Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A correspondent from Sarajevo reflects on genocide denial laws

Received the following email from Sarajevo:

From: Dusan Babic
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 1:39 PM
To: Deborah Lipstadt
Subject: Free Speech

Dear Deborah,

After reading Brendan's article in Spiked online, I've visited your blog and read the Sugg's attack on you and your answer. He described you as "an architect of silencing debate", and you're just doing the opposite think, clearly claiming that "this kind of legislation (criminalizing genocide) could put a kabash on that (i.e., debate)".

Yesterday I was reading another Brendan's article about controversies over hate speech. In my respond, I did remind him of his article also published in the Spiked online (Dec., 20, 2005), then he was using two cases: of Orhan Pamuk and of David Irving to claim, what was put in the title itself: "Free Speech in Europe: It's All or Nothing". In brief, I've replied that Brendan is absolutizing the freedom of expression.

Simply, there is no such thing, at least for most of Europeans, after horrors of the WW 2 and the Holocaust, and the bloody Balkans wars.

In my modest view, "Mein Kampf" is the litmus test of democracy and responsibility. By far, it's the most detrimental book ever written.

Your countryman, Norman Cousins, had calculated:"for every word 125 lives were to be lost; for every page, 4,700 lives; for every chapter, more than 1,2 million lives."

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), has been inspired by horrifying events, just as the result of the "Mein Kampf", i.e., its hate inspired language. No need to mention the shameful role the media played in inciting the violence which ended in a civil war in my country. Words are power and men are sinful. Hate inspiring language cannot be an unregulated frontier.

Regarding, possible criminalization of all genocides, only the Holocaust deniers should be prosecuted, since it was a real genocide.

Sincerely,

Dusan Babic, media expert, researcher and analyst,
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
________________________________________

1 comment:

endor said...

"In my modest view, "Mein Kampf" is the litmus test of democracy and responsibility. No need to mention the shameful role the media played in inciting the violence which ended in a civil war in my country.ords are power and men are sinful. Hate inspiring language cannot be an unregulated frontier. Regarding, possible criminalization of all genocides, only the Holocaust deniers should be prosecuted, since it was a real genocide."

I respectfully disagree.

Europe was not plunged into the darkness of World War II because a failed Austrian Artist wrote a rambling disjointed book that makes no sense in either German or in English.

Persecuting the Holocaust deniers does NOT honor our promise of "ever again." It converts the mentally ill lunatic-fringe into martyrs. The best way to counteract wrong speech is through more speech.

The existence of nizkor.org and countless other sites do far more to remind us of the barbarity of National Socialism than tossing Irving or Z√ľndel into prison.

The truth does not need to incarcerate lies in order to emerge victorious. Besides, we should *never* grant the state the power to incarcerate those who disagree with the official version of events.

BTW, Dr. Lipstadt, I *love* your books. I use them frequently when I debate the crazies on the various internet fora.

Regards,

Endor