Roger Garaudy: From Stalinist to Islamist

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Once upon a time Garaudy was a Communist – by his own description, a “Stalinist from head to toe” who, as Le Monde observed in its obituary, “did not hesitate to denounce the alleged lies of those who sought to make known the reality of the Gulag.”  He joined the French Communist Party before the war, became a member of its Central Committee in 1945, rose to a seat on the Politburo in 1956, and ended up as head of the Party – only to be expelled in 1970 after protesting the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.  During these years he served terms in both the National Assembly and the Senate, taught philosophy in Algiers, Paris, Clermont-Ferrand, and Poitiers, and was a leading figure on the French intellectual scene.  Plainly, his hard-core Stalinism was no hindrance to his career or reputation.  Nor, apparently, was his conversion to Islam in 1971 (a year, note, after his expulsion from the Communist Party) – though, as Le Monde noted, that conversion set him on “a journey that would, in a few years, lead to an increasingly radical ‘anti-Zionism,’” which, when it tipped over into Holocaust denial, resulted in his “disappear[ance] from the national landscape.”

But even as one door closed for Garaudy, another one opened.  Throughout the Arab world, his Holocaust denial turned him into an instant hero.  He was embraced by academics and intellectuals, by heads of state and leaders of terrorist groups alike.  His fans and disciples ranged from people who are branded in the West as violent radicals to those who are considered moderate or even liberal Muslims.  All were brought together in ardent admiration of Garaudy’s poisonous hatred for Israel and his devotion to the proposition that the genocide of the Jews had never happened.

The French media these days – and Le Monde is at or near the head of the pack produce a good deal of harebrained nonsense that goes by the name of journalism, including plenty of material that is harshly anti-Israeli and some that cannot easily be defended from charges of blatant anti-Semitism.  But Garaudy was too much for even this pack to swallow.  The distaste with which the French papers gave this crank his sendoff contrasts dramatically with the tsunami of posthumous praise he garnered from even the supposedly most respectable quarters of the Muslim world.

The chief lesson of which is this: that Holocaust denial today, while still a ticket to opprobrium throughout the West, lies at the very heart of mainstream, even purportedly “progressive,” thinking in the Muslim world today.  If you don’t understand that, you can’t understand the Muslim world today.  Those in the West who believe that all but a minuscule minority of Muslims are essentially sensible and peaceable people who will beat their swords into plowshares if only, say, Israel is put “in its place” and if Palestinians are accorded full statehood are, quite simply, fooling themselves: as Ben Cohen wisely puts it in his own recent reflections on the lessons and legacy of Garaudy’s career, such Westerners “are in denial about the true nature of a political culture in which denial of the Holocaust has become a sacred dogma.”  Indeed, the celebration throughout the Muslim world of Garaudy – a Gulag-denier turned Holocaust-denier – is only one more reflection of the fact that when we deal with Islamic culture today, we are, like it or not, dealing with nothing more or less than mass-scale irrationality – with an irrational hate that has been set in system and that, frankly, cannot be distinguished from Islam itself.

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  • Radegunda

    "Irrational hate" pretty much sums up the heart of Islam, doesn't it?

    • HoR_Emperor

      Tragically true.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    Remember Tisha B'Av (July 29th 2012) – Pray for Israel!

  • Andrea Ostrov Letania

    "The book lost Garaudy friends, publishers, and 240,000 francs"

    Is frontpage for censorship?

    • reader

      I suggest you look up the definition of censorship.

    • HoR_Emperor

      A sneakily dishonest question. Why would you be so concerned for the "rights" of a vile Holocaust denier?

    • RonL

      I am not. But the French who suffered under Nazi occupation and collaboration see things differently.

  • Andrea Ostrov Letania

    When will Jews stop being bolshocaust deniers?

    • reader

      What a crack-pot Jew-hating mumbo jumbo. First of, Zionists were always the enemies of the Bolsheviks, simply because the Bolsheviks were the defitists, while Zionists supported Entente fighting against the Turks in particular during the WWI. Secondly, the first Bolshevik government Sovnarkom – of 18 members – had only one alleged ethnic Jew Trotsky, who not only refused to identify himself as Jewish, but, according to a Russian researcher of Pushkin's lineage, was not even Jewish ethnically.

      • reader

        …of 16 members, to be precise.

      • muammer gokergil

        talk like NAZI

    • HoR_Emperor

      Ah, there we go. I knew you had to be a demented Jew-hater.

    • RonL

      I guess the Holdomir was a Christian event, because Stalin was trained to be an Orthodox Monk? Wait, that's crazy?
      So is blaming Jews for the actions of apostates who join an antisemeitic death cult of communism. Judaism was banned in the USSR. And had Stalin lived any longer, Soviet Jewry would have been sent on a death march to Birobaijan

  • Silverfinger

    I can understand easily why anybody, until the early 1940s, would be a communist. I can understand until the early 1980s, why anybody would be a socialist .

    But after that time, given the "inflationary effects" on the massive money printing, re: homes and stocks, I cannot understand how anybody would become a commie socialist. Capitalism is ugly, brutal but natural.

    To be ruled by a big fat govt full of academics and underachievers who think they deserve a lie long job and pension, to allow them to control our treasury and make policies they do not fully comprehend, to pay so much of pay in income taxes, prop taxes, sales taxes,,, death taxes to them for them to abuse, is not normal.

    How the West got into this mess, is a good question. But it will not last. It cannot last, our land cannot produce the revenue to keep it going.

    This clown Garady was so full of anger and hate for the West he desired its suffering.

  • Ghostwriter

    I hope Monsieur Garady isn't in a comfortable place right now. His Jew hatred was disgusting enough but to deny the Holocaust,with it's Mount Everest-sized evidence to say that it happen is off the chart vile. What a slimeball he was. I hope the devil puts him right along side Hitler and those like him. He deserves it.

  • Mensch Keymelon

    Kind of like David Horowitz: From Red Diaper Days to Conservative Craze…

    • Ghostwriter

      As anyone ever told you that you're a vile piece of garbage,Mensch Keymelon?

  • richard sherman

    Abbas is a Holocaust denier. He got his PH.D. in Holocaust denial. Remember that when he is presented by the media as rational.

  • Jakareh

    Muhammad, the "Perfect Man" and the "Seal of the Prophets", hated Jews and personally beheaded some of them. How can any pious Muslim not aspire to do likewise?

  • Irandissident

    Garaudy was a guest in Iran, had his book ( The Myths…) translated into Farsi, received large funds and became a hero. His book has become an academic source for a whole new generation of Jew haters in that country. Who were his hosts? Not Ahmadinejad ( this was in the mid 1990s), but the "moderate" Muslims who have always been supported by the US State Department, from Carter to Obama.
    There used to be one "Protocols" and one "Mein Campf" , now there are ten major books for each anti Semitic taste, each level of literacy, intelligence and conspiratorial mind, many funded by Iran ( which is incidentally providing a whole Iranian province this week,with free garbage bags, each imprinted with an Israeli Flag ( Star of David) !

  • muammer gokergil

    WHY muslims hate jews. do u really have doubts why. how many palastinians were killed by the Israil goverment. you may say it is a myth as the Garoudy said for nazi holocast. jews and GB haven't occupied palastinia. no one needs the Garoudy to hate israil goverment and the ones-jew or not- support it.