Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

French parliament “makes” history

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Turkey is not a bastion of free speech. There are some “sensitive topics,” like the Kurdish problem, religious repression, and the Armenian genocide, that—when broached—end poorly for the instigator. According to the New York Times, this is damaging to Turkey’s “democratic glow.” After all, the Turkish model is a failure if the basic tenets of liberal democracy, like free speech, fail to be upheld.

Which makes it excruciatingly ironic when France’s parliament condemns the Turks’ denial of the Armenian genocide—and brings it into the international consciousness—by limiting free speech in France. It is now a crime in France to deny that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915. Take that, Turkey.

The blustering Turks, of course, have responded in the usual, blustering fashion.

“Those who fall silent against such measures [such as the approval of this law] will be turning a deaf ear to the footsteps of approaching fascism in Europe,” Erdoğan said.

But another response, briefly covered in the Hürriyet, is a bit more apt (here):

The French government censored reports of the country’s violent acts committed against Algerians during the latter’s war of independence out of a recent official document, Britain’s The Times newspaper recently claimed, according to BBC Türkçe.

The government requested a historical piece from French historian Guy Perville on the Algerian war that was then substantially cut on the grounds that the loss of Algiers remained a trauma for modern France.

The director of the French national archives, Hervé Lemoin, said the Algerian issue was too sensitive to be studied objectively and that the article consequently had to be censored.

Perville said his piece initially focused on how the struggle for independence, which began with a peaceful agreement, turned into a series of violent confrontations and terror acts.

Noting that he had been censored for the first time in over 40 years, Perville said his piece was transformed into a story of glory for the French.

Take that, France.

Written by M. James

January 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

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