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Laurence Inman’s Blog

LIAR, LIAR?

30-10-2008

Pinochio

Conspiracy theories abound about events as diverse as the Holocaust and 9/11. Laurence Inman weighs the evidence. For himself.

As far as I’m aware, there’s no law in this country against denying the holocaust, although Jacqui Smith can, apparently, deny you entry if you deny it somewhere else.

I’m rather glad of this. I want to feel that I can, if I choose, say what I want about any historical event, without having the Thought-Police coming round in the middle of the night to give me a pasting.

I incline to the view that the holocaust did take place. But there’s a problem; I wasn’t there. So I have to base my judgement on evidence. There are films. There are books, written, admittedly, by the winners, who have something of an interest in demonising the vanquished.

In the end, though, it’s the ‘laws’ of logic and probability which help me accept that something horrible took place across Europe in the thirties and forties.

Basically, why would so many people conspire to tell such a huge lie, if it didn’t actually happen ? As far as I’m concerned that’s the clincher. It’s the same reason I believe Australia exists, even though I’ve never been there.

And why I think 11/9 wasn’t an inside job; the sheer scale of the task – dreaming it up, doing it, keeping it a secret – would have been so immense and involved such colossal numbers of people, that....well, need I go on ?

This holocaust-denial business started in Germany didn’t it ? A country not especially noted for its light touch in forensic matters.

Can a whole culture be impervious to the obvious fact that the best way to deal with bullies and tyrants is to ignore or laugh at them ? It just needed a few hundred of those respectful hordes at the Nuremberg rallies to wander off with a disappointed sigh, or fail to stifle a snigger, for the whole phoney edifice to crumble away.

Whatever anyone says now, for their own current political motives, cannot alter an historical fact. And the further back in time that fact recedes, the less power it has to gather current political significance around itself. Eventually we are able to examine it with proper, genuine, historical methodology.

I want to be free to speculate on the number of prisoners killed after the battle of Agincourt in 1415, say, without some priggish twat telling me I can’t because the number has been laid down for all time, or because it might offend someone, or a whole nation. And I certainly don’t want to be thrown into gaol just for asking legitimate questions.

If you imprison your enemies, you make them stronger in the end.

The Turks tried to wipe out the Armenians in 1915. A few years later, when Hitler was considering killing all the Jews, Poles, Russians, Slavs and gays (plus anyone with a physical or mental ‘defect’) he turned to his aides and said, ‘After all, who now remembers the massacre of the Armenians ?

Well, do we?

In 1461, at Towton in North Yorkshire, during the Wars of the Roses, a battle took place which claimed the lives of more people than any other on British soil. Some historians put the figure at 26,000. Others go as high as 33,000.

I think it was exactly 29,756.

Tell me I’m wrong.

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