Thion Serge - Historical truth or political truth ?

Author : Thion Serge
Title : Historical truth or political truth ? The Faurisson Affair The Question of the Gas Chambers
Year : 1980

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The How of the Why. "As far as truth is concerned, there are no impure sources." Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Bulletin d'information sur le Cambodge, June 1978, no. 3, page 12. Here is an individual who asserts that the gas chambers in German concentration camps have never existed, that they are essentially a myth born of the horrors of war. Scandal. It is said that this man is either mad or nostalgic for Nazism. That madmen go off their rockers or that Nazis try to whitewash Hitlerian Germany is quite normal. The opposite, even, would be surprising. On the one hand, there are more and more mad people because, it is said, of modern life. On the other hand, Nazis and other empty heads of the extreme right have never ceased dreaming of a millenarian Reich. If I trust my memory, their influence has seriously declined since the end of the Algerian war and the dismantling of the O.A.S. Therefore, no matter how this individual and his provocative assertions are classified, his case seems clear and devoid of the least interest. But the strange thing is that this event spreads, takes unexpected proportions, and invades the press, despite the repeated desire to stop talking about it. Ministers comment on it, members of parliament question the government, one of them, from Giscard's block uses it to demand the ushering into France of Berufsverbot, the exclusion of "extremists" from professional ranks. Since October 1978, the press is no longer able to practice self-censorship, because of troubles at Lyons University, because, despite being showered with insults, the interested party puts up a struggle and bombards the newspapers asserting his right to reply, because of indictment by the press, because the affair has spilled over to the foreign media, and finally, because the antiracist movements, led by L.I.C.A. decide to crush the boor by bringing against him the charge – quite original under French law – of having "deliberately falsified the presentation of History." Notice this capital H, and wait to see how justice will sort out this hypostasis. When it is not printed in black and white, rumor is going around that the ideas of this Mr. Faurisson are unacceptable because they are the deeds of a Nazi, or a pro-Nazi, or an antisemite. The fact that he challenged these qualifiers and won a libel suit against Le Matin de Paris did not change his detractors' convictions, which are based not so much on what he says as on the more or less shady intentions attributed to him. It must be said that these trials of intention are not a credit to the censors, but this is not the question. It may certainly be said that Mr. Faurisson is a man of the right, and to be more precise, a kind of anarchist of the right. Nonetheless, it must also be stated that his students and many of his colleagues, until the outbreak of this affair, took him to be of the left. In any case, he stands alone. As to his political leanings, I don't find them particularly attractive except for the refusal of intellectual taboos and of a certain propensity, that I share, to take the side of the downtrodden, those who once and again find themselves on the losing side. This is not quite sufficient, in my opinion, to build moral politics, but it is a rather good vaccination against the illusions of power. ...

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