Monday, February 05, 2007

Legislating for history

In the EU it is illegal to deny a holocaust, and in Turkey it is illegal to accept a holocaust. The 2 crimes in question are of course different, but the nature of the laws is exactly the same. Anyone that questions the nature of the Jewish holocaust during WW2 is anti-semitic, and anyone that questions the existance of a systematic policy of extermination of Armenians by Turks is anti-Turkish. These are governments that are telling people what version of history they must believe.
Two recent events highlight the absurdity of these laws. Firstly Bruno Gollnisch was fined 55,000 euros because he 'disputed a crime against humanity'. In my eyes he didnt even dispute a crime he merely said it should be open to discussion:
"Historians have the right to discuss the number of deaths and the way that they died. Fifty years after the facts we can discuss the real number of deaths."
"The existence of the gas chambers is for historians to discuss."
So not only is it illegal to question the official version, its now illegal to question whether the official version can be questioned.
In Turkey it is also against the law to question the official version of events. But in this case the official version is that the Armenian genocide never happened. Hrant Dink was harrassed by the Turkish police and judiciary on charges of 'insulting Turkishness' before being shot dead in broad daylight on a busy street. Pictures emerged on Saturday of police posing with the murderer in front of a Turkish flag.
The big crime against humanity today is that people are being told what they must believe, and what they must not believe. In either case the motive seems to the same. The truth needs no protecting, which leads me to believe that its not the truth that they are defending.


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