Posted Thursday, June 1, 2000

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Summary: A computerised public opinion poll in Australia has established (June 2000) that roughly four out of every five Australians consider that David Irving should be allowed to enter and tour Australia, and that "revisionist" historians should not be silenced.

Facts: 82.46 percent of Australians think that "some speakers" should not be prevented from entering Australia (the David Irving case being specifically instanced), and on another count answering the question, "Revisionist historians: should they be silenced," the No vote is 82.10 percent.

Picture added by this website: Mr Irving being taken, handcuffed, at Niagara Falls to airport, Nov 13, 1992

Revisionist historians: Should they be silenced?

This "issue" was first published on October 05, 1999. It is currently ranked No. 245. Its last ranking was 275.

This complex question is raised by Dennis Stevenson in an Internet article dated September 29th 1999. He uses the well known case of David Irving, who has been refused a visa to visit Australia as an example of what he calls the 'persecution of the holocaust questioners'.

Stevenson begins his article by making a case for Irving's scholarly credentials, something that many people have been unwilling to accept.

"His books are found in almost every library in the world. Irving has written more than thirty volumes on the Second World War published by a half dozen of the most prominent publishers in the Western World, including: The Viking Press, Harper & Row, Little, Brown, Simon & Schuster, and Avon Books.

The most respected historians in the world, including A.J.P. Taylor, Trevor Roper, Gordon Craig, and Stephen Ambrose have praised his works. He has researched in the German State Archives for more than thirty years, as well as in the U.S. National Archives, the British Public Records Office, the government archives of Australia, France, Italy and Canada, and even the former Soviet Secret State Archives. He was the first historian to challenge the validity of the widely heralded (and later debunked) Hitler Diaries. In the course of his wide ranging research, Irving has uncovered many documents that challenge parts of the Holocaust orthodoxy."

Stevenson Handcuffed at Niagara Fallsthen chronicles a number of Irving's findings and then lists the actions taken by various organisations and governments against him. Towards the end of the article Stevenson makes some points that do have a certain resonance.

"In Canada, at the request of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the authorities seized, shackled, and deported him from the country in handcuffs. The Toronto Globe & Mail asked why he had been handcuffed and then answered its own question, Did someone think he might use his typewriter?"

And later,

"There are those who say that we should not debate aspects of the Holocaust any more than we should debate those who say the world is flat. Yet, would any knowledgeable person be afraid to debate an advocate of the flat Earth theory? Would he urge the passage of laws to prevent the advocate of that theory from speaking, writing or publishing? Would he try to have his livelihood destroyed, have him fined thousands of dollars, and if that did not work, cast him into prison?"

And to finish,

"What "historical fact" is so weak that it must be protected by terror, by jail, and deportation? What do the opponents of David Irving and the other revisionists fear? Are the revisionist arguments so convincing that their opponents must use naked political oppression to silence them?"

By quoting selectively from Stevenson's article for space reasons we may have inadvertently detracted from its impact, but the argument he is making seems clear enough. Posters are reminded that this is an extremely sensitive issue, with many families and individuals still experiencing pain associated with the holocaust, and Publicdebate understands and respects that some people feel that this topic should not even be raised.


Related stories:

Australia index
Australian newspaper prints citizen's demand for ban on David Irving to be lifted
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