When They Came For The Writers
There Was No One Left To Object?
"Now is the time for the futile gesture!" Famous Irish rallying cry.
February 26, 2007
I am an author of over thirty novels and nonfiction books on science, which, as with history, looks to governments that proclaim their defense of justice and liberal democratic values to uphold the right to pursue truth through unimpeded, open debate and access to information, without fear of censorship, intimidation, or repression. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are natural extensions of freedom of conscience.
I am writing to express outrage at the ruthless 5-year prison sentence given to the political prisoner Ernst Zundel by a court in Mannheim on February 15, following his illegal detention and rendition from the USA after being held there and in Canada for three years in horrifying conditions of solitary confinement with no charge being brought against him. I call Mr. Zundel a "political prisoner" as he is in jail purely for the non-violent expression of his political and historical views, which meets Amnesty International's definition of a "prisoner of conscience." Such action is unworthy of a civilized state with Germany's history of intellectual endeavor and creativity. Intellectual creativity requires freedom.
The sentence appears to contradict Section 5.1 of the German Constitution, which states,"Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate their opinions orally, in writing or visually and to obtain information from generally accessible sources without hindrance. . . . Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting through audio-visual media shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship." Expressing his opinions was all that Mr. Zundel ever did.
Further, I find it appalling to read that your government is seeking to pressure the nations of the EU to adopt a common law that would jail people for questioning aspects of the commonly received account of the history of World War 2. Not to be able to explore or question history leads to stagnation, ignorance, and a population conditioned to accept uncritically whatever is dispensed as truth--a situation worthy of Orwell indeed. Such a censorship law comes close to creating a new state religion that survives only by suppressing and imprisoning as heretics those who disagree with its dictates.
Copy: Irish Times Dail Eireann, Constitutional Review Group
John Dalhuisen, EU Private Counsellor of the Commissioner,Strasbourg
"Intolerance does not arise when I think that I have found the truth. Rather, it comes about only when I think that, because I have found it, everyone else should agree with me." -- Michael Behe
"The reason men are silenced is not because they speak falsely, but because they speak the truth. This is because if men speak falsehoods, their own words can be used against them; while if they speak truly, there is nothing which can be used against them -- except force." -- John Bryant
"Truth can stand by itself. Only a lie needs the support of the state." -- Emil Maier Dorn
"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." -- Leo Tolstoy
The accounts that I've seen in the general media have been systematically biased and distorted. Those interested in learning more of the politically incorrect side of the Zundel story can find a summary at http://www.revisionists.com/revisionists/zundel.html, which has links to further background.