PDA

View Full Version : New French genocide law



Maciamo
12-10-06, 15:49
Rest assured, it is not a law that favours genocide. France has decided once again to poke its nose in other people's business, and those people, the Turks, are not happy about it. According to the new law, it will become a crime, punishable by a year in prsion and a heavy fine, for anybody on French soil to deny the Armenian genocide under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

BBC News : French in Armenia 'genocide' row (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6043730.stm)


The French parliament has adopted a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered "genocide" at the hands of the Turks, infuriating Turkey.
...
It passed by 106 votes to 19, despite the French government signalling its opposition.
...
But the French foreign ministry described the bill as "unnecessary and untimely".
...
Under the bill, anyone denying genocide could be punished with a one-year prison term and 45,000-euro (30,000) fine - the same punishment that is imposed for denying the Nazi Holocaust.
...
The official Turkish position states that many Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in fighting during World War I - but that there was no genocide.
...
France's President Chirac and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy have both said Turkey will have to recognise the Armenian deaths as genocide before it joins the EU - though this is not the official EU position.

The European Commission has said that the bill, if passed into law, will "prohibit dialogue which is necessary for reconciliation" between Turkey and Armenia on the issue.

Wednesday saw Turkish politicians consider a law that would make it a crime to deny that French killings in Algeria in 1945 were genocide.
...
France has about 500,000 people of Armenian descent - thought to be the largest Armenian immigrant community in Western Europe.


I agree with the French government (so not the parliament) that this law is unnecessary (what has France to gain from this ?) and untimely (it will be criticised as a way to prevent Turkey from joining the EU). If they are going to start with such laws, why not add other famous genocides, like the one in Rwanda and Burundi 15 years ago, or the Japanese massacres of about 15-30 million Chinese and other Asian people during WWII ?

Turkey has a point about the Algerian war. Not all mass killings are necessarily genocides. Stalin and Mao both killed millions of their own people, but that cannot be seen as a genocide as they belonged to the victimised ethnic group.

In fact the very term 'genocide' is controversial as it presupposes a clear distinction between ethnicities. From a genetic point of view I do not think that Armenians and some Turks are so different. Turkish people are so of the most ethnically mixed people in the world, with ancestry combining Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Greek, Turkic, Mongol, Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian and other ethnic groups.

Minty
12-10-06, 23:49
*Sigh* cI heard the Turks will boycott French goods, the French business industry is not happy but I think this could just be something to secure the next election as over half of the French population doesnft really want Muslim nations like Turkey to join the EU.

My husband actually supports Turkey joining the EU, he voted yes last time. I heard in Strasbourg the majority voted yes.

Maciamo
13-10-06, 08:59
My husband actually supports Turkey joining the EU, he voted yes last time. I heard in Strasbourg the majority voted yes.

Voted yes for what ? There has never been a referendum about Turkey joining the EU.

Minty
17-10-06, 00:45
Voted yes for what ? There has never been a referendum about Turkey joining the EU.

I was talking about the fact that the French voters have overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's proposed constitution in a key referendum.

One of the reasons French say firm 'No' to EU treaty is about Turkey.

Duo
17-10-06, 04:59
I was talking about the fact that the French voters have overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's proposed constitution in a key referendum.
One of the reasons French say firm 'No' to EU treaty is about Turkey.


That was because those local right wing politicians in France and Netherlands did a good job to sway the debate to something totally not related. The new constitution even put stricter criteria for future members. As to what a unified consitution had to do with Turkey i NEVER understood. The public and medias got fooled like crazy.

Back to the main issue. This seems something so stupid and uncessary. There is no reason for the French parliament to concern itself with such matters. I understand the influence of the Armenian lobby there but this is totally stupid. I don't get why we are trying to alienate turkey by doing such things. There is already an increasing anti-EU sentiment in Turkey even among the middle class -- the secular and open minded sections -- that feel that are being toyed around with. This certainly doesn't help. European nations need to send clear and strong positive signals, of course without compromising entry criteria.

Maciamo
17-10-06, 09:17
Duo said it all, both for the EU Constitution referendum and for the way EU nations are "toying" with Turkey.

I wonder how many French people know that Turkish language has lots of loan words from French because the Turkish bourgeoisie and upper class used to speak French in the late 19th century, and some up to this day.

I wonder how many know that the Turkish government has been secular (e.g. religion is not taught at school, contrarily to about all other Muslim countries, and willing to Europeanised itself, for example by changing its script from Arabic to Latin.

I wonder how many know that there are more blue-eyed Turks than Portuguese or Spaniards, because of the strong wave of Celtic and Gothic immigrant to Anatolia in ancient times.

What the French government should do is teach its population more about Turkey, rather that pass pointless and provocative laws. Unfortunately it was the Parliament that voted that law, and the Parliament is directly elected by the people, and so is a reflection of the popular ignorance. The unelected government was actually against the law and told the Parliament so.

Maciamo
02-11-06, 10:35
Here is an excellent review of the situation by the BBC's Mark Mardell :

BBC News : Historical guilt (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6107360.stm)

Here are a few key arguments, by making a comparison with Britain.


My first reaction to the programme's request was, "It's obvious". If Britain was asked to acknowledge guilt for something in the past, say the Irish potato famine, there would be fury in some quarters. If the government was pressed by its EU partners to officially label it "genocide" there might be an explosion of incandescent rage in certain papers. But the key is "some quarters" and "certain papers". There would be a lively debate, because many British liberals do feel guilt for the country's colonial past.

Certainly Martin Amis and Iain Banks wouldn't find themselves on trial for agreeing with the foreigners. Yet in Turkey top novelists do find themselves on trial for libelling their country - although the actual law says "insulting the Turkish republic", so I don't quite see how insulting the Ottoman Empire qualifies.
...
The whole question of historical guilt is an interesting one. Should I bear any guilt for the sins the British committed in Africa, if they were sins, any more than I do for the crimes of Jack the Ripper committed around the same time?

Britons are learning about atrocities committed in colonial Kenya
And if I and my government do bear this burden, should we feel similar guilt for the evil committed by Elizabeth I against Catholics or Mary I against Protestants? Should we apologise to the French for the 100 Years War, and they to us for 1066? Thinking about it, weren't the "Normans" actually "Norsemen"? So should an apology be forthcoming from Denmark, Norway and Sweden?

'm not going to speculate further about Turkey, but if it was Britain I suspect part of the problem would be a certain kind of nationalism.

It seems to me that nationalism comes in two distinct types. One is fiercely proud of the achievements of the country, its history and language. The other is *****ly, always looking out for insult and offence and its main motivation seems to be not pride, or even prejudice, but nursing old wounds.
...
It was, I believe, Spike Milligan who used to say that he enjoyed kicking the backs of people's chairs when they didn't rise for the national anthem at the end of a theatre performance or film in the cinema (as was once routine). He said he did it not because he cared much about the national anthem but because it was a good excuse for kicking people. There are those still with us who have a similar motivation, without the irony.

So does the French parliament has a need for kicking people ? Can't do it at home with its own Muslims, so they are looking for a "tête de Turc" (whipping boy) as they say in French ?

I have reflected on the issue in the past 3 weeks, and I still believe that it was a serious mistake to pass that law, or just to label the massacre as "genocide". It is not more a genocide that the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese or Iraqi killed by American troops and bombs. It is war, and people die during war. The massacres of the Armenians took place in the midst of WWI, during which 15.6 million people died, including 2.5 million Ottomans (=> WWI casualties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wwi_casualties)). People were so crazy at that time, with their poisonous gas in trenches, flame-throwers, shells, etc. that the whole war could be considered as an attempt of mutual genocide between the Entente Powers and Central Powers. But it is highly nonsensical to call a genocide only an isolate massacre in the middle of this madness.