The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The Dominion [New Zealand],
Monday, 5 February 1996

THE NIZKOR PROJECT ANTIDOTE TO DEPRESSING REVISIONISM

I had hoped to spend this week offering a few quirky
internet jewels that I have recently come across.

But the debate on Internet censorship rages on unabashed.

It took a new turn a few days ago with the call from the
European Union's Consultative Commission on Racism and
Xenophobia for a crackdown on racist messages on the
Internet.

In a statement issued from Paris, it is also reported as
hoping that the "European Union will take all needed
measures to prevent the Internet from becoming a vehicle
for the incitement of racist hatred".

Finally, it called on member states to follow the example
set by Germany which restricted access to material it
judged pornographic on the Internet.

Though having little direct power on these matters,
statements like this from the European Union and its
consultative commissions have a great deal of authority,
and once again, you have to ask where is this debate
going to end, especially when pornography and copyright
concerns are rapidly being replaced with the far more
traumatic issue of racism, and anti-semitism.

The core of this debate, especially in Germany, revolves
round the deeply contentious issue of "revisionism" - or
attempting to deny the established truths about the
Holocaust.

It is, of course, illegal in Germany to actually deny
that the Holocaust took place, and the edges of what is
allowed to be debated is so contentious that many groups
have relocated to avoid imprisonment and fines.   Hence,
the astonishing efficacy of the Internet.

One of the most active members of the revisionist camp is
one Ernst Zundel.

Now based in Canada, where he mistakenly thought he would
have a freer reign (he was jailed for eight months over
one publishing incident), he spends most of his time
building and promoting his Web presence.   Presumbly,
this site would be a prime target in any censorshp
campaign.

Some would strongly argue for the inclusion of two other
candidates:  the Institute for Historical Review, and the
related venture, the Committee for Open Debate on the
Holocaust.

None of these sites are especially hard to find, and many
of their supporters are active paticipants in the
newsgroup alt.revisionism.   I spent a good while in all
four last week.

It was a deeply depressing experience, made a little more
bearable by occasionally checking into two other
newsgroups - news.alt.internet.media coverage, and
news.admin.censorship.net-abuse.misc.

But then my faith in the Net was restored.   I found the
antidote.   It's the Web site of the Nizkor project, at

http://www.almanac.bc.ca/

Nizkor is a Hebrew word meaning "we will remember", and
it's my urgent sugestion that before we have one more
line of debate on censorship on the Internet, we should
all take a moment to visit this site.

It's a very well researched and focused affair, where,
though they give links to many of their cyber colleagues,
they also give links to the Zundelsite, and the Institute
for Historical Review.

This is not some kind of liberal knee-jerk reaction.
Quite the opposite.   It's a planned line-by-line
rebuttal of the charges and alleged research findings of
Zundel et al, and the related links build on this
rigorous research focus.

But a good deal of their own research material is still
stored in an accessible FTP (file transfer protocol)
archive.   This, of course, means that though you can
download it, some of it isn't available in the easily
read hyper-text format of the World Wide Web.

But they assure us that they are as busy as badgers
remedying that, and indeed ask the worldwide Internet
community with some basic HTML skills if they would be
interested in offering a little of their time to help.

How would that work - a moment's thought makes it clear
enough:  they send you the file, you convert it, send it
back as attached e-mail, and hey presto, you have made
your contribution.

Those lacking HTML skills might well want to leave a
message of support.

In any event I'm hoping as many readers as possible visit
Nizkor to see how the Internet produces its own antidotes
to what man y construe as a virulent germ.

Comments and critiques to

     pauir@mcgovern.co.nz


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