The Extinction Rebellion founder says genocides are “like a regular event” in history. Hallam tells THE TIME the Germans’ attitude to the Holocaust is holding them back.
Roger Hallam co-founder of Extinction Rebellion has sparked anger in Germany after referring to the Holocaust as “just another fuckery in human history”.
Hallam has been accused of downplaying the Nazis’ genocide of 6 million Jews by arguing in an interview that the significance of the Holocaust has been overplayed.
In the interview with the weekly Die Zeit, in which he referred to the Holocaust several times, Hallam said: “The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.”
Hallam believes the Germans’ attitude towards the Holocaust is holding them back. The TIME in an interview
Talking to DIE ZEIT, the 53-year-old British citizen referenced the Holocaust several times. The “fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in a regular basis in history” Hallam said. He cites, for example, the Belgians, who “went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it”.
He notes that genocides have been repeated over the past five centuries: “In fact, you might say it is like a regular event.”
He listed other mass killings in the past 500 years, including the Belgians’ slaughter in the Congo. “They went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it.” He said that seen in this context, the Holocaust was “almost a normal event … just another fuckery in human history.”
In the interview he repeated calls he has made in the past for the climate crisis to be treated with as much emotion as Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp, where 1.1 million people died. “Emotionality is the only way you can get people to do something,” he said.
When the reporter, Hannah Knuth, suggested to him that the Holocaust stood alone in history in terms of its implementation and scale, Hallam responded: “There are various debates as to whether the Holocaust is unique or not. I know that that’s the conviction in Germany. But with all respect I don’t agree with it.”
Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, was among those to condemn Hallam’s remarks, saying the systematic state-sponsored killing that wiped out two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population between 1939 and 1945 could not be referred to as “just another fuckery”.
Maas tweeted: “The Holocaust is more than millions of dead and horrific torture methods. To want to murder and exterminate Jewish women and men is uniquely inhumane. We must always be aware of that so we can be certain: never again!”
The German publisher Ullstein announced on Wednesday it was pulling out of publishing Hallam’s book Common Sense for the 21st Century, which had been due to appear in German bookshops next Tuesday.
However Roger Hallam book ‘Common Sense for the 21st Century’ is available on his page for free where he writes:
“ONLY NONVIOLENT REBELLION CAN NOW STOP CLIMATE BREAKDOWN AND SOCIAL COLLAPSE”
I’m a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and an organic farmer. I have written a booklet called “Common Sense for the 21st Century: Only Nonviolent Rebellion Can Now Stop Climate Breakdown and Social Collapse.”
The booklet outlines how the environmental and climate movements around the world need to come together in order to avert extinction of all life. It goes into detail on using nonviolent civil disobedience as well as other strategies and tactics to make real change happen.
Help us keep the book free to download, expand it and have it translated: https://fundrazr.com/commonsense.
Mass civil disobedience is the only way
I strongly believe in the tactics and strategies found in my booklet which are currently being ignored by many environmental campaign groups. Additionally, I outline the concept of citizens assemblies and a new transition movement to inspire people to get started on making the necessary changes happen now, before governments act. -Roger Hallam
Words have consequence, Hallam’s remarks drew the ire of fellow climate campaigners, historians and politicians across Germany.
The German branch of Extinction Rebellion distanced itself from Roger Hallam on Wednesday, the co-founder of the movement, after he said the Holocaust was “just another fuckery in human history.”
The environmental activists called Hallam’s comments “harmful” and “relativizing” in both content and terminology, in a statement posted on Twitter.
Extinction Rebellion Deutschland distanziert sich von Roger Hallam
– Pressemitteilung –
Roger Hallams Aussage ist in Diktion wie Inhalt für XR
Dtl. nicht tragbar. Er ist kein Sprecher für XR Deutschland und hat sich in keiner Weise mit uns abgesprochen.https://t.co/UwnWNxep4M pic.twitter.com/bA14RGWIjX
— Extinction Rebellion Deutschland (@ExtinctionR_DE) November 20, 2019
His comments were “not representative of XR Germany and he did not discuss his comments with us in any way,” said the group in a statement posted on Twitter. This applies to his views on democracy, sexism and racism, the statement continued.
The group also sought to minimise Hallam’s importance to the movement, pointing out that he was just one of 15 founders.
Hallam defended his comments
Hallam claimed his comments had been taken out of context. “I want to fully acknowledge the unimaginable suffering caused by the Nazi Holocaust that led to all of Europe saying ‘never again’,” he said.
“But it is happening again, on a far greater scale and in plain sight. The global north is pumping lethal levels of CO2 into the atmosphere and simultaneously erecting ever greater barriers to immigration, turning whole regions of the world into death zones. That is the grim reality.”
He added: “We are allowing our governments to willingly, and in full knowledge of the science, engage in genocide of our young people and those in the global south by refusing to take emergency action to reduce carbon emissions.”
Hallam, who comes from the UK, wrote the paper “Common sense for the 21st century” — the Extinction Rebellion movement had previously called this significant in its contribution to its tactic of widespread civil disobedience, such as large numbers of participators setting out to get arrested.