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Q: What makes the "revisionists" tick? I've used the link from your pages to visit the IHR pages, and noticed that, instead of the ravings you'd expect, the whole thing is pitched so low key that it would persuade a certain number of people who know nothing about the Holocaust. What is their agenda?
A: Surely you understand that I can't begin to speak for them - all I can do is speculate. For many of them, in my view, the agenda is simply to indulge in Hitler-cleansing, in order to make fascism respectable. However, so long as the Holocaust remains as unquestioned historical reality, nothing these people either do or say will convince anyone that Adolf Hitler was really a rather nice chap, albeit misunderstood.
I think this is about power - nothing more, nothing less.
Q:What got you interested in going after the revisionists?
A: They offended my humanity. It's that simple.
Q:I hope I didn't upset you with the phrasing of my last question, but what I was trying to get at was your motivation in coming to this work, or at least a mini-history of how it happened.
A: I wasn't upset, it's just a natural reaction to a question I am asked dozens of times every month. The answer, of course, can only be sheer speculation.
Motivation? That's the #1 question asked by media folks... the answer is always the same: Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazi activists offend me. They offend my sense of humanity - what is right, and what is wrong. They make me angry, and prone to violent thoughts, and I dislike them for that - making me look at the violence within me.
These people deliberately offend. They deliberately hurt. They stand for decay - death and destruction. How could one not be offended?
Q: Thanks. I was glad to hear from you. In preparing for the June issue of the Ethical Spectacle (when I will also run this interview) I read extensively in both primary and secondary sources on Auschwitz and the Holocaust. When comparing the reaction of survivors on the meaning of the experience, I found a wide range of opinions, from the cynical and desperate (Tadeusz Borowski, who killed himself in 1951), to the angry and unreconciled (Elie Wiesel in Night), to the optimistic and platitudinous (Primo Levi, whose insights into the experience are much better than his overview and recommendations for the future). Other writers, who did not themselves experience it, portray the Holocaust as a black hole, which can never be plumbed or understood, as the end of theology, etc. When Primo Levi asked a German soldier in Auschwitz "Why", the soldier replied, "there is no why here." Or, as one doctor commented to me, "When I read too much about the Holocaust, I become clinically depressed."
Do you think human beings are far more capable of perpetrating evil than of remembering, understanding, or avoiding it? The thesis that we all bounce off the Holocaust might explain everything from Greg Raven to the phony hopefulness of Schindler's List.
Hope that was a better question, one you don't get many times a month! If not, well, there's little originality under the sun. By the way, if there is anything else you want to say, or question you'd like to supply, please go ahead.
A: As to the first question, it seems clear enough... Man has a horrid capacity to do evil, almost as if he cannot avoid it - a genetic marker gone bad, perhaps. As events in x-Yugoslavia and elsewhere show, we don't seem to learn a thing from the past, either.
Instead, we prattle about genocide, and discuss it in the abstract while we watch it on the tube every night. ...and become hardened to it, as it is repeated in 2-minute segments, week after week.
The bottom line seems to be that, in spite of our words, we really don't give a damn.
It's difficult for me to know what to say.. I've become somewhat jaded about the press, after all the interviews I've put behind me.. all of the magazine and newspaper articles seem the same to me after awhile.
Perhaps one thing that I should note, because authors often sensationalize the hatemongering on the Net, is that, for all their vitriol, these people are only a tiny handful of the 30-40 million users on the Internet. I am weary of seeing their activities blown out of proportion, as I am weary of seeing the issue of "child porn" blown out of proportion (I've been on and around the Net since 1988, and have yet to come across anything I'd consider "child porn." I've seen photos of naked children, but then I've got some of those in my family photo album, and fail to see the harm, or any great moral danger to our society).
We are dealing with a few dozen cynical activists, trolling the net for money and cannon fodder. Even if all of the estimated 20,000 or so facists on the continent became active on the Net, they still would represent no more than a small ripple in the internet pond. In spite of that, the press continues to sensationalize their presence, using it as an excuse for black headlines, and the Canadian and American governments dutifully blather about "controlling the Internet," presumably for "our own good."
Speaking for myself, I wish to make it crystal clear that I don't want to be "protected" by government thought police. Everywhere we turn, governments are pushing and prodding our lives, and I'm far more concerned about them attacking the Net, and thus our freedom, than I am about watching the Nazis do it.
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