17 July 1913|
13 June 2012 (aged 98)|
Roger Garaudy, later Ragaa Garaudy (French: [gaʁodi]; 17 July 1913 – 13 June 2012) was a French philosopher, French resistance fighter and a prominent communist author. He converted to Islam in 1982. In 1998, he was prosecuted for Holocaust denial under French law for claiming that the death of six million Jews was a "myth."
Roger Garaudy was born in Marseille. During World War II, Garaudy joined the French Resistance, for which he was imprisoned in Djelfa, Algeria, as a prisoner of war of Vichy France. Garaudy converted to Islam in 1982 after marrying a Palestinian woman, later writing that "The Christ of Paul is not the Jesus of the Bible," and also forming other critical scholarly conclusions regarding the Old and New Testaments. As a Muslim he adopted the name "Ragaa" and became a prominent Islamic commentator and supporter of the Palestinian cause.
Political and academic career
Following the war, Garaudy joined the French Communist Party. As a political candidate he succeeded in being elected to the National Assembly and eventually rose to the position of deputy speaker, and later senator.
Garaudy lectured in the faculty of arts department of the University of Clermont-Ferrand from 1962-1965. Due to controversies between Garaudy and Michel Foucault, Garaudy left. He later taught in Poitiers from 1969-1972.
Garaudy remained a Christian and eventually re-converted to Catholicism during his political career. He was befriended by one of France's most prominent clerics of the time, the Abbé Pierre, who in later years supported Garaudy, even regarding the latter's most controversial views.
Garaudy wrote more than 50 books, mainly on political philosophy and Marxism.
In 1996 Garaudy published, with his editor Pierre Guillaume, the work Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne (literally, The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics), later translated into English as The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. In the book he wrote of "the myth of the six million" Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Because of this breach of French law concerning Holocaust denial, the courts banned any further publication and on 27 February 1998 fined him 240,000 French francs. He was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of several years. Garaudy appealed this decision to the European Court of Human Rights, but his appeal was rejected as inadmissible. At his hearing, Garaudy stated that his book in no way condoned National Socialist methods, and that book was an attack on the mythologizing and use of "the holocaust" by Israeli government as policy. He argued that his book dealt with the Israeli government's use of "the holocaust" as a "justifying dogma" for its actions, mainly in Palestine and toward Palestinians.
Support from the Islamic World
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, 160 members of the parliament signed a petition in Garaudy's support. Senior Iranian officials invited him to Tehran and received him warmly. Iranian leaders condemned Israel and the West for bringing Garaudy to trial. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei cited Garaudy for his work in exposing the Zionists’ "Nazi-like behavior." Iranian President Mohammad Khatami described Garaudy as "a thinker" and "a believer" who was brought to trial merely for publishing research which was "displeasing to the West.".
Garaudy has been praised throughout the Islamic World:
- In June 1999, Jordanian intellectuals named Garaudy "the most important international cultural personality of the 20th century."
- Former Syrian vice-president Abdul-Halim Khaddam has called Garaudy "the greatest contemporary Western philosopher."
- Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi stated that Garaudy is "Europe's greatest philosopher since Plato and Aristotle."
- Garaudy was a co-winner of the King Faisal International Prize for Services to Islam in 1986.
- In February 2006, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah described Garaudy as "a great French philosopher." Nasrallah went on to praise Garaudy for exposing "alleged Jewish Holocaust in Germany" and stated that Garaudy "proved that this Holocaust is a myth." Nasrallah also criticized France for putting Garaudy on trial.
Later activities and death
In later interviews, Garaudy stated that the attacks of 11 September 2001 were organized by the United States government. He also repeated his claim on the Holocaust, stating that it was "invented as a myth by Churchill, Eisenhower and De Gaulle" to justify the destruction and occupation of Germany.
In December 2006, Garaudy was unable to attend the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust in Tehran, Iran due to health reasons. He reportedly sent a videotaped message supporting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's view that Israel should cease to exist.
Roger Garaudy died in Paris on 13 June 2012, aged 98.
Praise for Garaudy after his death
Following his death in June 2012, Garaudy subsequently received praise from a number of sources (as translated by MEMRI):
- Columnist Adam Yousef wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida that "Garaudy committed no crime. He merely pointed out that the number of Jews who lived in Europe during World War II did not exceed 3.5 million – so where did the [figure of] six million come from, on which Israel bases the myth of the Holocaust? This is a simple scientific question, [a matter of] proof..."
- The Iranian Fars News Agency called him "the first denier of the Holocaust myth."
- The Arab Writers Union in Syria, of which Garaudy is an honorary member, wrote that he proved that "truth and evidence-based credibility and scientific accuracy were possible."
- Tunisian writer Tawfiq Al-Madina claimed in the Syrian daily Al-Thawra that Garaudy had "exposed the false myths of the Zionists and their false propaganda regarding the Holocaust..."
- Fares Al-Wabasha, a columnist for the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, wrote: "Only rarely do we encounter a prominent Western philosopher and thinker like Roger Garaudy, who supports Arab causes and exposes in a rational and scientific manner the shameful claims of the Zionist movement, undermining its colonialist enterprise in the region..."
Published in English language
- Literature of the Graveyard: Jean-Paul Sartre, François Mauriac, André Malraux, Arthur Koestler, New York, International Publishers, 1948.
- Science and Faith in Teilhard de Chardin, in collaboration with Claude Cuenot, Garnstone Press, 1967.
- Karl Marx: The Evolution of his Thought, International Publishers, 1967, Greenwood Press, 1967, Lawrence & Wishart, 1967.
- From Anathema to Dialogue: The Challenge of Marxist-Christian Cooperation, Collins, 1967.
- From Anathema to Dialogue: A Marxist Challenge to the Christian Churches, Vintage, 1968.
- A Christian-Communist Dialogue: Exploration for Co-operation between a Marxist and a Christian, in collaboration with Quentin Laur, S.J., Doubleday, 1968.
- Marxism in the Twentieth Century, HarperCollins Distribution Services, 1970, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970, Collins, 1970.
- The Crisis in Communism: The Turning Point of Socialism, Grove Press, 1970.
- The Turning Point of Socialism, HarperCollins Distribution Services, 1970.
- Socialism's Unanswered Questions: Europe 1968, Sydney, Australian Left Review, 1970.
- The Whole Truth, Fontana, 1971.
- The Alternative Future: A Vision of Christian Marxism, Simon & Schuster, 1974.
- God, Marx, and the Future: Dialogue with Roger Garaudy, in collaboration with Russell Bradner Norris, Fortress Press, c. 1974.
- Karl Marx: Evolution of his Thought, Praeger, 1977, ABC-CLIO, 1977.
- The Case of Israel: A Study of Political Zionism, Shorouk International, 1983.
- Mosquée, miroir de l'Islam, The Mosque, Mirror of Islam, Editions du Jaguar, 1985.
- The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics, published by Aaargh, 1996.
- The Mythical Foundations of Israeli Policy, Studies Forum International, 1997.
- "Islamic Arabic Heritage: Connection between Past and Present". Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs - Kuwait. Retrieved 17 June 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "French philosopher Roger Garaudy dies". 15 June 2012.
- Tony Cross (15 June 2012). "From French resistance to Holocaust denial - Roger Garaudy dies at 98". RFI English.
- Atkins, Stephen E. (2009-01-01). Holocaust Denial as an International Movement. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313345388.
- Simon Epstein, Roger Garaudy, Abbé Pierre, and the French Negationists", in: Robert S. Wistrich (editor), Holocaust Denial: The Politics of Perfidy, De Gruyter with Magnes Press (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 2012, pp 85-107, ISBN 9783110288148 
- Garaudy, Roger (2000-11-01). The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. Newport Beach, CA: Inst for Historical Review. ISBN 9780939484751.
- "Ce qui a fait chuter l'abbé Pierre", L'Express, 02-05-1996, (in French).
- "Origin and Enduring Impact of the 'Garaudy Affair'". www.ihr.org. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
- "From French resistance to Holocaust denial - Roger Garaudy dies at 98 - Africa - RFI". 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- "Writer fined for 'holocaust' writings". BBC News. bbc.co.uk. February 27, 1998. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Inadmissibility Decision in the Case of Garaudy v. France, European Court of Human Rights, July 7. 2003.
- "Writer fined for holocaust writings". BBC News. bbc.co.uk. 27 February 1998. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- IRNA, 20 April 1998 − DR.
- Tehran TV, 19 Jan. 1998 − DR.
- Iran, the Jews and the Holocaust Archived 1 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. by David Menashri (Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History, Director of the Center of Iranian Studies and Incumbent of the Parviz and Pouran Nazarian Chair for Modern Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University).
- Roger Garaudy: Itinéraire d'une négation Archived 24 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. book Review by Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English), 4 November 2007.
- The King Faisal International Prize - Winners in Twenty Five Years (1979-2003) Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine., page 25.
- Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah: Implementing Khomeini's Fatwa against Salman Rushdie Would Have Prevented Current Insults to Prophet Muhammad; Great French Philosopher Garaudy Proved Holocaust a Myth, MEMRI – Special Dispatch #1088, 7 February 2006.(retrieved on 15 December 2008.)
- "The Jewish Week | Connecting the World to Jewish News, Culture, and Opinion". The Jewish Week | Connecting The World To Jewish News, Culture & Opinion. 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- Al-awsat, Asharq (10 April 2007). "Roger Garaudy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Organizations, Academics And Columnists In Arab World And Iran Mourn Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy, MEMRI, Special Dispatch No.4817, 2 July 2012.
- Maurice Cranston, "The Thought of Roger Garaudy," Problems of Communism, vol. 19, no. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1970), pp. 11–18.
- André Dupleix, Le Socialisme de Roger Garaudy et le problème religieux, Toulouse: Privat, 1971.
- Michaël Prazan and Adrien Minard, Roger Garaudy, itinéraire d'une négation, Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2007.
- “The Balance Sheet of Western Philosophy in This Century.” by Roger Garaudy.