Because of the great length of the pleadings, this account will be brief. The trial was held on the 8th, 9th, 15th, and 16th of January, at the Palace of Justice in central Paris, more precisely in its 17th correctional chamber (specialising in press cases in general and in the repression of revisionism in particular) before a three-judge panel presided over by Mr Jean Yves Monfort, a man who is courteous, cultured, and, thanks to the excellent lessons unstintingly dispensed in his court by Professor Faurisson, perfectly informed about revisionist ideas. He is known to apply the law with a certain rigour for, as he himself has explained, it is in Parliament that laws must be changed, and judges are bound by the laws of the Republic. An acquittal of Garaudy and Pierre Guillaume would mean an earthquake, one which is at present inconceivable in the French context.
To begin, here is the daily Le Monde's report on the first day's hearing, made by a Portuguese labourer who was probably recruited just for the occasion. Thus does Le Monde do its part in the fight against immigrant youth unemployment.
DOES ROGER GARAUDY defend revisionist arguments or is he continuing an old and long struggle against all forms of fundamentalism? This question was on the minds of all on Thursday, January 8th, as the philosopher, aged eighty-four, appeared at the seventeenth correctional chamber in Paris, where he was charged with "complicity in the questioning of crimes aginst humanity", "racial defamation", and "incitement to racial discrimination, hatred, and violence", in the company of Pierre Guillaume, the editor of his book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics .
Roger Garaudy had to explain himself in regard to passages in the work in which he denounces the exploitation of what he calls the "theological myths" and the "myths of the 20th century" -- notably the Holocaust -- in favour of "Zionists" and "the state of Israel". After first appearing in the December 1995 issue of the revisionist journalLa Vieille Taupe, published by Pierre Guillaume, it was reedited some months later and put out at the author's own expense. Five proceedings have been brought against him, following the claims of several associations of persons who were deported during the Second World War, as well as of the LICRA (international league against racism and antisemitism) and the MRAP (movement against racism and for friendship among peoples).
A MEMBER OF THE WARTIME RESISTANCE
Although tired, Roger Garaudy seemed determined. "I get the impression of having been invited to a trial for a book that I did not write," he explained. "I am told that it seems to be an incitement to antisemitism, to racial hatred. My adversaries confuse Judaism, which is a religion that I respect, and Zionism, which is a policy that I fight." He then launched into a reading of certain passages of his book which, according to him, should prove that he was not antisemitic: "The monstrous design of Hitler," "such was the martyrdom of the Jews deported as slaves," "the murder of a single innocent person, whether Jewish or not, is already a crime against humanity..."
Judge Jean Yves Monfort listened attentively before questioning the defendant. "There are nonetheless some differences between the two editions of your book. In the second, the names of Faurisson and of Paul Rassinier [two revisionist historians] have disappeared. As if you had wished to erase any sign of dishonourable company, make the book more presentable. Am I wrong?" "Yes, you are," replied Roger Garaudy. "I did not wish to throw this book off centre. It has been translated in twenty-three different countries, I didn't want it to be laden with names unknown outside France. I believe that my whole life says the opposite of what I am being blamed for." [At the idea that Rassinier or Faurisson might not be known of abroad, the judge is taken aback, and replies: "But there is the Internet..." We have readers everywhere, even in the courthouses. They have to get informed somehow or other, the poor cooped-up sods...]
A member of the wartime resistance who was exiled to a camp in the Sahara, a former Marxist, former Christian, now a convert to Islam, the philosopher wanted to demonstrate that he had "remained faithful to the ideals of [his] youth" : "The unity of the three Semitic religions." "My purpose is not to discuss the number of those who died in the Holocaust, but to demonstrate that it is Zionist policy which is engendering a new wave of antisemitism. The monthly Revision [read by no more than 400 persons] has called me a doormat, stating that it's all of Judaism that must be condemned."
The accused's explanations still did not seem to convince the opposing barristers, for whom the book in question went beyond a mere criticism of the Zionist movement. In the audience there sat side by side activists of extreme left and extreme right, some youths in Palestinian scarves, but also some known revisionists such as Robert Faurisson and Henri Roques.
Acacio Pereira (Le Monde, Saturday 10 January 1998)
To which one ought to add a few comments: the swarm of associations wishing to join in the prosecution/scramble for the spoils was rather revealing. It is well known that most of them are completely fake. The wartime deportees' associations are in reality militant agencies run by political parties or personalities for whom they serve as Trojan horses to get into the public coffers. There is always a grant to be picked up in the name of the sacrosanct Remembrance which must be preserved, fenced round, smartened up, decked out with flowers, have its arse wiped, etc. etc. The old deportees who do not care to be manipulated are extremely wary of these associations, which are to be found barking at the heels of the revisionists every time there is the chance of a generous ladling out of gravy by a justice system that never asks any questions. At the Garaudy trial, we saw some new thirsty ones (thirsty for justice, no doubt) sign in under the name of Avocats sans frontières ("lawyers without national frontiers", never before seen in action, in China or elsewhere), along with the elephantine representative of a so-called sporting association bearing the fine name of Maccabee. This name makes an allusion not to the macchabee of the song but to the family of the Maccabees who led the Hebrews of Palestine to revolt in around 165 BC. This "sporting" group is known to offer a cover for the training of the young bully boys of the Betar, who are from time to time sent out to sow terror in the Paris streets, and most recently at a conference on Palestine at the Sorbonne. Despite the grotesque character of its claim, it was allowed to join the ranks of the plaintiffs. And Pereira fails to mention that close by the Palestinian scarves, a number of Jewish skullcaps (kippa in yiddish) were to be seen as well. It may be expected that each of these organisations (and there are five distinct claims being brought) can reasonably hope to win between Fr10,000 and 20,000 (£1,000 - £2,000) in damages, a welcome feeding of the kitty for these charitable concerns which must suffer from a singular lack of members.
Roger Garaudy's defence could not avoid a certain confusion. In his desire to please everybody, to claim for his own all the religions of the monotheistic bunch, as well as the whole body of the anti-German propaganda continually recycled since the war, he sought to hide behind quotations. The point for him was to keep from getting stuck on statements categorised as revisionist by the judge (who, for all his sweet and smooth style, was trying to make him do just that), while all the same claiming a sort of right to doubt, which should exempt him from having any personal point of view on all of the historical and technical questions. For those present who had been over the course in this very courtroom since 1981, Mr Garaudy's defence appeared weak-kneed, and unlikely to get him off. That would have taken either a contrition and a disavowal that he could not put forth, in spite of the flexibilty of his political carreer, or a frontal defence, demanding that these voracious plaintiffs show proof that actual harm had been done to the person of their dreamworld representations, whose reality has no mystery about it. The witnesses whom he called on the first day were a Palestinian gentleman, who was astonished at the strange privilege accorded to the sad lot of the Jews in contrast with the treatment reserved to the sad lot of so many other peoples, and a priest, Father Lelong, who left one with the impression of an old Christian rhetor just out of mothballs.
Among the issues joined at the very start of proceedings was the motion of a young junior assisting barrister Vergès, one Pétillault (spelling?), that the case should be sent up to the European Court of Justice. This spring chicken, fresh out of pupillage, was doubtless unaware that the revisionists had already, before his birth, explored these avenues which always end in an impasse. The public prosecutor, for his part, was waiting in ambush with a full stock of ammunition, and he promptly executed the hardy young man.
It should also be noted that Abbé Pierre who, when the affair became public in 1996, gave such remarkable lustre to Garaudy's defence before shrinking under pressure, had recently sent a letter in which he reiterated his confidence in Garaudy. The latter mentioned the article which Abbé Pierre wrote for Le Monde and which that daily ended up refusing to print. He even added that the text was still unpublished, which was not true. But it is interesting to observe that the press has not revealed the existence of the recent letter. The fear of seeing the abbot approach the bar is enough to make them mute on the subject.
Second day (9 January). An account in Le Monde:
ROGER GARAUDY is never at a loss for arguments. On the second day of his trial at the seventeenth correctional chamber, where he stands accused of "complicity in the questioning of crimes against humanity", the philosopher had to give explanations for certain passages in his book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, published in December 1995. Each sentence was meticulously dissected by judge Jean Yves Monfort. "What do you mean?", he repeated indefatigably after reading each incriminated passage. It must be known, simply, whether the Garaudian prose indeed constituted a denial of the Shoah.
There was, to begin with, the term "myth", which Roger Garaudy uses several times: "myth of the promise", "myth of six million Jews exterminated", "myth of justice at Nuremberg", "myth of the Holocaust". "You take pains to show that there exists no text permitting us to substantiate the orders to exterminate the Jews, that there is no written order from Hitler," explained judge Monfort. "But the idea that arises from a reading of this is that you are trying to refute the elements that the exterminationists oppose to the deniers. What would you say to that?" "I refer to the texts of Israeli historians which demonstrate that that order was never given. Raymond Aron and François Furet agree with this finding." This was to be a constant feature of Roger Garaudy's defence. At each new questioning, he readily brandished what he presented as references to texts published by historians who could hardly be suspected of pro-Nazi sympathies.
"One gets the feeling that you wish to ridicule those who think the contrary", resumed the judge. "It seems that your conviction is definitive. When you speak of 'overall solution' and of 'final solution', one gets the impression that you have made a choice. For you, it is a question of a territorial final solution." "The chief judge of the Nuremberg tribunal himself offered his excuses for having erred in the translation of the German word", Roger Garaudy assured the judge, who then said: "You speak of 'surrealistic hypotheses' when you bring up the extermination of the Jews." Whereupon Garaudy flooded the court with other references. "It's not I who am doing the interpreting", he affirmed.
The judge: "You take texts on the gas chambers in order to put them in a bad light, you break down the testimony of certain Auschwitz detainees. Is that a proper reading of it?" "The proper reading is what persons other than myself have said about those things. I regret that we have had to wait forty years for these mistakes to be corrected."
Further on in the book Garaudy brings up Claude Lanzmann's film Shoah, which he calls a "turnip". "You speak of 'Shoah business', you say that this film shows only testimonies, without any demonstrations. That is a way of saying that the gas chambers do not exist", the judge suggested. "Certainly not", protested Garaudy. "As long as a public, scientific debate on this subject is not organised, doubt will be permitted."
At the evocation of the passage on the extermination of the Jews, Garaudy explained his questioning of the term "genocide": "I prefer that it be called 'one of the greatest massacres.'" As the barristers opposite waxed indignant the philosopher turned towards them and exclaimed: "I saw death right before my eyes while I was interned in the Sahara, but I have never thought of going into trade with the bones of my grandfather." Hardly ruffled by [the reaction of the party opposite provoked by] what he had just said, he calmly resumed his demonstration: "I prefer to speak of an atrocious massacre, not of a genocide. For that, there would have had to be no survivors." The trial is to resume on Thursday the 15th.
Acacio Pereira (Le Monde, 11-12 January 1998)
But here is an account of the same proceedings by a female revisionist observer:
The defence having announced that it was presenting new letters of support addressed to the accused, one of the barristers opposite asked that a new witness, one not at all cited at the opening of proceedings, be heard on 15 January. But his fellow counsel supported this motion only half-heartedly; the judge ended up dismissing it, after the plaintiffs had wasted more than a half hour of everyone's time.
The sole prosecution witness was heard: Mr Tarnero, a researcher from Toulouse, where he specialises in Jewish affairs. He expounded on a quite interesting position which can be summed up as follows: it is indisputable that the state of Israel's policy is colonial and colonialist, it is indisputable that there exists a Jewish lobby which exerts effective pressure on Jews in general in order that they support Israeli policy whatever their personal convictions, but no-one should be allowed to speak out against the Jewish lobby because it is the lobby of those who have been victims since the beginning of time. Thus the Jews possess a "singularity" on two levels: the first ones to have suffered genocide, the first ones to have invented monotheism, which is the embodiment of the principle of the forbidden. Therefore those who discuss anything connected with the Judaic fact are in effect perverts aiming to commit the absolute crime, which explains that antizionism is nothing but a mask for a timeless antisemitsm, where the pathologies of the extreme left and right come together.
The judge's questions showed a dangerous rationality on his part: must the law make a pronouncement on the defendant's possible mental reservations? Did there not exist, in the state of Israel, a confusion of the religious and the political? If fundamentalism existed in all religions, and if it must be opposed, was there a superiority of Jewish fundamentalism? What lobbies had one the right to speak of? Defence counsel Vergès made the witness admit that the genocides carried out with a greater degree of success than that visited on the Jews were many, and had happened earlier (those of the Africans, American Indians, Armenians); and that the one inflicted on the Australian aborigenes was remarkably well planned, although at the time of the Nuremberg trials (1946) the latter were still quite naturally classified as wildlife.
Furthermore, Vergès's and Montfort's examination of the witness forced him to acknowledge the scandalous aspects of Israeli policy and of the international lobby which supported it. He did not refute these but pointed out that Israel was not the only country to have been founded on crimes against the indigenous population, nor the only one whose fundamental laws were of a theocratic type. In finishing his argument he used a pettifoggery worthy of note, for it is capable of justifying all by itself any act of repression in the name of prevention, and capable as well of stopping any development of thoughtful reflexion on the origins and political exploitations of war rumours: Garaudy and all other revisionists of any degree must be convicted, for if Robert Faurisson is right, then the Jews have been guilty of the greatest swindle of all time, and putting forth this hypothesis will necessarily lead to reprisals, that is, to an unleashing of racial hatred.
Then the defence called two witnesses, the Protestant minister Parmentier and the film maker Vauthier. These two men shared humanitarian convictions and a long background in the cause of defending the innocent (Parmentier having saved a Jewish adolescent from deportation, Vauthier a Communist active in the defence of Algerians during their war for independence). Neither believed in the non-existence of the gas chambers, but both admired Garaudy's overall _uvre : he remained for them a sort of "Master of Doubt", "he taught me to doubt and to go on to the very limit of my doubts, the only way to fight effectively on the basis of what one is sure of"; neither could stand for his being called a racist. Both insisted on the necessity of revising the figures of history's victims downwards, as these were always exaggerated in wartime, just as those of the "party of the resistance martyrs" had fallen from several millions to 75,000 or even 35,000, according to general de Gaulle. They did not hesitate to speak of "mythification" (Parmentier: "Jewish history has been written by Jewish politicians"), saying that they could notice every day the existence of a Jewish lobby in the media and the cinema, or to condemn the Gayssot Act; they demanded the reopening of scientific debate, and made allusion to the traditional use of censorship in France (concerning testimonies about events in the war for Algerian independence). Mr Vauthier did not see why a proof of the gas chambers' non-existence should attenuate the reality of cruelties carried out by individual torturers, with unlimited imagination, on any victim exposed to mistreatment by Hitlerism. Finally, in reply to a question from barrister Charrier-Bournazel, Mr Parmentier, a Protestant, said he would see nothing wrong in historians' organising a conference to call into question the reality of the St Bartholomew's night massacres.
After a pause, the judge questioned Garaudy on the incriminated passages of his book. The latter took advantage of the occasion to develop numerous references to some authors who had never been prosecuted, of whom some were even officially appreciated (Hannah Arendt, Poliakov, Reitlinger etc.), and who had preceded him in demonstrations of the necessity to revise downwards the number of Jewish victims of the war, of the accords between Zionists and Nazis, of the non-existence of any order coming from Hitler for the extermination of the Jews, of the irrational aspect that such an operation would have assumed in the middle of a war. The accused presented his work as an anthology of previous thoughts and analyses, and the judge underlined the logic of this line of argument which must unavoidably arrive at revisionist positions; he ended up showing his irritation at the defendant's retreating posture, questioning him thus: "But finally, when you say that the testimonies cited by the exterminationists would have one believe that 28 persons were stuffed into each square metre [of gas chamber], the inverted commas and the exclamation point are indeed your own, are they not?", Garaudy answered simply "Your honour, I, like you, think that even if the majority of Frenchmen believe it, it is still an imbecility to make such a statement." The convergence of the points of view of the two men was so obvious that the audience could not hold back its laughter.
The judge remarked that the holders of the gas chamber theory could be considered as deniers, for they had been led to deny the superior efficiency of other mass-murder techniques, perfectly known and acknowledged by the revisionists, and thus to minimise the barbarity of Hitlerism. He pointed out that doubting was the first step towards questioning, and that, contrary to this very criminal court and to the Court of Appeal, the Cour de cassation (superior appeal court) had already handed down a decision according to which the mere minimising of the number of Jewish victims was tantamount to questioning crimes against humanity.
In line with barrister Vergès's previous observations, the accused again insisted that he denied neither the genocide nor crimes against humanity, but that he refused to accept that there were second class victims, showing that his attackers invoked the Nuremberg judgement only as concerned one category of victim. But the plaintiffs' counsel became annoyed at this and insisted on citing the adjectives and adverbs in the book which bore out its revisionist stance. Bothered by their murmurings and interruptions, Garaudy exclaimed: "I have never thought of going into trade with the bones of my grandfather!" At their request, this remark was recorded in the minutes, and Garaudy asked that his following, additional remark be so as well: "And if someone feels that I'm alluding to him, it's no business of mine!" After pausing for a break at 7.50 PM, the judge announced that hearings would resume on January 15, as justice could not be done in the dark...
In the audience, apparently altogether won over to Garaudy's cause, talk of the final result was pessimistic, the judge having shown in previous revisionism trials the same benevolence, intelligence, and honesty, only to mete out later on, in utter contrast to this attitude, a ruthless sentence. R. Faurisson, seated in the first row, remarked that his honour had made progress in acquaintance with, and in judicious reuse of revisionist arguments. As for the defendant's unexpected sally at the end of the session, Pierre Guillaume shouted with joy: "That's what everyone in this country thinks, and jolly good [for Garaudy] to have said it! Whether he's found guilty or not, in any case we've won..."
This declamation of Garaudy's, apparently made out of exasperation, set everybody talking. The plaintiffs loved every bit of it. Yet the trade in bones is one of a long and honourable tradition; be it among the Catholics or the Buddhists, relics have always played an important role in devotion, and, in the age of faith, their acquisition, when not carried out by military expeditions, was made by the highest bidder. Even the Moslems worship tombs and the bones within them. But Garaudy touched on something sensitive when he attacked the present generation's cynical exploitation of past sufferings and losses. The revisionists are readily accused of insensitivity by the same people who coldly implement the remembrance of the dead for undignified political ends. It has been going on unabated for nearly 20 years now, this spectacle of vultures and pigeons.
The film maker René Vauthier was one of Garaudy's character witnesses. Some will remember him for the film he shot in the Algerian camps on the Tunisian border towards the end of the Algerian war, a piece with children and their drawings. It must have been called "I'm Seven Years Old". That little film was a great thing. Already, at that time, he was on "the wrong side", on the side of those who take the blows, not those who strike them. There are people like that.
On the margins of the trial, it was learnt that a certain mobilisation was starting up in some Arab countries, particularly in the middle east, where Garaudy had gone on a remarkable tour in the summer of 1996. A good part of the press corps present had been sent by Arab media:
DEMONSTRATIONS of solidarity with the French philosopher Roger Garaudy, currently being tried in the Paris criminal court for "complicity in the questioning of crimes against humanity", took place in large number this past week-end in the middle east. On Saturday, January 10th, the Egyptian journalists' union issued a press release stating that Mr Garaudy was "being prosecuted under an antidemocratic law (the Gayssot Act) forbidding free research into certain aspects of the history of the Second World War."
On the following day, an insert on the front page of the United Arab Emirates daily Al Khaleej called on readers to send donations and messages of support to Mr Garaudy, "prosecuted by organisations of the Zionist lobby in France." The paper invited its faithful to give the philosopher "contributions which will enable [him] to continue to oppose the Zionists' influence in France, and to spread his ideas which refute Zionist allegations and disclose the agressive policy of Israel." Prosecuted for certain passages of his book, The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, published in December 1995, the philosopher risks up to a year's imprisonment and a fine of Fr300,000 (£30,000).
In Qatar, a "Roger Garaudy support committee" has announced its intention to mount a press campaign and to collect donations. This group plans to organise a meeting at which several personalities and religious dignitaries are to speak, and Garaudy himself is expected to address the function live by satellite link-up. The Palestinian Writers' Association also published, on January 11th in East Jerusalem, a press release supporting him: "We, writers and poets, hereby express our solidarity with the thinker and man of letters Roger Garaudy in his brave struggle for the freedom of creation." A convert to Islam, Roger Garaudy has always been a defender of the Palestinian cause.
Following his book's publication, the philosopher had already enjoyed the support of Arab intellectuals and made a tour of several countries to present his work (Le Monde, 21 August 1996). He had been received in Beyrouth by the Arab Nationalist Forum, in Syria by the Ministry of Information, and in Jordan by the Writers' Association. But at the time some Lebanese intellectuals published some texts which were critical of the author. Elias Khoury, editor in chief of the weekly supplement of the daily El Nahar put, for example, the following question to him: "Does not the idea of exterminating the Jews carry within it the seed of the extermination of any other race or people?" In Morocco Garaudy found himself barred from entering a university. "That didn't stop me from signing more than three thousand autographs in my book", specified Garaudy to the court on Friday the ninth.
Acacio Pereira (Le Monde, 13 January 1998)
Thursday January 15th, 1998
Resumption of pleadings. Continuous examination of Garaudy. A big crowd in the hall; half could not get into the courtroom. The awful Didier Daenincks was spotted roaming about, looking for somebody to inform on. A few strong-arm men of the Maccabee sort were there, and there were a few incidents. For once, the police moved and things quickly calmed down.
In fact, the Betar hooligans were there, fifteen or so of the scum, overfed on kosher couscous, the idiot offspring of Paris ghetto (sweat)shopkeepers who arrived in the country in 1962 as refugees from Algeria, as they lacked the guts to go and settle in Israel, and have since sworn to make us regret it. These lowlife are organised by a few ex-"Austrians" or "Poles" specialising in ultra-zionist youth movements. Behind is the Mossad, silently running the show, assigning tasks when it needs infiltrators, moles etc. (These local auxiliaries are called sayanim. See Ostrowsky's books on this subject.) When there have been incidents inside the courthouse between the Jewish delinquents and young French nationalists, the police have generally taken everybody downstairs and into the courtyard, where the Betarim have taken out their knives. Security in the courthouse? A joke. The cops this time nevertheless intervened and arrested five Betarim and five "Fascists", so that things should be even.
Here are some notes taken down by a female observer standing on the Moslem side of the crowd: "The discussions are already becoming nasty, there is some pushing and shoving. An enormous crowd has been amassing since noon for a session not due to begin until 1.30. It's the biggest crowd of the season for the trial of the year. The LICRA and the MRAP [two powerful Judeo-masonic and Judeo-communist -- respectively -- antiracist outfits] have brought out their troops. The latter hands out logo stickers to all its activists who push everyone out of their way, with the complicity of the court officers, in order to get the first seats inside.
[In fact Mouloud Aounit, boss of the MRAP, is seen wandering about, his head of an end-of-ramadan sacrificial sheep bleating into a mobile telephone...] Aounit tells the bystanders that a type of racism is spreading in France today whose message is "The Arabs are invading, the Jews are looting." "To let a racist offence go unpunished today", declares this representative of organisations specialising in impunity, "is to allow desecrations of cemeteries tomorrow." [These characters have all got the same morbid fantasies...] He has talked of Holocaust denial that harms the Palestinians. "To deny the figures is to deny the people and erase the remembrances. Doubt is worse than 'the detail'"[a reference to Le Pen's now famous use of that word in relation to the Nazi "gas chambers"].
This poor Arab servant boy forgets just a bit that those who do harm to the Palestinians, real and incommensurable harm, are the Zionists. As for the idea that "denying the figures" would amount to "denying the people", that is schoolboy pathos. Who could accept this kind of asinine stuff? There seems to be no difference between the Mrapper's lamentations and those of Eppenbaum, president of the LICRA and deputy mayor of Paris. "We want to see a Palestinian state alongside of Israel, you want it in the place of Israel," he has the gall to declare, whereas all of the LICRA's actions and publications exude a sick hatred for the Arabs in general and for the Palestinians in particular. If you want some genuine racism, certified kosher, ask for the LICRA. They're the best in the business. Our observer says that she heard him say this: "We conceded that Abbé Pierre, who wanted there to be a conference to debate the question of the gas chambers, no longer belonged on the board of the LICRA and so we had him resign" [in fact they kicked him out forthwith].
A wartime deportee then stepped up to the bar; of the classic type, one who gets around, gives talks in schools. The classic smoke rising out of the classic chimneys. "We doubted the existence of the gas chambers," said he, in a fine rhetorical run up, "while asking ourselves, 'How could human beings set up such an inhuman industry?' " We are truly in the 20th century, the Industrial Myth is well in place. Since Jules Verne, Lenin and his electrification of the country, the Chicago slaughterhouses described in Tintin in America, the Industrial Myth will have dominated the era, before giving way to the electronic one. It will have explained the deportees' sadness to them, while endowing it with an easy to imagine, pseudo-rational form.
The athletes of Inter-Maccabee will not put up with Garaudy's doubts. For them, in effect, doubt is a very grave thing. If they had the least idea how grave, they'd shoot themselves straight away.
The first barrister for the plaintiffs is the priceless Jean Serge Lorach, the one who habitually pleads against Faurisson because all the others have thrown in the towel. He's the one who holds forth like a smooth talker, able to make up a new childhood for himself at each trial. Mediocre in every aspect, but constant in his mediocrity, he is always expecting to be recommended a book to read. He came up all by himself with the idea that Garaudy had approved of the century's two totalitarianisms, the red plague and the brown. He forgets that the oldest form of totalitarianism -- now aged 100 -- the most unremitting slaughterer and most vicious propagandist is Zionism, and that Garaudy quite precisely has never approved of it, unlike so many of his contemporaries. Barrister Korman, an escapee from past Faurisson trials, is but a shadow of his former self. No need to dwell on him. But have you never heard of Lawyers without Frontiers? Listening to barrister Goldnagel, you know immediately, as he's the spokesman for the Israeli embassy. How these people managed to justify their presence in court is just one more mystery.
The last counsel for the plaintiffs is Mr Charrier-Bournazel. In principle, he is a good lawyer, with a facile eloquence. But he cannot keep from painting the portrait of the typical antisemite as fantasised by so many Jews: a caricature, diabolical. Applying this sketch to Garaudy would be ridiculous, and so he does not even try it. But the case he makes is really thin. And when this man who embellishes his pleading with quotations takes as an example of antisemitic discourse Léon Bloy's Le Salut par les juifs you know that he's come loose. Bloy's book is entirely devoted to the glory of the Jews (for the mystical role that they play in God's great Plan, doubtless quite involuntarily, in the author's eyes). And Bloy was a determined enemy of Drumont [author of La France juive] and the like. Consequently, either this lawyer is an illiterate idiot or he takes us for illiterate idiots. In any case he deserves nothing but contempt.
As for the public prosecutor, he shows that he has only done half of his homework. He quotes from texts in ignorance of their contexts, denatures everything within his reach, giving interpretations of things which historians, among whom the revisionists, have had done with for some time. He ought to stick to the law; when he cited precedent in relation to all the ideas and expressions of ideas subject to prosecution, it was striking to realise to what a degree all of these censorship laws have succeeded in degrading our freedoms. The Thought Police -- the phrase takes on ever more meaning.
Here is the account of January 15th's proceedings in Le Monde :
THERE WAS A CROWD outside the 17th correctional chamber of Paris on Thursday, January 15th, where the philosopher Roger Garaudy appears [Agreement of tense exists, in principle, in Portuguese as well] for "complicity in the questioning of crimes against humanity." For this third day of proceedings, a screening at the entry was made necessary by the impossibility of letting in all those waiting outside. Journalists from the Arab world came to pack the reporters' benches to the full. Moroccan and Egyptian lawyers arrived to reinforce the accused's defence, none too surprising since last week-end's taking of a stance in his favour on the part of middle eastern newspapers and writers, who have come out with numerous texts and appeals for donations (Le Monde of 13 January).
Questioned once again about certain passages of his book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, published in December 1995 as an issue of the revisionist journal La Vieille Taupe, then at the author's own expense in the spring of 1996, Roger Garaudy maintained his system of defence, affirming that his purpose was not to call the Jews into question, but to attack the Zionist policies of the Israeli state. "I shall repeat myself for the eightieth time, I am being presented as having an intention which I have repeated a thousand times is not mine," he stated.
"Roger Garaudy is the man of perpetual denial," according to barrister Jean Serge Lorach, opening the case for the plaintiffs. "He has approved all of the great impostures of the century, the two totalitarianisms, passing from the red plague to the black. It is indeed the Jews that he aims at, and not Zionism. He has taken up the deniers' arguments as his own without running them through the mill of reasoning or comparing them with contrary holdings."
"What I see here is a new form of antisemitism, a racist militancy, one of combat, vindictive, revanchist, organised [expressly] to bring on this trial," said barrister Charles Korman for the LICRA, trying to go one up on Mr Lorach. Reminding the court that at present the position taken [one hundred years ago] by Émile Zola in favour of Alfred Dreyfus was being commemorated, the lawyer saw a certain irony of history: "Whereas Zola denounced antisemitism, Roger Garaudy puts weapons in the hands of antisemitism."
For the association Lawyers without Frontiers, barrister Gilles William Goldnagel warned the court that he intended to "wring the neck of the founding myths of the accused's thinking." "He is not a fascinating personality who has apparently 'come undone' towards the end of his life," said the lawyer. "He has always been and remains a revisionist. Antizionism, according to him, is not a form of antisemitism. But visceral antizionism is antisemitism precisely because it is visceral. Every loss of Jewish blood since the end of the Second World War has been due to antizionism. The ones who are arm in arm with those people are the revisionists. The latter torment the dead, the former, the living."
"THE TRUTH OF SOURCES"
In his closing speech, prosecutor François Reygrobellet explained that he did not understand "why a criticism of the state of Israel's policies must necessarily be made by way of a denial of crimes against humanity. Historical research has not awaited the advent of Garaudy to ask questions of itself. This book is a one-dimensional document in which only a single argument is developed," he continued, finding fault with the accused for not having respected the elementary principles and methods of historiography. "One must be sure of the truth of one's sources and not forget any of them. But here things have been forgotten."
Mr Reygrobellet demanded that a fine of "no less than" Fr50,000 be imposed on Roger Garaudy for the first edition of his book, published in La Vieille Taupe, and one of no less than Fr100,000 for the second, published by the author.
For Pierre Guillaume, charged with "questioning crimes against humanity" in his capacity of editor of La Vieille Taupe, the prosecutor requested a fine "of no less than" Fr150,000 and six months' imprisonment, suspended.
The trial was due to continue on Friday, January 16, with the pleadings of defence cousel.
Acacio Pereira (Le Monde, 17 January 1998)
It may not be useless to bring up a few of this Reygrobellet's remarks: he has the effrontery to give lessons on historical method to Garaudy, who has never claimed to be a historian or to have written a book about history. This pretentious little prosecutor must have a three-year law degree at the very most. If it were the courts' business to look into everyone who wrote on historical matters without rigourously applying a so-called "historical method", we would have to bring back the labour camps and penal colonies. If he only stuck to these bland pedantries he could easily be left to his sorry fate. But after giving his advice the little turkey stayed atop his perch to give us a history lesson of his own!!! His purpose was also "one-dimensional" (if that word means anything), and he too developed only one argument. Above all, he made an exhibition of his ignorance and his inability to handle documents, and this before an audience rather well versed in the literature. From a few tenuous indications Professor Faurisson had got the impression, before the prosecutor's summing up, that the latter had made a good acquaintance of the dossiers, and that one should watch out for him. Here again is to be seen the excessive good nature of the Professor, ever confident that his pupils will shine. He had to recant and recognise that the pompous fool had not done any work, that he had not read the books that he ought to have read, that he drowned in puddles of water long dried up.
Honestly, we must have sinned terribly against the Heavens to be up against such mediocre opponents. The defence's pleadings were postponed till Friday.
Friday, 16 January 1998
We begin with the account in Le Monde:
"A LAW TAILORED specifically to limit research, scandalous, freedom-killing, evil, racist, fascistic." Barrister Jacques Vergès was at a loss for words to describe the Gayssot Act, which allows for the prosecution of anyone who denies the Nazi regime's crimes against humanity during the Second World War. It was by virtue of that statute [in fact of article 24b of the Law of 29 July 1881] that his client, the philosopher Roger Garaudy, had been appearing before the seventeenth correctional chamber of Paris since January 8th for "complicity in the questioning of crimes against humanity."
From the first day of hearings, Mr Vergès had vilified article 24b. These new attacks, which made up the framework of his pleading today, therefore surprised no-one: neither the bench, nor the plaintiffs, and certainly not the public, who were largely won over to his arguments.
"It is by definition a law that excludes all genocides except that of the Jews," he explained before turning towards the plaintiffs' counsel. "When you talk to us about Nuremberg, think a bit of the others, the Australian aborigenes, the Tasmanians, victims of history's most perfect genocide, the Ethiopians, who suffered poison gas attacks during the war, the Polish soldiers at Katyn, the women and children of Hiroshima, the victims of colonialist repression..."
On Thursday, Mr Christian Charrière-Bournazel, counsel for the plaintiffs, had evoked the specificity of the genocide of the Jews: "They were killed simply because they were Jews."
"MAKING HISTORY RIGID"
But Mr Vergès was not about to let up. "This law clashes not only with the principle of equality but also with that of the freedom of opinion," he continued. "All decisions can be discussed, except those of Nuremberg. This law purports to make history rigid, whereas it has always been in a perpetual state of revision. By accepting it, we should be accepting the imposition of an official view of things."
According to the barrister, his client was thus the victim of "discrimination," of a "witchcraft trial."
The verdicts will be rendered on 27 Febraury
Acacio Pereira (Le Monde, 18-19 January 1998)
Here we see that the Portuguese get up late in the morning. The guy obviously did not show up for work at 8.30.
We have received the following account:
Far fewer people this morning. Mr Delcroix, Pierre Guillaume's counsel, made an exposé against the Fabius-Gayssot Act, a tyrannical law purporting to impose on the courts a decision made in advance. He asked that the Galileo trial not be rerun. [It is to be remarked that many people use the parallel with the Galileo case, without having the least notion of what that affair really was, without having read the recent works on it, happy to repeat the childish, simplistic, and totally false version conveyed by Brecht and other uncultured anticlerics. This really ought to stop, for things said in that manner have no relation to any reality of any kind.]
"The revisionists are 'evidentists': they ask for evidence," declared Mr Delcroix.
He was pleading the case of Pierre Guillaume who has been heard to say: "The Jews are just like other people, but the problem of some of them is that they don't think so." Another lawyer pleaded for him as well, Mr Ballan, a Roumanian immigrant of Jewish origin. According to some in the audience, he "did his Jewish bit," lamenting in a ghastly way the burden that was the Jewish condition and confirming that he was not at all a revisionist. His whinings had the barristers opposite completely taken aback; he had picked up their refrain while at the same time claiming for Guillaume the right to freedom of expression which the other fanatics are absolutey bent on robbing him of. Garaudy, for his part, also benefitted from the interventions of two Arab barristers who had made the journey to plead in his favour, one from Morocco, the other from Egypt.
All of which leaves one with a sense of having been witness to an event of seemingly endless repetition and lack of vigour, the reason for which may be found, to begin with, in Garaudy's book itself, which is only a hasty and summary compilation whose one merit has been to put a match to a good number of fuses, especially by way of the intervention of the living saint Abbé Pierre. A defence based on the right to freedom of speech was never a good idea, as that freedom has long been trampled underfoot in this country by the left and also by the right, which in 1990 refused to refer the Gayssot Bill to the Constitutional Council, where it most certainly would have been thrown out.
For Garaudy to claim that he had not broken the Gayssot law was not much more clever. Recalling the moral approbation earned from well-known political activities in the past, or from religious affiliations, could not lead anywhere either, since the authorities who decide on the legitimacy of anyone who appears on the public scene were all ensconced in the bog of the plaintiffs' benches.
In other words, even before the opening of the case, all of the practitioners knew that the game was up, that the decision was as good as written, that all this theatre was useless in the extreme, that one could expect from the thing that goes by the pompous name of justice only a new blow to our most basic freedoms, with the approval of the law. A revisionist has never been known to win a case.
"Decision" on February 27.
(6 Feb. 1998)
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