Don't Die Ignorant
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Everybody knows revisionism is an abomination. But it not only exists – it persists. Moral censure and penal convictions, vigilance committees, even the laws of the state – nothing works. For the past 20 years, revisionism has not stopped growing. A recent poll shows that 30 percent of the people in France are ready to accept its basic tenets. They keep their mouth shut only out of caution.
Pleading in front of Judge Pluyette, a distinguished elderly lawyer of the French "League for Human Rights" requested the ban of the first issue of the journal Annales d'histoire revisionniste. He exclaimed: "As long as it [revisionism] was published in small limited-circulation periodicals, we kept quiet. But I found this journal yesterday at the Marseilles airport newsstand. Now we demand its ban." These virtuous words were uttered in the Fall of 1987 – ten years ago. Since then, the situation is ever more embarrassing. Revisionist publications have multiplied, sometimes reaching astonishing levels of sales, as in the case of Roger Garaudy's book, which has been selling everywhere by the tens of thousands.
The worst is still to come. For more than a year now, there has been a French-language revisionist web site on the Internet. The team that has been putting this site together, and whose members are concretely defending freedom of expression, remain anonymous because of the attacks on this freedom. They have chosen to publicize the main elements of the revisionist controversy, and to treat this issue as rationally as possible. When they began work on this new site, a number of texts existed that may almost be regarded as "classics," but which were out of print and difficult to find. One after another, these texts are now being made available on this web site. For example, one can find the beginnings of an archive of materials from "La Vieille Taupe," the group that played a leading role in the opening of revisionist polemics in France. Also accessible here are numerous writings of Professor Faurisson, originally published since late 1978, for those who did not experience the early years of the revisionist controversy.
There is renewed discussion of Paul Rassinier, the French educator who, back in the 50s and early 60s, was the driving force of revisionism, not only in France but globally as well. On this new web site is an archive devoted to his writings, including translations in English and (soon) other languages as well. Already more than 40 forgotten articles he wrote in 1951-53 have been added to the site. The books by Serge Thion that describe and analyze the beginnings of the Faurisson affair are on display (in French as well as in German, and partially in English). Robert Faurisson's lawyer, Eric Delcroix, is present with a vigorous pamphlet that brought him a court conviction. Henri Roques' famous 1985 "thesis of Nantes" about SS officer Kurt Gerstein and his "confessions" is also available (and soon in English and German as well). Others will follow.
Our web site carefully scrutinizes the numerous efforts to suppress intellectual freedom in France. You'll find information on trials, including the recent Garaudy trial, on debates in court, as well as on the judicial system itselfand its role in suppressing free discussion of historical issues. Injust a year, several hundred texts have thus been made available on the Internet, reaching a serious readership.
As presented on our site, revisionism is free of politics. It strongly disapproves of and entirely avoids appeals to hatred or violence. The site upholds the principle of the unity of mankind. It supports complete calm and sobriety in conducting research that is entirely material and rational, that is, open to criticism and refutation, and with the right to make and to correct mistakes. Our site shows that the struggle against revisionism is linked to the ever less probable survival of the State of Israel, and it dares to probe into the foundations of this last dinosaur among the great, all-embracing oppressive systems that – like the many forms of fascism, the Leninist structures, colonialism and apartheid – all became extinct under the sheer weight of their contradictions, lack of realism and profound inhumanity.
French revisionists have not only spread out on the world wide web in their own language, they also provide opportunities for revisionists elsewhere to express their views in English, in German, in Spanish, and in Italian.
Everyone knows that in Germany the list of banned books is growing by the day. (In France too, by the way.) Now, after taking refuge on the Net, these banned books find new life and wider audiences. For example, Judge Wilhelm Stäglich's book, Der Auschwitz-Mythos, which had been banned and copies destroyed by German court order, is now available here, in the original German version, to anyone. Out of print books, such as Lenni Brenner's fundamental work (in English) on the relationship between the Zionist movement and fascist regimes in the 30s and 40s, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, find a new lease of life on the Aaargh web site.
Revisionists, who are happy to feed demanding and curious minds with thoughtful literature, and who are not afraid of complex challenges, have created a system on our site by which one can easily glance at the footnotes while reading a text on screen. Even more interesting, we've built into the site a system of internal links between the texts and a biographical and bibliographical database, which provides background information and links to other documents. It gives an encyclopedic dimension to the accessible information. Without specifically intending it, we thus enhance the Internet's utility as a teaching tool. By comparing our site with others, one can readily see the advantage of presenting material in a way that is both organized and easily accessible, while also completely respecting the reader's freedom. (This has been applied to the French-language section, and will soon also be introduced to the English-language section.) The anti-revisionist sites, of which there are many, could learn something here.
In spite of repeated efforts and the burning hopes of many people in power, so far it has not been possible to impose a censorship on the Internet. Perhaps the forces of darkness will one day find a way, but not just yet. A year after its birth, this web site has an average of 400 visitors each day, which make 145,000 a year. And this is only the beginning, of course. Access to the Internet is growing fast. Later this year, those in France who have digital television will also have unrestricted access to the Internet. Whereas writings of Robert Faurisson have generally been accessible only to a limited readership, a few copies at a time, soon it will be possible instantly to access and read his writings, even without a computer, even in the most remote corners of the country.
As it must, the mainstream media will certainly try to ignore the Internet phenomenon. But at a price. Actually, it is about time to face it, to play straight, to open all the files – because revisionists have files of their own, very well organized files. And they feel so confident that they have begun publicizing (in the French-language section) files generated by their adversaries. This intellectual clash may well prove painful for quite a few historians and writers. There is no harsher treatment of the official version of history, we think, than to publish it side by side along with a sound revisionist critique. As a result, more and more establishment historians are ridiculed (although so far none has protested being published by us). Everyone can see for himself just which emperors have no clothes.
Revisionists do not peddle ready-made truths. They understand that when speaking about atrocities and terrible human suffering, precautions must be taken. They respect all the unfortunate victims of the Second World War, as well as the many victims of atrocities since then. But they refuse to grant to the survivors, much less to those who did not live through those tragic events, the right to alter reality. They insist on the facts, and nothing but the facts.
That's why the revisionists gain such broadbased sympathy, and from people of every political outlook – sympathy that, however, cannot generally be publicly expressed because of the fear surrounding these subjects. It's not surprising, considering the way that some obnoxious but influential organizations are able to pack hunt dissident views with complete impunity. People fear for themselves, for their career, for their children's bread, and they shut up. But those who thus "succeed" in attaining their goal, this apparent conformity, this deafening silence of the sheep, in fact have real cause for concern. So far revisionists have been the only ones to propose an honorable way out – rational discussion. They too fear the violence that these repressed views may trigger when the pressure is too high.
Visit our web site. You'll find it at [...now at http://aaargh.codoh.com; ed.]. No one asks you to agree with anything. But many people condemn revisionists without having ever read a line written by them. If you want to condemn, you should at least know why. Do it now, so that 10 or 20 years from now, you won't regret failing to have attempted a dialogue with reasonable people. Do not die ignorant. And feel free to give us your comments, observations or criticisms, even if unpolished. Write to: [... now at [email protected]; ed.] (We can also be reached by mail at: P.O. Box 81475, Chicago, IL 60681, USA.) But please, no insults – we won't respond. (But these are rare, it must be said.) Enjoy the exchange. And don't forget that there are also dozens of antirevisionist sites the Web. Go and visit them. They are worthwhile indeed.
– The International Secretariat of AAARGH
"A teacher affects eternity. No one knows where his influence ends."
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Don't Die Ignorant, France's Remarkable 'Aaargh' Web Site|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 17, no. 3 (May/June 1998), pp. 20f.|
|First posted on CODOH:||Jan. 16, 2013, 6 p.m.|