives and Republicans, they keep opposing parties in line.

Posted by: Jamal | February 22, 2006 01:21 PM

HUSTLER SATIRIZED CHRISTIANITY IN TH E PERSON OF FALWELL. SATIRIZING SHOA WOULD BE DESPICABLE.

Posted by: | February 22, 2006 01:39 PM

intolerance, is not necessarily an open discussion.

healing any belief-based system, requires effort...


most of you don't even understand what I said...


cognition is a process, understanding isn't a static/preexisting state, it's an unbiased perspective.

good luck in working out the difference between belief and actuality.

Posted by: The best answer to stupidity is education... | February 22, 2006 02:01 PM

Duck said: "Besides the captured papers, the books, the memo's and all the other documentation of Hitlers Final Solution.

"I think the testemony of my grandfather who was one of the soldiers that liberated these death camps makes for a pretty convincing argument."

Dear Duck:

There are no captured papers, books, or memos that attest unambiguously that the Holocaust occurred. There are only some ambiguous documents that can be given a sinister interpretation if one is inclined, for example, to assume that terms like "special treatment" are euphemisms. But if that is your approach then you are twisting the evidence to force your preconceived conclusion.

If your grandfather was "one of the soldiers that liberated these death camps" then he must have been in the Soviet RED ARMY, because none of the camps that U.S. or British troops liberated in 1945 is today regarded by mainstream scholars as having been a deathcamp. In other words, today it is not claimed by mainstream scholars that anybody was gassed at Dachau etc., although people were told that in 1945.

Probably the main piece of "evidence" that makes people believe in the Holocaust is the film-footage that the U.K. and U.S. armies made in some concentration camps. The problem is, as I said, that none of those sites is today called a deathcamp. There is not one victim of gassing in any of those films. Typhus was the scourge that killed internees for weeks even after the British and Americans took over.

"Seeing is believing," but one has to be skeptical as to whether the background story told about what one sees is really accurate. There was a motive to lie about the Germans in 1945 and there is such a motive even today.

Hadding@national-socialism.us

Posted by: Hadding Scott | February 22, 2006 02:16 PM

belief-based systems.

to change them, you have to inaugurate within them the concept that


truth still exists outside of their belief systems, that the truth in their books came from the world that they live within...

the creation cycle has the world coming first, then books.


books, usually reflect the bias of the authors...

not the truth....


talk about that.

mohammed was a general, with a goal, interpreting a dream that created the staid belief based system called Islam....

Posted by: primitives of all nationalities depend upon... | February 22, 2006 02:21 PM

there seem to be numerous, claims and footage of film that I've seen...

italian, polish, german, austrian sources...for these stories

the film, "The Nasty Girl" for example.


what's your story mien herr?

Posted by: Mr. Scott, what is your particular problem? | February 22, 2006 02:26 PM

Hamza wrote:
=================================
I WANT TO SHARE SOME COMMENTS/THOUGHTS WITH YOU THAT ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE, HARMONY AND TOLERANCE. IT IS A COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE FROM BIRTH TO DEATH. MUSLIMS LOVE VERY MUCH TO HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (PBUH). PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (PBUH) IS VERY DEAR TO THE MUSLIMS. WE LOVE SO MUCH TO OUR MESSENGER (PBUH). IN OUR RELIGION IT IS PROHIBITED TO MAKE SKETCH OF ALL THE MESSENGERS OF ALLAH (SUBHANA HOO WATALLAH).I ASK YOU A QUESTION.

I THINK RELIGION IS THE MOST SENSITIVE AND IMPORTANT ASPECT OF SOMEONE'S LIFE.

IF SOMEONE HURTS YOUR RELIGIOUS FEELINGS THEN WHAT YOU WOULD DO HIM?
=================================

If your religion is ISLAM, a religion of PEACE, HARMONY AND TOLERANCE, from birth to death, (you did say that didn't you?) then I would think your religious feelings would be beyond any infidel's ability to hurt, and, in any case, the perceived offense must be TOLERATED for the sake of PEACE and HARMONY.

=================================
WE SHOULD RESPECT ALL THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD. IF WE RESPECT EACH OTHERS RELIGIONS THIS WORLD IS BECOME A PARADISE AND PEACEFULL PLACE TO LIVE.

It depends on what you mean by the term "RESPECT". I respect every individuals right to believe as he or she chooses, to include religious beliefs, and to express their beliefs. I reserve to myself that same right. I believe that all so-called religions, including ISLAM, are sheer nonsense having no foundation in nature beyond what our imaginations construct in our own heads. I have yet to resolve the enduring mystery of why so many millions of people can take it so seriously. You might consider this a lack of respect, even blasphemy. I don't. It reflects my incredulity, my inability to believe in nonsense. Are you insulted? Perhaps; many Christians I have encountered have felt that way. But that is not my intent, not my purpose. I simply do not believe in it, for what seem to me eminently logical reasons, and I am free to say so. You may feel insulted or you may feel sorry for me in my ignorance and/or stupidity. Which feeling you have is your choice, not mine. What you cannot do is constrain either my thinking or my expression of what I think to conform to your beliefs, any more that I can constrain your thinking or expression of it to mine. This is an agreement we have made among ourselves here in the United States as a sovereign nation. If it offends you, that is tough. You need to get in touch with the "tolerant" aspects of your religion.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 22, 2006 02:26 PM

Dear Hadding Scott-

I have seen the American/British troop liberation videos and what I saw were hundreds and/or thousands of emaciated bodies being disposed of.

Whether or not these people died from gas chambers, or typhus, or laughed themselves to death is irrelevant. Their blood is on German hands. The people I saw were walking skeletons.

Posted by: Will | February 22, 2006 02:28 PM

and recording the time it took for them to die...


that in the instance of death by "chilling" or hypothermia was used to create certain treatments, and clothing to prevent those....so exact was the level of detail to the "specimens" deathing process.

Posted by: also, there were journals that were done relating to killing prisoners... | February 22, 2006 02:30 PM

"WE SHOULD RESPECT ALL THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD. IF WE RESPECT EACH OTHERS RELIGIONS THIS WORLD IS BECOME A PARADISE AND PEACEFULL PLACE TO LIVE."

And if we respect Islamic Shari'ah Law then the free excercise of Religions other than Islam are persecutable offenses as they are in Saudi Arabia.

The problem with "respecting Islam" and living in a "tolerant peaceful paradise" is that if we take the former to the extreme the two become mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Will | February 22, 2006 02:31 PM

and soap from the tissues of the bodies...


and there were also supposed to be numerous others:

gypsies, mental patients, christian sects, gays...

6-7 million besides the Jews, so more like 12 million died in camps...


while the germans were kept over here working on farms, out-of-doors and returned healthy....not-so-the-japanese who looked different.

non-aryan


this is sort of olde hat.

Posted by: I believe there are also tales of making lampshades from the skin... | February 22, 2006 02:35 PM

The truth needs no laws to enforce it!

...there should be nothing wrong if Islamic countries create laws to punish those who deny or downplay the ISRAELI ATROCITIES inflicted on Palestinian civilians for the past few decades...

Posted by: Zionist Hoodlum | February 22, 2006 02:43 PM

what's sensational to some is ordinary to others...

in some parts of malaysia drinking snakeblood is supposed to be good for potency...they don't do it to impress anyone...


I'm sure that to some extent that having a reaction is something that people need to be responsible for...themselves...


I would think that you would want to confront people about their lack of civility in controlling their emotions about something so insignificant as profaning by non-believers...


it's a part of life.

Posted by: sensationalism.... | February 22, 2006 03:14 PM

Those who make laws that criminalize free expresion are more like the Nazi's than those who would denie them.

Posted by: Equus | February 22, 2006 03:16 PM

in order to free them of their lack of flexibility...

Posted by: I think it's important to actually mock people that are intolerant of it... | February 22, 2006 03:17 PM

revenge is sort of old world...


that's the point isn't it?


an endless tribal cycle?


it's the big selling point in movies isn't it?


people are trained by modern movies, where there are black and white motives....


that's not very real world, and speaks to the primitism of dualistic viewpoints

inherent in islam, roman-inspired christianity, and judaism...


desert tribal mentality, power over.

Posted by: getting even is the simple cycle for simple people... | February 22, 2006 03:22 PM

Irving's "theories", such as they are, should be allowed to be out in the open, in the market place of ideas to be read, dissecticated and judged for whatever merit they have. An individual can choose to agree or disagree with him, that is their right. And I feel the same way about the cartoons.

The idea that someone can be sent to prison for uttering an opinion amounts to nothing less than tyranny, whether its in Saudi Arabia, Austria, the US, etc. Freedom of speech is a great way to play "spot the idiot"...let his views be aired and let he be judged as the idiot he is. Don't make him a martyr.

Posted by: | February 22, 2006 03:46 PM

Damn, post slipped away before I could put my 'X' on it!

Posted by: D. | February 22, 2006 03:47 PM

Freedom wrote:

"It's scary to think, but after the war a study was done in the US that concluded that it was probable that many Americans (I forget the statistic, but I believed it was over 50%) would be capable of going the path of the Nazis and contributing to government sponsored abuse."

I think you are refering to a study conducted by Milgram at Yale in 1961-62. It was found that 65% of participants gave the maximum shock of 450 volts to "learners". No one stopped before 300 volts, even though the "learner" was screaming in pain.

This research study has been duplicated dozens of times from 1961 to 1985 and the results have stood the test of time.

In the original study, the person administering the shock couldn't see the "learner" they could only hear them. In a follow-up study, in which the shocker or "teacher" was in actual physical contact with the learner, 32% of participants still administered a 400-volt shock.

These research findings are of enormous significance to everyone. And it just does to show that a person can never really know how they will react to a situation. The only prompt that Milgram used to encourage participants to continue administering shocks was the simple statement that "the experiment must continue."

http://www.new-life.net/milgram.htm

Posted by: Adrienne | February 22, 2006 04:27 PM

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info
www.wsws.org

www.infowars.com

Secret Service agents say Cheney was drunk when he shot lawyer

DOUG THOMPSON / Capitol Hill Blue | February 22 2006

A written report from Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago says Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

Agents observed several members of the hunting party, including the Vice President, consuming alcohol before and during the hunting expedition, the report notes, and Cheney exhibited "visible signs" of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions, the report said.

According to those who have read the report and talked with others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up.

We talked with a number of administration officials who are privy to inside information on the Vice President's shooting "accident" and all admit Secret Service agents and others saw Cheney consume far more than the "one beer' he claimed he drank at lunch earlier that day.

"This was a South Texas hunt," says one White House aide. "Of course there was drinking. There's always drinking. Lots of it."

Cheney has a long history of alcohol abuse, including two convictions of driving under the influence when he was younger. Doctors tell me that someone like Cheney, who is taking blood thinners because of his history of heart attacks, could get legally drunk now after consuming just one drink.

If Cheney was legally drunk at the time of the shooting, he could be guilty of a felony under Texas law and the shooting, ruled an accident by a compliant Kenedy County Sheriff, would be a prosecutable offense.

But we will never know for sure because the owners of the Armstrong Ranch, where the shooting occurred, barred the sheriff's department from the property on the day of the shooting and Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas III agreed to wait until the next day to send deputies in to talk to those involved.

Sheriff's Captain Charles Kirk says he went to the Armstrong Ranch immediately after the shooting was reported on Saturday, February 11 but both he and a game warden were not allowed on the 50,000-acre property. He called Salinas who told him to forget about it and return to the station.

"I told him don't worry about it. I'll make a call," Salinas said. The sheriff claims he called another deputy who moonlights at the Armstrong ranch, said he was told it was "just an accident" and made the decision to wait until Sunday to investigate.

"We've known these people for years. They are honest and wouldn't call us, telling us a lie," Salinas said.

Like all elected officials in Kenedy County, Salinas owes his job to the backing and financial support of Katherine Armstrong, owner of the ranch and the county's largest employer.

"The Armstrongs rule Kenedy County like a fiefdom," says a former employee.

Secret Service officials also took possession of all tests on Whittington's blood at the hospitals where he was treated for his wounds. When asked if a blood alcohol test had been performed on Whittington, the doctors who treated him at Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial in Corpus Christi or the hospital in Kingsville refused to answer. One admits privately he was ordered by the Secret Service to "never discuss the case with the press."

It's a sure bet that is a private doctor who treated the victim of Cheney's reckless and drunken actions can't talk to the public then the memo that shows the Vice President was drunk as a skunk will never see the light of day.

Posted by: che | February 22, 2006 04:32 PM

It's often said that actions speak louder than words. It's a sad day when it takes a weekly paper in Seattle, The Stranger (www.thestranger.com) to have the guts to actually print the cartoons, and take the wind out of the sails of the fundamentalist carp coming from both the Bushies and the Wahhabis (admittedly, some are both).

Trying to connect holocaust denial (which, like Intelligent Design, is just plain wrong) with press freedom is like trying to claim that we have always been at War with Oceania, as the Bushies would have us believe.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | February 22, 2006 04:44 PM

Adrienne wrote:

" . . . 65% of participants gave the maximum shock of 450 volts to "learners".

___________

A shocking fact that always stuck with me, is that the best represented professional group having memberships in the German Nazi paerty was elementary school teachers.

I seem to recall that the source was "History of the Third Reich" published decades ago.

Posted by: On the plantation | February 22, 2006 04:55 PM

The untold story now told.

Obviously Cheney was having a delayed reaction to having watched "Brokeback Mountain" the night before. When the quail was flushed it started a psychotic episode whereby Dickkk thought he saw Heath and Jake and unconsciously drew a bead on them. It was only after he pulled the trigger that he realized he was actually shooting at Harry Whittington.

Clearly, given the fact that Dickkk Cheney produced a lesbian daughter (who fought in Vietnam next to John Kerry) there must be a recessive homosexual gene carried by Cheney. Cheney views himself as a cowboy, much like Shrubya, therefore his acts of aggression directed at phantom homosexual characters speaks of the fear he has in turning into a gay man himself. Hence the shooting is an allegory of the eternal conflict which wars within his tortured soul. Like Willie Nelson recently sung, there is an inner lady waiting to get out of every cowboy.

And since DicKKK continues denying the true gay urges which well up within his tortured soul at the sight of quail, he might have to switch to wabbit hunting.

Posted by: MS | February 22, 2006 04:56 PM

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, is also a good source of info. It attempts to lay to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans.

Perhaps the appeal of barbarity is innately human afterall.

Posted by: D. | February 22, 2006 05:07 PM

D, "Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans."

And Lithuanians, and Hungarians, and Czechs, and French, and Swiss, and Ukrainians, and Poles, AND last but not least, Zionist collaborators who saw German support of immigration Israel as more important than stopping Jewish persecutione in Europe and negotiated with and paid the Nazis on that basis...

Posted by: Chris Ford | February 22, 2006 06:24 PM

It never stops. The unending concern by Americans over the "unique monstrosity" of the Germans. What is the primary charge against Germans? The intentionally killed innocent, unarmed civilians for what they believed was a "greater good."

Meanwhile, the Americans had a policy of intentionally killing innocent, unarmed civilians for what they said was a "greater good" -- as per the deliberate murder of hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civlians via high explosive, incendiary, and finally nuclear bombs.

No wonder that the best and the brightest among us NEVER let go of the German thing, and never get hold of the American. It might lead to a little self-reflection on who we are willing to kill for a "greater good." Like Iraqis, say.

Posted by: Bradley Smith | February 22, 2006 07:09 PM

"Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."
Having just read the Pianist I am sickened by people who compare the Americans with the outrages of the Nazis. Are you saying that the Americans swing children by there feet to smash their heads against a wall to kill them as the Nazis did to Jewish children.
I am by now means a fan of American foreign policy especially when it comes to free trade but the people who advocate doing nothing to oppose a mass murdering dictator and who advocate the withdraw of troops to allow a civil war are just as complacent as the Germans who allowed their friends & neighbours to be dragged away and turned a blind eye.
In answer to the topic, why allow someone to perpetuate lies in order to incite racial hatred. You only had to watch David Irving when he was interviewed to see him squirming to save his skin but at the same time to try to reinforce his original point that the holocaust was a lie.

Posted by: Michael Aldridge | February 22, 2006 07:49 PM

Hamza Khan,

Thank you for posting. I read your message and I interpret it as a good faith attempt to explain your viewpoint in regard to the cartoon controversy. Even though it seems like this topic is going on the back-burner now, I want to comment on what I see in your message and how many Americans and possibly many Europeans might perceive it.

The motive for free speech in our society is the protection of people's ideas and the protection of the people that think of and express their ideas. I sense that you are expressing a desire to protect ideas as well. You say:

"WE SHOULD RESPECT ALL THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD. IF WE RESPECT EACHOTHERS RELIGIONS THIS WORLD IS BECOME A PARADISE AND PEACEFULL PLACE TO LIVE."

This is a noble sentiment. It seems as though your perspective on protection of all religions is to refrain from saying anything disrespectful about other religions to the point where speaking disrespectfully should be considered a crime. I draw this conclusion based on this statement in your post:

"WE FEEL THAT, THE (DANISH NEWSPAPER) HAVE COMMITED THE BIGGEST CRIME HAVING PUBLISH THE CARTOON. THEY HAVE HURT THE FEELINGS OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLES (MUSLIMS).

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THAT MUSLIMS ARE INSULING TO ANYBODY? I MEAN FEELINGS OF SOMEONE'S.

MUSLIMS DID NOT HURT TO ANYBODY'S FEELINGS EVER. OUR RELIGION PROHIBITED THIS KIND OF ACTS."

In the U.S. and other countiries that have a similar viewpoint of free expression as we do, we have a different perspective that can be confusing to people not used to dealing with all the consequences of free expression. We believe that the only way to completely safeguard any single idea and the people/person that espouse it is to allow the expression of all ideas and viewpoints, even those that are disrespectful of other ideas. There are implications associated with our way. The one that seems most contradictory to those not familiar with our ways is that in order to protect an idea and the people that espouse it, we often must uphold others rights to disparage it and them. It is something of a paradox that can often create a lot of discomfort, but through the generations we Americans have learned to live with the paradox.

There are a few concepts that we accept that allow us to live with this paradox:

1) Worthy ideas can withstand disparagement

2) The honor of an idea or a person is not impugned by external insults or disrespect

3) Just because disparagement is printed, spoken, or made public doesn't mean that all that become aware of it agree with it, even if they agree with the right to speak the disparagement or put it in print. I would suspect that a great many Americans and Europeans thought the cartoons were in poor taste and recognized their insult potential to Muslims.

4) From a religious standpoint, God is the ultimate judge. If it seems that unbelievers are getting away with blasphemy, they will have to face Gods judgement at some point.

These concepts do not always provide great comfort,which leads me to another part of your message:

"I ASK YOU A QUESTION.

I THINK RELIGION IS THE MOST SENSITIVE AND IMPORTANT ASPECT OF SOMEONE'S LIFE.

IF SOMEONE HURTS YOUR RELIGIOUS FEELINGS THEN WHAT YOU WOULD DO HIM?"

Here are some possible answers to that question that are acceptable in our society (some more acceptble than others)

1) Forming and expressing intellegent arguments in defense of your idea,

2) Ignore him

3) Take some action to prove the worth of your idea

4) Cussing out the offending person or people and telling them to shut up

An unacceptable response would be:

1) Killing or harming the offending person or their loved ones

2) Harming the property of the offending person or their loved one's property

When things go wrong and people and or property are harmed, it is considered criminal.

America is a heterogenious society. Our country is often described as a melting pot. This is generally in reference to immigration. To me the melting pot idea encompasses all the ideas, cultures, and values of the myraid peoples that make up our society. We speak with many voices and sometimes it is difficult to focus in on a defining identity for all Americans. The one aspect that we all share is the body of laws that govern our lives and the rights that those laws protect. Over the course of our history we have fought hard to protect those rights and laws within legislative chambers as well as on battlefields. We hold our rights including that of free expression so dear because it is those rights that allow us to choose our own paths and grow along those paths to attain our greatest aspirations as people. As such we are not afraid of criticism because it tests our mettle, forces us to question ourselves and at times make adjustments (when we choose to), and ultimately become more than we ever thought possible.

The approach you seem to espouse,that of refraining from saying anything disrespectful about any religion would seem to promote the greatest level of peace, but I have a few questions about interpretation.

First, what is considered disrespectful? Obviously the cartoons are, although it could be that somepeople not familiar with Islam would not have known that. What about an idea? What if a Muslim studied and began to form some conclusions not in keeping with any known Islamic teachings? What if, for example someone started preaching that the prophet Muhammad was actually divine? How would other Muslims react? Would they respect that view as another religion? Or would they condemn it as an insult to their version of Islam? With the approach you seem to advocate, even though well intentioned, people will be denied the opportunity to fully explore their ideas and to grow as individuals.

Posted by: DK | February 22, 2006 11:48 PM

che,

Interesting story, we'll never now if it's true, but it seems more realistic than the original version. It's difficult to tell what had more holes in it, Harry Whittington or the original Armstrong account.

Posted by: Jamal | February 23, 2006 12:32 AM

"Mr. Scott, what is your particular problem?" said: "there seem to be numerous, claims and footage of film that I've seen... italian, polish, german, austrian sources...for these stories
the film, "The Nasty Girl" for example.
what's your story mien herr?"

In the first place, You should not try to use German words if you do not know how to spell them.

In the second place, claims are unconvincing unless they can be supported with physical evidence and there is none.

The 1991 film that you mention, "The Nasty Girl," has nothing in it that proves the Holocaust. Is that the best example that you could offer?

The footage that is used and over and over, showing dead bodies of alleged Holocaust victims, was taken by the British and US armies in 1945. No such footage was ever produced by the Soviet Red Army, in Auschwitz. These films were used originally to support the accusation of mass-murder by gassing but they were all made in western Germany, where today no mainstream scholar claims that any gassing occurred. What those films show are victims of a typhus epidemic. This footage was made selectively as propaganda to justify the war, and omits to show the internees who were in good health, although it is possible to find some photos of them.

Hadding@national-socialism.us

Posted by: Hadding Scott | February 23, 2006 02:29 PM

Will Said:

"I have seen the American/British troop liberation videos and what I saw were hundreds and/or thousands of emaciated bodies being disposed of.

"Whether or not these people died from gas chambers, or typhus, or laughed themselves to death is irrelevant. Their blood is on German hands. The people I saw were walking skeletons."

I beg to differ. The nature of the accusation is extremely different if the casualties among internees in German custody were due primarily to a disease epidemic rather than an act of the German Government.

For one thing, tt becomes a question of possible negligence rather than active malice.

For another, the idea that 6 million Jews died of disease in German custody is absurd, even more absurd than the proposition that this many were gassed.

The disease epidemic at the end of the war was caused by overcrowding, which in turn was caused by the retreat of German forces into a smaller and smaller area in 1945. In a letter dated 10 March, Heinrich Himmler ordered that all necessary measures should be taken to stop an outbreak of typhus at Bergen-Belsen.

The following information about typhus comes from the University of Montana http://scarab.msu.montana.edu/historybug/typhus.htm :

"Typhus has always been associated with war. Indeed, one of its many colloquial names is war fever. Zinsser (1934) stated, "Typhus had come to be the inevitable and expected companion of war and revolution; no encampment, no campaigning army, and no besieged city escaped it." ... Mortality is incredibly high under epidemic conditions, nearing 100%.... The conditions of war are perfect for typhus to explode into a raging epidemic because poverty, crowding, mass migrations, inadequate housing, and malnutrition encourage its spread. The Plague of Athens in 420 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War, may have been the first recorded typhus epidemic. Typhus' association with war and its devastating effect continued until World War II. A potentially horrific epidemic was averted in Sicily and Italy in 1943 through a concerted delousing campaign engineered by the Allies using the then miraculous compound, DDT."

The epidemic in Athens in 420 B.C. was, like the epidemic in the German concentration camps, a result of overcrowding in wartime. Bear in mind that with a collapsed infrastructure the Germans in 1945 were fighting typhus under much more difficult circumstances than those faced by the Allies in Allied-occupied Sicily 1943.

Some people died of typhus under the Allied occupation of Sicily in 1943. Is their blood on Allied hands?

Posted by: Hadding Scott | February 23, 2006 03:20 PM

Erratum: The information on typhus is from Montana State University, not the University of Montana.

Posted by: Hadding Scott | February 23, 2006 03:42 PM

Michael Aldridge:
I understand what you're saying. You do not appear to understand what I am getting at. Why this neverending blah blah in America about the "unique monstrosity" of the Germans, and no serious reflection on the monstrous acts that we ourselves perform in the name of a "greater good?"

It may be true that Germans smashed the heads of babies against walls (I don't believe it but that's neither here nor there with regard to the central issue), but it is certainly true that Americans intentionally burned alive tens of thousands of Japanese and German babies for a "greater good." This is simply not a matter of "outrage" for Americans. We save our outrage for what others did. In that respect, we behave like children.

If it's wrong for Germans to intentionally kill babies for what they claimed was a greater good, then it must be wrong for Americans to intentionally kill babies for what we are told was a greater good. Unless we will have one standard of morality for all others, and another for ourselves.

I suspect you have not read deeply (not to make too much of it) in revisionist literature. If you're of a mind to take a run at it you can begin at www.codoh.com

And good luck to you.

Posted by: Bradley Smith | February 23, 2006 06:36 PM

"To me the melting pot idea encompasses all the ideas, cultures, and values of the myraid peoples that make up our society"

It is a myth to say that the United States was not founded to be a diverse melting pot. It was created and prospered because of shared European ideas values. Society functions better with foundational unity than chaotic diversity or individualism.

Posted by: Scott Hansen | February 24, 2006 12:03 AM

Scott Hansen:

European ideas and values, yes. Not exactly the MultiCult notion that so permeates modern discourse and is pounded into our heads by liberal media when we are told to take in people from cultures that take slaves, sell children and allow "honor killings" of wives and lack the values we hold dear.

The United States was not founded to be a nation of many races (which is why only free whites were allowed citizenship until into the 20th century), as John Jay had remarked in the Federalist Papers, "Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs..."

Multiethnic states are known throughout history for their conflicts and nearly endless wars, such as Rwanda. There is no such thing as a melting pot.

Posted by: | February 24, 2006 12:48 AM

You're going to tell me that the fabric of America isn't the result of a host of different cultures, ethnicities, and races that have come together in this great country?

Look at the variety of our food, music, art, architecture, literature. Think about how the immigrants from so many nations have contributed their muscle and brainpower to building our infrastructure, industries, and technologies.

As for John Jay, his remark may have been true in 1789, but since then "We the People", including millions of immigrants from all over the world, have lived by the ideals that Jay helped to establish in our government. In so doing the application of those ideals over time gradually erased injustices that existed within this country during Jay's time (slavery, civil rights, womens rights). It is a much different society today than what existed in Jay's day, but it is a soceity that I believe lives up to the collective dreams of the founding fathers as they embodied those dreams in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

They might not have imagined exactly the form this country would take when they wrote down their ideas, but it was their faith in those pristine ideas, not their individual preconceived notions of how those ideas might take effect, that fueled the development of this country and continue to fuel it today.

Posted by: DK | February 25, 2006 01:50 AM

Why is Irving getting convicted by a law that was created after the offending statements where posted? I know it was wrong thing to do but it was two decades ago.

Posted by: ---------"God"--------- | March 12, 2006 01:45 PM

For me, being convicted of something he did before that law was put into place is outjust outrage. It is like saying that if a country creates a law in 2006 that people cannot smoke in public areas, hospitals, schools, offices, buildings, restaurants, etc..., and a man smokes in 2004 in a public area, should he be convicted? It may not be the same scenario but still the same basic outline of being convicted of breaking the law before the law was put in place. I believe that had Irving said his comments after the law was created, then he would have been mistaken, knowing that it would cause chaotic problems for him.

Posted by: Ibrahim Samir | March 13, 2006 11:46 AM

A glaring fact is that every person has the freedom of speech, and they are entitled to share it, but if they probably know it is provocative then they should restrain from doing whatever they wanted to do. An example is the illustration of the cartoons in Denmark. The man who published them has the right to speak and share his opinion, but for sure, only a person has the brain of a one-year old, can deny that what he draw was provocative. Please people reply i really want to know your opinion on this topic.

Posted by: Ibrahim Samir | March 13, 2006 11:47 AM

I'll reply Mr. Samir.

I believe in free speech. I was brought up with it as part of my culture. It seems as natural to me as breathing. Many Americans feel the same way and we have a hard time understanding those that believe that something said or written by another could trigger the kind of violent response we have seen throughout the world over the cartoons. I agree the cartoons were provocative, but when I hear or read ideas that are offensive to something I hold dear, I take the stance that an insult to my ideas, values, or spirit can not stain the honor of what I believe in. I have faith in my ideas and their basis in truth. By reacting violently I would only be giving creedance to the insult.

I believe Muslims can think the same way about their religion. No cartoon can muddy what your prophet represents to you and the millions that believe in the message he was chosen to deliver. Protesting peacefully is one thing, but the violence is damaging. Just because some crass artist and a magazine publisher decided to create and publish the cartoons and western laws allow them to be published, doesn't mean that all westerners appreciate those kind of cartoons.

Freedom of speech in the U.S. is intended to protect ideas. Sometimes to do that you have to let some ideas be attacked and even insulted. Some of those ideas are held very dear by many people. I've heard and read things that attacked Christianity, Judiasm, Islam, and relgion in general, but the beauty of all those things continue to shine through. Crass criticism falls to the wayside, while powerful truths that feed the spirit and provide direction in our lives live on and on.

Posted by: DK | March 14, 2006 01:50 AM

As Ibrahim Samir also said the cartoon is very offensive to many people around the world, but it is still freedome of speech so i believe that the magizine editor has his rights to put it in his magizine (as much as i disagree with it) another thing i would like to comment on is on what mister DK said. I was very pleased with his comment because it is almost as if i came out of my own mouth. I would like to emphazize this following quote: "Protesting peacefully is one thing, but the violence is damaging" which i have taken from his comment. And what bothers me more is that when a couple of protester irreleveant of cause, race and religion, go around burning cars it show is immoral and in a sence stupid.

"With freedome comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes respect of others."

Posted by: Naguib, CAC | March 14, 2006 09:40 AM

Mr. Samir and Mr. Naguib,

I would like to address you both:

"With freedome comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes respect of others."

An excellent saying. I'm familiar with the first part, but I've never heard it stated with the last part: "...with responsibility comes respect for others." I would also add restraint. Our leaders haven't shown enough restraint in fighting the War on Terror. I believe that too many Muslims have been led to believe that the war is against all Muslims instead of those who would actually commit acts of terrorism and their supporters.

I am an American living in the Washington DC area. I clearly remember 9/11 and will never forget it. My daughter was in a daycare a few miles away from the Pentagon on that day and it was an anxious morning spent getting from my work over there to get her. The company I worked for at the time had some consulting contracts in New York and we ended up helping to staff the Emergency Operations Center in the City for months. Two weeks after the attack, I spent 3 days there providing computerized mapping support to personnel in the field at ground zero. I wasn't as affected by 9/11 as many who lost loved ones, and I certainly haven't suffered anything compared to many in Iraq or Afganistan, but I do believe in fighting the terrorists. The trouble is I believe the the War on Terror has gotten confused with the conflict in Iraq and now one potentially brewing in Iran. I wish we had never attacked Iraq. At the time many of us were afraid of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons that our government told us Iraq possessed. It was and still is heartbreaking to many of us to now know that Iraq didn't have those weapons.

Unfortunately I don't think there is enough dialog between people in the middle east and those in the U.S. and other western nations. There is no understanding between us.

If you are willing, I would like hear some of your views. Could you tell me what country you are from, if you comfortable doing that? Then could you answer some of these questions?:

1) Prior to 9/11 what was your sense of how most Muslims perceived the U.S. - good or bad and why?

2) Have those perceptions changed since 9/11? If so how and why?

3) How do you and other Muslims view the war in Iraq?

4) Do you and other Muslims feel threatened by groups like Al Qaeda?

5) Do you and other Muslims feel threatened by the U.S. and other western nations?

6) What perceptions do you see U.S. people having about Muslims and Islam that you would like to change?

Posted by: DK | March 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Now before i answer the questions i would like to know where you are from, so i could answer these interrogative questions.

Posted by: Ibrahim Samir | March 20, 2006 10:49 AM

I would just like to agree with Mr.Naguib and Mr.DK because i believe that the stereotypes between Arabs and Americans are not a result of American ignorance to understand Arabs only. I agree that some Arabs portray themselves as animals as DK said "Protesting peacefully is one thing, but the violence is damaging". Arabs burning consulates and embassies and cars is just not the right way resolve problems.

Posted by: Ibrahim Samir | March 20, 2006 10:53 AM

Couldn't agree more with Mr. Ibrahim, Mr. Naguib, and Mr. DK. I can't add anything, because all there was to say was stated.

Posted by: Francesco Puliti | March 20, 2006 12:59 PM

I don't mean to be interrogative, I'm just trying to develop some understanding of these questions from an Islamic point of view.

I am from the Washington DC area, and I spent about 5 months in the middle east - Doha Qatar back in 1994. I also took a few side trips - one to Manama Bahrain and one to Salalah Oman.

Posted by: DK | March 21, 2006 10:19 PM

At work me and some of my colleges had a discussion about the cartoons. One of my colleges said (she being a muslim) the cartoons where the same to a muslim, as somebody would to come inside you own home, take a knife and take you own blood. But, still this doesn't justify the violence that has taken place. This is interesting because muslim newspapers are notorious to have posted political cartoons on Mosses, Jesus and some of the major religious figures. I'll be interested to hear your comments on this point of view.

Posted by: "God" | March 22, 2006 11:50 AM

*Moses*

Posted by: God | March 22, 2006 11:55 AM

That's just the kind of comment I can't understand and I believe is representative of the gulf in understanding between at least some Muslims and most Americans or other westerners.

People can use their freedom of speech to insult and ridicule, and that can make other people extremely angry, but I can't understand how anyone could seriously treat a verbal or written/drawn insult the same way as a physical attack.

I say again, An insult may make me angry and cause me to protest in a variety of ways, but if it doesn't cause me or my family any physical harm, I restrain my response to a verbal or written/drawn response.

I have to wonder,is this a common sentiment among Muslims? Do many feel as though the cartoons were equivalent to a physical attack upon themselves? If that is true, what do those people that feel that way think about the portrayals of Moses and Jesus in Muslim newspapers.

Finally, if some Muslims are driven to violence because they see the cartoons as an insult to God, why don't they just let God be the judge and mete out his justice in his own way and in his own time?

Posted by: DK | March 22, 2006 10:01 PM

I agree with DK in all but one point: the verbal/psichological abuse of people is just as bad as the physical one. Here's an example of why I think so. Before WW2, Hitler, to make the Germans forget the situation of poverty around them, created a scape goat to blame for everything that could be blamed on it: not having won WW1, the unfairness of the Versaille's Treaty, and the loss of the national pride. That scape goat was the Jewish population of Germany (and anyone not part of the "Aryan race"). From the mental abuse of the Jews (of which blaming them for everything is part) came the physical one: at the end of the greatest conflict of all Time, 6,000,000 Jews were killed.

Posted by: Francesco Puliti | March 23, 2006 12:01 PM

Thats an interesting perspective, one I hadn't considered. Still I can't agree that verbal/psychological abuse is as bad as physical. I would say that verbal and psychological abuse can lead to physical abuse. The Nazi scapegoating of the Jews, eventually leading to the holocaust, certainly followed that pattern.

The world should be careful not to use all Muslims as the scapegoat for the actions of a few radical fundamentalists that engage in and support terrorist acts.

Increasingly I observe a greater number of commentators in print media, radio, and TV implying that the doctrine of terrorism based jihad is a part of mainstream Islamic teaching and that it is supported or accepted by large number of Muslims.

Has anyone else observed such a trend, and how close to reality is that perception?

Posted by: DK | March 23, 2006 10:50 PM

I agree...

As to the second point, I also see how the media is trying to convince us that ALL Muslims are pro-terrorism, but I have to say that it DOESN'T match reality. I live in an Islamic country and I go to an international school. I know many Muslims and many are my friends, and I can tell you that no one is pro-terrorism, pro-killing, or extremely anti-US. I don't think anyone in the world of any relogion or ethnicity is pro-terrorism exept the members of Al-Qaeda themselves.

Posted by: Francesco Puliti | March 24, 2006 06:57 AM

*religion*

Posted by: Francesco Puliti | March 24, 2006 06:59 AM

I have to agree with you. My experiences with Muslims does not agree with that characterization either. As I said I spent 5 months in the middle east back in '94 and encountered people of all types. It was just like any other society composed of people with a variety of views from liberal to conservative. I was at one point welcomed onto a fishing dhow by an Omani who hardly spoke a word of english. He motioned my friend and I onto the boat to have some tea. We spent about a half hour with he and two of his fellows sipping tea in the tiny cabin of the boat and trying to communicate with stray words and phrases in each other's language.

Another time I was at a police station to take a drivers test for a license. I was waiting in a hallway and one of the police officers approached me and began yelling at me about religion. In broken english he kept repeating there is only one God! Christians think there are 3, but there is only 1! He must have been referring to the Christian concept of a trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but that didn't occur to me at that moment. I just kept shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head until he finished and went away. I was on various occasions asked by groups of men to sit and join them while they had tea along the sidewalks in the evening, and once in the souk a couple gentlemen stopped to talk with me about the U.S. - It turned out one of them had gone to school there.

Another time there was a mix up about a taxi, where I asked for one to wait for me while I checked to see if there was another ride to the airport provided by the hotel where I was. There wasn't one soon enough so I came back out to get into the cab and there was an arab couple trying to get in.When the driver saw me he asked them not to get in and motioned me in. The couple were terribly insulted and started yelling at me and the driver about me being english and getting better treatment. I felt terrible and tried to offer them the cab but they turned their backs and walked away.

My whole experience over there was full of such incidents - friendly encounters and misunderstandings. My larger point is that no society can be reduced to a few caractiture images or summed up in a few sound bites on a news broadcast. A severe injustice is done to a whole society that is stereotyped in the eyes of another society.

In the democracies of the western world public opinion drives policy making and I would argue that even in non-democratic nations, public opinion is a serious consideration for the national leaders. A public fed stereotypes conditions them to react in simplistic ways and to support simplistic policies that are not in sync with reality.

It is true that there are serious differences in outlook and opinion between the west and the middle east, but that does not equate to middle eastern countries and people all in support of terrorism and the downfall of western civilization.

Posted by: DK | March 25, 2006 06:05 AM

great we have supporters of freedom of expression But what exactly is freedom of expression WAKE UP! i live in the UK - it looks as thought the US probably value it a bit more than us in the uk but aleaset the US are consistent. it looks as the UK favour some groups over others! whewre do we draw the line? i thinl thtas we MUST draw the line because what do people get out of hurting peoples feelings- yes there are those who aere over sensitive and those who are reaklly tough so how do youy measuer it. But shpould it not depend on what is moral or look at the persons interntions. However yiou can n ever really know what ones intentions were. tats why i think there should be laws like the rleiogiouds hatred bill etc because they stop such acts as we can never reallly egt down to intentions of the person idf there are laws ther to prevent such expression such offesive speech wont be alloweed.

Posted by: HANNAH | May 3, 2006 11:55 AM

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