e-Poshta | 24Oct2007 | Lubomyr Prytulak

Ukraine to criminalize holocaust denial

I was disturbed to read that Yushchenko intends to criminalize Jewish-Holocaust and Holodomor denial.


It should be kept in mind that Holocaust denial does not refer merely to the position that "It didn't happen," but rather includes any questioning of the accuracy of any detail of allegations concerning the Jewish Holocaust. The Holodomor has nothing to fear from Holodomor denial. Any better-quality criticism of the Holodomor will just keep our historians on their toes, and will put a ceiling on Ukrainian hyperbole which would ultimately have the damaging effect of eliciting incredulity. Any poor-quality Holodomor denial discredits itself. What the proposed law will accomplish is to inhibit a bold Ukrainian defense of anti-Ukrainian defamation, such as was needed in the case of the persecution of John Demjanjuk, and such as is needed today in response to a number of initiatives in which Ukraine is gratuitously defamed.

Below are four relevant quotes from UKAR, and attached is a UKAR defence of an instance of Holodomor denial.

"We need to remember that free speech does not mean freedom for the speech we agree with. Such speech needs no legal protection. If free speech means anything, it means protecting the speech we find disturbing, abhorrent, offensive." -- Ian Hunter

"Disagreement among historians regarding the reliability and interpretation of evidence is a normal part of the process of historical research. The right to offer new interpretations of old evidence, as well as to seek out and publish new evidence that challenges prevailing views, is indispensable to the profession. What is "historically recognized" can mean only what the prevailing view is at the time in question. It may be difficult enough for scholars to stand against that view without having to face the risk that some group favored by it may try to have them investigated and prosecuted on criminal charges." -- Kenneth Hilborn *

"Legitimate free speech is not viable when those who engage in it have to worry about facing legal sanctions." -- Alan Borovoy

"It has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense." -- Noam Chomsky *