The Passion of Ernst Zundel...
by H. Millard
"GALILEO GALILEI, a notorious denier that the earth is the center of the solar system, was arrested recently and is being held in isolation lest his hateful ideas be heard by others. A spokesman for the Inquisition has said that the sale or possession of Galileo's book is banned and anyone found reading it or discussing its ideas will be arrested. 'Let everyone be cautioned by the experience of the hater Galileo,' said the spokesman. ' We will not tolerate such intolerance in our community.'"
"'Free speech is fine, but Galileo went too far,' said an Anti-Slander Organization spokesman. 'His venom and bigotry are beyond the pale. We all know that the earth is the center of the solar system and anyone who denies it is just spewing hate.'"
That's what could have been written back in the 1600s, and pretty much was. Today, we're much more enlightened and we certainly wouldn't have been part of such nonsense -- would we? Each of us knows in our heart of hearts that we would have stood up for Galileo even if we didn't know if what he was saying about the sun being the center of the solar system was correct or not. We know that whether he was right or wrong isn't really the point (even though he was right). He had a right to be wrong and he had a right to express his views. We know that we would have told the haters, who were trying to stop Galileo from speaking out, to crawl back under their rocks with the other loathsome creatures.
We might even have said that it is part of human nature to question and wonder about things and to tell others what we believe. We might have told the bigots that the truth is the truth and that there is no harm in people expressing their theories and investigating to get to the truth. That's what intelligent people do. They don't just accept things as fact unless they can be proven. No ideas are sacred and unapproachable. All ideas are on the table in a free society and people can discuss things freely and openly without the fear of being persecuted. That's what freedom means. Most of us know that today, and most of us understand the wrong that was done to Galileo. Hindsight, it is said, makes us all geniuses.
The real difficulty, when you're actually living through history, is being able to see the repression right in front of you. And, if we don't see it and if we don't speak out against it, aren't we showing thereby that we are no better than the people of Galileo's day?
In truth, very few of us would have defended Galileo. How do I know this? Because very few of us are defending the victims of similar persecution in our own day. We allow repression and bigotry to flourish by our silence. We are no brighter in this regard than those who allowed Galileo to be persecuted or those who allowed the witches to be killed in Salem. We have not really progressed as living beings. We are as cowardly and ignorant as those in the past.
To keep things simple, consider just one example from the news this week of what we are allowing to happen.
Ernst Zundel believes that the Holocaust is not as it has been presented. He has written and spoken out about this. For this, he has been hounded by some Jews, the way Galileo was hounded by some Catholics.
This past week, Zundel was deported from Canada to his native Germany where he was promptly arrested for the crime of "Holocaust denial." That's his crime: Holocaust denial. That's as ridiculous a charge as "the earth is the center of the solar system denial." He'll now go on trial in Germany and he'll be found guilty. You can count on it because that's the way the corrupt system, controlled by tyrants, works. They have phony charges and a show trial and then they find the person guilty. It's all a sham so the Stepford People can smile and say, "See, justice was served he had a trial."
Zundel did nothing but use his inalienable human right to speak out on his belief that the Holocaust couldn't have happened as we're all supposed to believe. He didn't deny that Jews died. Lots did. There was a war going on. He didn't deny that there were concentration camps. There were plenty. In fact, and as an aside, we even had some in the U.S., but instead of Jews, we put Japanese-Americans in ours. War is hell.
The problem is that the Holocaust, as generally put forth, has become like religious dogma. One is not supposed to investigate or question various dogmatic "truths." Zundel didn't buy it. He had questions. He sought answers. He told others what he had discovered. For this, he was smeared and persecuted.
So, what does a rational and free society do when its religious dogma -- its orthodox beliefs -- are challenged? Does it allow the challengers to speak out and does it allow other people to investigate all aspects of what they're saying? You bet. However, we don't live in a rational and free society. If someone says something that the rulers don't like and which questions dogma, the rulers try to silence them and keep others from hearing the message. Then, the rulers try to destroy those who are speaking out.
There's something of the alternate universe and eternal recurrence about this Zundel story that goes back even earlier than Galileo and conjures up Shakespeare's line: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." On our modern stage does it not seem as though we are seeing an alternate universe version of The Passion of the Christ, starring Ernst Zundel?
Blanch not, dear friends, for I am not saying that Zundel is a new Jesus. I am simply saying that we've got the same old play going on right in front of us. We've been here before, and if we don't start using our brains we're going to keep coming back to the same thing over and over again as we allow one group to smear and persecute other groups by attacking individuals who take the lead in questioning and speaking out. Unless we fix things, injustice will continue. And, have no doubt that the attack on Jesus/Zundel was more than just an attack on lone individuals. These were attacks on everyone who was listening to them and was an attempt to intimidate the listeners and to force them back into the docile herd. "Conform to our truths or suffer," is the message from the rulers.
Here is the synopsis of our Passion Play in the alternate universe: A man, Jesus/Zundel, has come along to challenge some dogmatic views pushed by the Jewish establishment -- the High Priests. These High Priests don't like what Jesus/Zundel is saying because he is causing the common people to doubt what the High Priests have been pushing.
Alarmingly, to the High Priests, a growing number of these common people are listening more to Jesus/Zundel than they are to the High Priests. As a result, the High Priests want to be rid of Jesus/Zundel. However, for a variety of reasons, they can't directly get rid of Jesus/Zundel -- so they enlist the aid of others, the Romans/Germans. Jesus/Zundel is then crucified. Curtain.
It is telling, is it not, that Mel Gibson was also attacked by many of the same types of people who attacked Jesus/Zundel?
It is a sad commentary on the human condition that so many people are unable to see through smears and hate to what is essential and that so few people understand that it is the right of every human being to be able to express and hear ideas that some others may not like.
The Zundel case is about human freedom. Period.
All three of hard-to-pigeonhole H. Millard's books are now listed on Amazon.com. They're also available at quality brick and mortar stores or can be ordered by them for you.
1. OURSELVES ALONE & HOMELESS JACK'S RELIGION (subtitled: messages of ennui and meaning in post-american america)
2. ROAMING THE WASTELANDS (H. Millard's sacred cow toppling book)
3. THE OUTSIDER (H. Millard's underground classic story of alienation)
©2005 H. Millard