The co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and eco-activist Roger Hallam has been knocked by his colleagues, and the German authorities alike after he argued there was nothing extraordinary about the Holocaust.
The comments instantly hit a raw nerve with the German branch of Extinction Rebellion, which hurried to distance itself from his “intolerable . . . downplaying and relativising” of the Holocaust, and criticised him as a “polarising” force within the wider movement.
The 53-year-old former organic farmer recounted in an interview with Die Zeit that “in our history, millions of people have regularly been killed under awful circumstances”, going on to bring up Leopold II of Belgium’s historic exploitation of the Congo Free State, which paved the way for the modern Democratic Republic of Congo:
“In the late 19th century the Belgians went into the Congo and decimated it . . .” he noted adding “genocides have happened time and again in the past 500 years“.”To be honest, it’s almost a normal occurrence”, said Hallam, who together with his allies set up Extinction Rebellion in London last year – one of the world’s largest climate campaign groups, with a highly developed network of branches across the globe.
Referring to the Germans’ expected indignation, he insisted they are too “paralysed” by the trauma of the Holocaust to learn something from it that would be applicable to our modern life. More specifically, he portrayed the Third Reich’s murder of six million Jews as “just another f***ery in human history”.
Although the company he founded bases its strategy on the non-violent protests of such legendary historic figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Hallam’s personal disposition for provocation has earned him a reputation as an exceptionally divisive figure.
Police remove a protestor who had glued himself to the window of a DLR train at Canary wharf station on the third day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group (File)
For instance, earlier this year, he raised eyebrows with his open, expressive speech at Amnesty International’s London office, in which he likened global warming to the 1.1. million deaths at the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz.
Extinction Rebellion sociopolitical movement was co-founded by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook in the United Kingdom in May 2018 to call for governmental action to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and risk of ecological collapse.