Sorry is the easiest word

Interesting email from anti-fascist writer and campaigner Nick Lowles at Searchlight calling on British fascist Nick Griffin to say sorry for his lies about the Holocaust.

If you’re not aware of his views on the death camps, here is Griffin in his own words:

I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the Earth was flat … I have reached the conclusion that the ‘extermination’ tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria.

He’s your basic scum denier, even attacking David Irving ‘for admitting that some Jews may have been killed during the ‘holohoax’, accusing him of ‘back tracking on the old gas chamber lie’.’

Lowles writes that an apology is necessary.

This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is based on an important theme – to stand up against hatred. And I’m writing to ask you to join me in doing just that.

Over the past few years, Nick Griffin has made a series of disgusting and degrading statements about the Holocaust. To call him to account we’ve launched a petition to demand that he retracts these horrendous statements.

Only by confronting and defeating this hate can we build a country based on humanity and justice. We must fight his lies and he must be held to account. Please join our campaign to get Griffin to publicly retract these remarks and then invite your friends to do the same.

It sounds fair enough. But we know that the BNP is trying to mainstream itself, with some success. More people are voting BNP and are willing to vote BNP than at any time since its inception.

I’ve been told that Greek society frowns on apologies, because they make you appear servile. But the apology has taken on a massive symbolic value in UK discourse. Tony Blair apologises for slavery so we can forget about human trafficking. The Vatican say sorry for burning Galileo so we can ignore its stoking of the African HIV epidemic.

Say Lowles’s petition does really well, so well in fact that Griffin is forced to make a public apology and retraction of his remarks about the Holocaust. Do you think such an apology would be remotely sincere? Would he have to apologise in front of Holocaust survivors, at a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony? Can you imagine anything more stilted and awkward?

Griffin’s apology, if it were ever made, would be worthless – both to the survivors and the dead. It would be an obscene lie: an apology for an apology. But imagine that he makes it. And then imagine, ten years down the line, good and brave anti-fascist campaigners taking to the streets against a resurgent BNP, knocking on doors and arguing with people who think that fascism is the answer to your leaky roof or an unfair housing allocation system.

These campaigners will try and remind people who the BNP really are. But then Griffin and his goons can turn around and say: ‘Look. Okay we had some crazy views in the past. The whole ‘holohoax’ stuff, that was a bit nasty, but Nick apologised. Searchlight have it on record. We have put fascism behind us and are now a mainstream democratic party.’

Do you think they will, for one second, mean it?

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2 Responses to “Sorry is the easiest word”

  1. Annie Says:

    Hmm, interesting. I don’t understand people who don’t believe in the Holocaust. It seems like people wanting the spotlight on them by saying something they know is contraversially wrong.

    As for the BNP, I grew up near Burnley, where the BNP garners significant support. I don’t think it’s helpful for people to draw attention to them by even deeming to talk about them. They love publicity, especially the bad stuff. For me, the BNP pray on people’s insecurities, ignorance and fear. They create lies, and hypocrises, in areas where there is a lot of poverty and social problems. They will never be a mainstream party, if there are alternatives that answer people’s insecurities, ignorance and fear.

  2. maxdunbar Says:

    Interesting – I didn’t know you lived in ‘BNP capital’ Burnley. Very good points.

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