Sunday, 25 December 2011

France, Turkey and various genocides

The French plan to criminalise denying that the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks was genocide is foolish and wrong. I suppose the logic they are using is; 'if denying the genocide of Jews by the Nazis is a crime, then so should other genocides", which makes sense, but then denying the Holocaust should not be a crime in any society which values freedom.

Now they're in a diplomatic spat with the Turks, whose position is, I believe, historically indefensible - and I guess I better say that, given the European Arrest Warrant - as they go further than denying genocide into complete whitewash. Now they're kettling the French pot with counter-accusations that Marianne has more than a spot of genocidal blood on her hands vis à vis la guerre d'Algérie.

Matters of historical controversy should not be dealt with through criminalising opinion, no matter how demonstrably false such opinions are or how offensive some find them. It is no business of the state to be ruling on what did and did not happen in the past.


Elizabeth said...

And how long before the French attempt to criminalise its own citizens turns into an E.U. directive over all of us.Many in this country would no doubt relish this kind of power. They appear everywhere whenever there is a discussion about 'free speech'. It usually goes..."I absolutely believe in free speech,but with responsibility" and I think-ah, and I expect you'll decide on the terms of 'responsibility'.All of which means no freedom of speech,opinion e.c.t. only state power to decide what we can freely believe and express. If the French go for this we could be approaching dangerous ground.

Trooper Thompson said...


in reality, they probably already have all the power they need, by using 'hate speech' laws. I recall a christian street preacher being approached by a gay policeman and being asked if homosexuality was a sin, and he said; yes, according to the Bible, so they arrested him, on the grounds that his answer had caused distress or something.

Elizabeth said...

I would agree to some extent.However, I think at this point it is all a bit patchy and the idea of the state being the ultimate arbiter of how we can express ourselves has not yet become entrenched in the national consciousness.Give it time though,and a few E.U. directives, followed by a few headline examples and we're almost there.

Trooper Thompson said...

I dare say you're right with regard to the state being the arbiter. What certainly seems to have entrenched itself in the national consciousness is the notion that offending someone is quite potentially criminal, especially as taking offence is a subjective matter, whereas a crime should be an objective fact.

Trooper Thompson said...

Sorry, that last sentence doesn't scan quite right, I edited out something!