Wash that creep right out of our hair - a response to an ugly mind

Dear Margaret Wente

 

After reading your article about Ernst Zndel I can see why Canada is declining in mental rigour and falling back on Bolshevik-Stalinist legal tactics of silencing those who have a developed mind with which they grasp the complexities of life as such.

 

You are fortunate that someone is tolerating your presence at the newspaper because in this article about Zndel you have reverted to a primitive, vulgar and elemental level that shames not only your employer but also that which you have in your mind - and what values and qualities you nurture in your mind are so clearly revealed in your prose.

 

The content of your article indicates that your mind has no redeeming virtue and values at all. There is a definite lack of empathetic understanding and maturity that could be expected of someone your age.

 

I have meet many individuals, local, national and international, but never have I seen a person expose herself in such a demeaning way.

 

Were you in my English class, I would have to give you some marks for form because undoubtedly you have an elementary and generally crude grasp of language use.

 

As for content, I would have to request you re-think all that you have written. In your essay there is a lack of depth, a lack of balance, a lack of appropriate choice of words, an emotional gush that reveals lack of self-discipline and self-respect.

 

I could go on and submit a whole list of points as to why this essay of yours is indicative of what ails Canada as a first-world country.

 

Your mind-set is confused and underdeveloped - you are indeed mentally challenged, something that comes through your prose when you use the  royal 'we'. Such a generalisation is questionable in your case.

 

I conclude from your essay that you are not a serious investigative journalist, you are not someone who has bothered to sit back for a moment and thought about Ernst Zndel's alleged ' crime'.  

 

You have either unilaterally, or through an order from above, done a hatchet job on  Zndel that is a classic piece of self-serving trivia. You have not offered any valuable insights or new information that would illuminate the problems allegedly generated by Ernst Zndel in Canada.

 

Some of your words, phrases and sentences I selected, just for fun, and shake my head in disbelief that you are actually being paid to be a classic ink pisser, as you yourself indicated what you did on Ernst Zndel.

 

By the way, you did not create Ernst Zndel, and that is your greatest self-delusional point. Your insignificance in what is happening on the world stage is not even apparent to you. Ernst Zndel is in the thick of world events while you are a mere parasite feeding off his person. You needed Ernst but he never needed you!

 

Sincerely

 

Adelaide

Australia

2 March 2005

 

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Your words, phrases and sentences

 

crackpot Holocaust denier,

 

 If you're lucky, you'll never see his wretched name in print again,

 

 He never was worth the oceans of ink we spilled on him, or the hours of air time he sucked up.

 

I'm sick to death of Mr. Zundel.

 

And I've always thought the best way to deal with public idiots is to ignore them.

 

Now, unreasonable detention couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

 

But if Canadian society isn't robust enough to withstand a little creep like Mr. Zundel, then we're in more trouble than I thought.

 

Holocaust denial is not exactly a mainstream view these days

 

he never did attract more than a handful of other nuts, losers and conspiracy theorists.

 

 Mr. Z. didn't even advocate violence.

 

Still, I can't help thinking we used a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. An nasty, irritating gnat, to be sure. A gnat that we created, and that I am happy to get rid of, and one I hope I never have to mention again. A gnat who never did deserve the notoriety we bestowed on him.

 

The Article

TODAY'S PAPER
           
Toronto
 
Wash that creep right out of our hair

By MARGARET WENTE

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - Page A19

As you read these words, Ernst Zundel, crackpot Holocaust denier, may already be on an airplane bound for Germany and the obscurity he so richly deserves. If you're lucky, you'll never see his wretched name in print again, although, given his talent for publicity and the media's fascination, you're unlikely to be that lucky. This sketchy character never did deserve even 15 seconds of fame. He never was worth the oceans of ink we spilled on him, or the hours of air time he sucked up. And yet, he managed to keep himself in the headlines for more than a quarter of a century. And because of that, I can't help feeling that even though he lost, he won.

I'm sick to death of Mr. Zundel. And I've always thought the best way to deal with public idiots is to ignore them. Without the sunshine and water of public attention, he might have shrivelled up and disappeared long ago. Instead, we declared him such a menace that we locked him up. For the past two years, he's sat in jail while authorities determined whether he posed a "security risk" to Canadian society. Now, unreasonable detention couldn't happen to a more deserving guy. But if Canadian society isn't robust enough to withstand a little creep like Mr. Zundel, then we're in more trouble than I thought.

Holocaust denial is not exactly a mainstream view these days -- in the West at any rate, as distinct from the Middle East, which is another matter entirely. And nothing Mr. Zundel ever said or did or wrote was going to make it so. Despite cranking out such self-published tracts as The Hitler We Loved and Why, he never did attract more than a handful of other nuts, losers and conspiracy theorists. (Not surprisingly, he is also fixated on UFOs, which he believes are Nazi secret weapons based somewhere in Antarctica.)

In the great scheme of things, I suspect Mr. Zundel packed less clout than, say, David Duke, another neo-Nazi white supremacist who's trotted out every so often by the American media for his curiosity value. Mr. Z. didn't even advocate violence. When it comes to immigrants who practise hate speech, we put up with worse -- for example, imams who tell their followers it's their duty to wage holy war on infidels, i.e., Jews and Christians.

The debate over what to do about Ernst Zundel divided Canada's Jewish community from the start. Back in the early 1980s, many people felt the best policy was to ignore him, either on the grounds of free speech or in hopes that he'd disappear. But others, especially Holocaust survivors, felt the icy chill of history, and they carried the day. In the mid-1980s, a Holocaust survivor named Sabina Citron persuaded the Ontario government to prosecute Mr. Zundel -- for breaking an obscure law that prohibited the dissemination of "false news." The Crown was in over its head, and the law was weak. He was convicted, but eventually the Supreme Court overturned the law.

The legal circus lasted 20 years and cost the taxpayers untold millions. (Remember, this is Canada, the nation that is unable to deport known terrorists and simple common criminals.) Along the way, the Canadian Human Rights Commission decided to go after him, too. It spent a colossal amount of time and money to conclude that his anti-Semitic website violated human rights and should be shut down. The entire effort was utterly beside the point, since the website was based in the United States.

Was all the effort to get rid of this public nuisance worth it? Irving Abella, Shiff Professor of Canadian History at York University, says yes. "These groups can do enormous harm," he argues. "All it takes is one of these crazies to do something violent. They can form alliances with other groups, with neo-terrorists or al-Qaeda-related groups that are dangerous not only to Jews but to society." Mr. Zundel's legal battles, he argues, significantly hurt his ability to spread his poison. And in the end, public exposure did far more to hurt than help his cause. "There have been some unforeseen positives," says Mr. Abella. Holocaust survivors who had kept silent became so enraged that they began to speak out, and today millions of us, including school kids, have heard their stories. Today, more Canadians understand the facts of the Holocaust than before Ernst Zundel became a household name.

Still, I can't help thinking we used a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. An nasty, irritating gnat, to be sure. A gnat that we created, and that I am happy to get rid of, and one I hope I never have to mention again. A gnat who never did deserve the notoriety we bestowed on him. mwente@globeandmail.ca

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