Is Free Speech For All?


So I’ve just seen a comment on an old post I did on the holocaust. It was posted by someone called Baxter Buber and he simply said:

Hi

Why do you post a photograph of typhus victims as evidence for the so-called Jewish holocaust?

So I asked him to explain himself. No reply. So I checked out his website. A supporter for holocaust deniers.

Normally, I wouldn’t give these type of people the satisfaction of mentioning them in my blog, however his website does bring up an interesting debate. In many countries around the world, holocaust denial is a crime. The countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel,LiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, RomaniaSlovakia, and Switzerland (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Now I whole-heartedly believe that the holocaust existed and these atrocious things occurred (how anyone can deny it is truly beyond me), but do people have a right to believe otherwise? Surely we fought the Nazi’s so we could have the right to deny their actions if we wished without fear or persecution.

Of course, these types of subjects have resonating effects to the present. In today’s world, there is still huge amounts of anti-Semitism and racism in all forms and holocaust denial could be seen as fanning these flames. But I still can’t shake the feeling that these people have a right to believe this, just in the same way I have the right to believe in Allah if I wish even though I live in a country where Muslim extremists have blown up my countrymen and attacked my people (just an example, please don’t start calling me a Muslim hater, cause I’m not!).

I want to post the link to this guys website, but I think openly posting it would be giving too much advertisement to a cause I REALLY disagree with. If you want it, e-mail me and I’ll pass it on.

Please, let’s get this discussion going. It’s an important discuss about free-speech, so let’s express our right too it!

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Pictures of Horror


I’m reading an amazing book called Voices of Yesterday by Michael Yarwood. It is set in the Warsaw Ghetto during ’42-43 and the oppression and systematic extermination of the Jews by the Nazi’s. And the vivid words of the writer got me to thinking and imagining what these people went through, the suffering and brutality forced upon them by the Nazi’s (and not just Jews, but Romani, homosexuals, ethnic minorities and many more). The figures stand at around 6 MILLION Jews wiped out by the Nazi regime (2/3 of the European population of Jews). If you include the other  groups killed by the Nazi’s this figures rises to between 11-17 MILLION PEOPLE! All non-soldiers.

So I’ve done some surfing and found some pictures I’d like to share with you. Next time you hear someone verbally abuse someone or say racist or homophobic comments, show them these photos and ask them to look into the people’s eyes and put themselves in their shoes:

April 12, 1945: Lager Nordhausen, where 20,000 inmates are believed to have died.

A member of Einsatzgruppe D is about to shoot a man sitting by a mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1942. Present in the background are members of the German Army, the German Labor Service, and the Hitler Youth.[94] The back of the photograph is inscribed “The last Jew in Vinnitsa”.

Jews captured and forcibly pulled out from dugouts by the Germans during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The photo is from Jurgen Stroop’s report to Heinrich Himmler

A child dying on the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto

Starving prisoners in Mauthausen camp liberated on May 5, 1945

Romani children in Auschwitz, victims of medical experiments

A grave inside Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

I’m sure some people who see this will still stick by their disturbing views of racial and religious superiority, but these people have no soul. No human being can look at these images, think clearly about what is being done and still condone secular violence or hatred of any kind. Please, I beg you all, educate each other and the youth of today.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
 
-George Santayana

Proud of the Dunkirk Spirit


70 years ago, a flotilla of nearly a thousand ships crossed the English channel destined for the beaches of Dunkirk to rescue more than 300,000 Allied troops from the advancing Nazi forces. Among these vessels were not only navy ships, but civilian ships also: fishing boats, lifeboats, pleasure boats and paddle boats. These sailors were not navy men, they were normal men answering the call, not only of their country, but of humanity. Soldiers fighting for freedom from oppression were pinned down and navy ships couldn’t get close enough for the rescue due to the shallow water. These “little boats” could and went in to rescue the Allied troops.

Date Troops evacuated from Beaches Troops evacuated from Dunkirk Harbour Total
27 May 7,669 7,669
28 May 5,930 11,874 17,804
29 May 13,752 33,558 47,310
30 May 29,512 24,311 53,823
31 May 22,942 45,072 68,014
1 June 17,348 47,081 64,429
2 June 6,695 19,561 26,256
3 June 1,870 24,876 26,746
4 June 622 25,553 26,175
Totals 98,780 239,446 338,226

Thats a brief explanation of the events at Dunkirk (sure I’ll be corrected on details, but that’s the essence). I’m so very proud of all the men and women in the Allied Forces who fought and died during WWII, but the everyday civilian truly makes me proud.

I’ve been fortunate in my up bringing. My mum is a warden for a sheltered home (old peoples home) and I’ve had the pleasure of living there with them and hearing stories of life during the war. Some truly harrowing, but others truly inspiring. How people went without things in their everyday lives, Londoners enduring the Blitz, resistance fighters on the continent consistently defying the Nazi regime and doing all they can to undermine their war efforts.

I was lucky enough to know a man, Robert, who had his own boat during the Dunkirk evacuation. I saw a picture of this boat with him standing on it. It was a small fishing boat which he could have walked the length of in maybe 8 strides. He took this boat from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to help rescue as many soldiers as he could. He told me what he saw and experienced. I couldn’t do it justice by re-telling his story, but as a young boy of 13, I was awe-struck by the bravery of him and others and I’ll admit, shed a tear or two. He showed me the flags they used to communicate with one another (not sure of the correct term for them) and it felt strange holding this material which had taken part in a moment of history.

The term “Dunkirk Spirit” was coined for such men as Robert. For me, it typified the British grit and determination in the face of adversity. It showed true honour and respect, attributes that are sorely missing in today’s society. I wonder if our generation would be so ready to jump to action as these heroes were? Would an ASBO earning chav put his life on the line to help others with nothing in return?

An audio-slide, courtesy of BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8695580.stm

Hitler’s A Cool Leader


It appears the West Midlands ambulance service has caused a bit of uproar due to a survey they gave their staff asking them to rate various leaders. One of them was Adolf Hitler:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8672781.stm

I’ve often had a similar discussion with many different people. Not necessarily “is he cool?” but more along the lines of a successful leader for his country.

I’d like to point out at this stage that I am NOT a Nazi and never will be. I think they are disgusting and should never be allowed near human society.

Now, back to my point. I have often argued that Hitler was a successful leader and he revolutionised post WWI Germany from a country on it’s knees to one of the strongest in Europe. Obviously, this was on the back of some amazingly sick ideals and laws and at the expense of the likes of the Jews, but nevertheless, he did make Germany a strong country again.

It does leave us the quandry of whether he would have been so successful as a leader in other situations. For example, if Hitler weren’t a Nazi, but a Labour party leader, would he have been such an influential speaker, an innovative thinker in regards to national and international policies and as charasmatic a man?

Some would say not (myself included). It would have been his life experiences and his fierce racist and facist beliefs that made him willing to push through radical policies and his beliefs which made him the potent public speaker that he was. This does leave his natural charisma but this alone is not enough to produce a true leader.

So on that conclusion I’ll leave you with a question: are leaders of people (politicians, soldiers, team captains!) born or created through life experiences?

SS Solider Finally Convictedof Murder


I have always been of the opinion that if you do something wrong, you must be punished for it. only would you send this man to prison for life:

His name is Heinrich Boere and he was a member of the SS during the war. He has recently been found guilty of three murders in 1944. He was initially sentenced to death in 1949, albeit the trial occurred without him present. In the 1980’s, a German court ruled this to be an illegal trial as he wasn’t present. Lots of legal wrangling later, he’s finally been tried and found guilty.

He claims that he had no choice but to kill the 3 men (one a bicycle seller, one who helped Jews go into hiding and one a resistance fighter), or be shot himself by his Nazi superiors. The court did not buy this and he was found guilty.

When I first saw his picture, for a moment I felt sorry for him. An 88-year-old man being dragged through legal proceedings for something that happened over 65 years ago. He looks like someone’s kindly old granddad.

But then I remembered. I remembered every school history lesson. I remembered everything I learned about fascism and Nazism. I remembered every stupid, insane comments made by 1001 different racist b*****ds. I remembered every story I had ever heard about the treatment of people by the SS. I remembered learning about the Nazi war machine trampling Europe and it’s people, killing with little or no regard, invading, controlling, exterminating people like rats. How can I feel sorry for this man?

He claims he had no choice but to kill these men. Maybe so. I’m sure SS soldiers were not above the fanatical whims of their officers. But he DID have a choice about signing up for them in the first place. He DID have a choice about choosing to live his life according to Nazi belief’s.

He has been sentenced to Life In Prison for his crimes. It still remains unclear if he will serve his time, but I hope that he does. We have people on the run still for Nazi war crimes and also on the run for crimes during the Bosnian war. If we don’t punish these people, what message does that send to others? Time should be no factor where Justice is concerned.