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Armenian Question Spoiled the French

Armenian Question Spoiled the French
Alexander Magidovich 17.10.2006

So, the French parliament enacted the law declaring criminal denying of genocide of Armenians in Ottoman empire within World War I. In general this law is - a tracing-paper from another all-European law denying genocide of Jews by Nazis within World War II. That, on the one hand, is clear - denying of obvious things can be offensive for those who, say, lost natives in Oswiecim. Though, on the other hand, denying of obvious to everybody things is - an engine of scientific progress. History is – also a science and if the authorities define the directions following to which progress is a judicable matter, the matter is not beneficial to the science. Moreover it refers to the freedom of word.

To punish severely for undesirable free-thinking is an old European tradition. Everyone remember from school textbooks about Galileo, Dzhordano Bruno. And, by the way, the fact that Dzhordano Bruno was burnt unreasonably Vatican had recognized recently, centuries later after execution. And the fact that the ground is round and Gagileo was right though is obvious, but there is no certainty that the law, on the basis of which the scientist was pursued, has been canceled nowadays. It still should be checked up.

Yes, it’s not wise to deny genocide of Jews today, but whether it makes Jews the object of sympathy from all other European peoples? I do not know, I do not know... Anyway, last year's arrest of the British scientist who came to Austria where there’s a law on criminal prosecution for denying of Holocaust, for the reason that he said or wrote something about 20 years ago, doesn’t add sympathies to anybody. As to the old scientist everybody, in general, sympathized. Well, the person "has got"... All the more his arrival and his arrest, as it appeared to be, was provocation from the part of law enforcement bodies.

The British historian David Irving, the author of the book "Hitler's War" was condemned to three years of imprisonment in Australia. He was recognized guilty of denying the fact of the Holocaust that in Austria is a criminal offence. David Irving in his public speeches denied the use of gas chambers in Oswiecim as well as Adolf Hitler's participation in prosecution of Jews. In new lectures which he has not had time to read because of arrest, he was going to tell to the listeners about the connection existed between ideologist of the Holocaust Adolf Ejhman and leaders of the Jewish community in Hungary. Being imprisoned he “reconsidered” his positions and sent to mass-media a letter that he “made a mistake” when he spoke about absence of gas cameras in Oswiecim. It didn’t soften the judges who confessed his as guilty. Really, they were not severe with him, in Australia for the denial of the Holocaust one could get 10 years of imprisonment.

By the way, that arrest highlighted one very important problem of the European Union: free visa-free travel through the European borders does not protect you against prosecution under laws of that jurisdiction where you now are.

The reason of acceptance of the law on genocide of Armenians in France is quite clear - there is very significant and influential Armenian diaspora in this country. Hardly possible that among motives of passing of the law very important place was borrowed by the care of feelings of the relatives - the genocide of Armenians happened in 1915 so if we’re talking about relatives than about distant ones.

But rather significant Turkish diaspora also lives in France and Turks have their own, mainly differing from Armenian, point of view on the events in Armenia in 1915. Now they are offered to accept the Armenian point of view or to become criminals. But that is not all - Turkey is quite rigid country and to express views different from official, especially in such painful question as Armenian, in Turkey is not recommended. Thus, having scrupulously executed the French law Turk finding himself in the native land can become a target of prosecution. Not specking that Turkish parliament can adopt “symmetrical” to the French law foreseeing punishment for the recognition of genocide of Armenians over Turks.

Let’s imagine what will occur if Turkey will enter at last EU? The French historians will immediately turn into criminals on the territory of Turkey and Turkish historians - on the contrary, in criminals on the territory of France. That is what can happen when the state undertakes to regulate those spheres of life where it, the state, should interfere.

All these, probably, came into the head of the president of France. And Jacque Chirac made sly apologizes before Turkey for the law passed by the French parliament. But he didn’t manage to do it "quiet" - as some unknown official of the Turkish government informed on Sunday, on Saturday Chirac called to the prime minister of Turkey Tajil Redgel Erdogan and declared that he’s sorry that the lower chamber of parliament of France passed the corresponding law.

Certainly, everybody threw themselves for explanations into Elissevsky Palace. But representative of administration of the president refused to comment the call to Erdogan. That is called European policy…
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