Time heals, or so the saying goes. And some might think that we should let bygones be bygones. “That all happened a long time ago,” or “Surely the Germans and the Austrians have all been harangued for long enough about their madness in the Second World War.”
But to think like that is to miss the point and whether or not you think it’s right or wrong that David Irving serve time for denying that the Holocaust ever existed, you must understand that we must never, ever, ever forget.
You see the reason we must tell our children this story, and make sure they tell their children is not about the SS or the Germans or the gas chambers and it’s not even got anything to do with the Jews. The reason we have to tell the story is to show what humans are capable of doing! It’s a tragic and heart-rending fact that we are separated from our primeval and more savage, distant ancestry by a cigarette-paper’s thick veneer of ‘humanity’ that breaks down all too often.
Our own brutal greed and fear of ‘other folk’ sleeps like a powerful serpent in its lair, ready to raise its head in a venemous frenzy. Witness the ethnic cleansing carried out by white settlers in North America, witness the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Witness Stalin’s brutal purges on his very own people. Witness the Killing Fields of Cambodia. See on film the aftermath of Saddam’s retribution in Halabjah where Kurdish fathers, mothers, children and babies lie bloated and poison-flensed in the streets of their own town and weep until your stomach aches with anguish.
These are the things we civilized humans are capable of, so unless we teach our children that we, yes we, not just Germans or Austrians or Communist Cambodians could do these things, they will not learn to hate these things and watch themselves more closely.
In a bizarre way, David Irving has helped to keep the subject fresh in our minds, although I for one certainly won’t be sending money to help support his appeal process!