The French Armenian Vote – A Big Mistake

The French government vote on the Armenian genocide has caused feathers to be seriously ruffled in Ankara, but I fear that is not the end of the affair. A major row between France and Turkey erupted when it was first known that the vote would take place, and now the motion has been approved it looks like getting worse. Ambassadors have been withdrawn and trade sanctions are also being initiated by Ankara.

French Senate

The law that has been passed states that it is unlawful to deny the genocide of Armenian civilians took place, and carries a prison sentence of one year and €45,000 fine. It concerns events that took place in Turkey, which at the time was the Ottoman Empire.

It is far too complicated to go into here, but suffice it to say that without a doubt atrocities were committed on both sides during the major upheaval in the region which spanned the years 1915 to 1918, and it is not for me to say what is and what is not true here, I leave that up to the historians.

Armenia - Eastern Turkey

The problems actually began in the late 1840’s when Christians living within the Muslim Ottoman Empire were persecuted for their faith. Muslims were by far the greater majority and many attempts were mad to drive the Christians out. Much as we see today in countries like Nigeria and Indonesia among others.

Armenian Fighters

Between 1840 and 1915 various attempts were made to assert the Christian position in the empire which led to many massacres on both sides. Among others, the Armenians were of various Christian denominations, and during the Russo/Turkish war of 1877 to 1878 many fought for the Russians in the Balkans and the Caucasus against the Turks. It was however, not until April 1915 that the Ottoman government ordered the arrest, imprisonment, and eventual execution of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in the city of Van that the real purge began.

There can be little doubt that the stories of mass deportation and murder are not without foundation, just as the forced death march of Armenians to Syria also took place, but that is not the point of this post.

Expulsion of Armenians

Considering the fact that all this took place almost one hundred years ago I find the attitude of the French Government extremely distasteful. We are now in the 21st century, and what good does it do to rake up past atrocities and make them headline news once again? Well, according to some there is a purpose to this whole fiasco, Sarkozy wants to be re-elected as President! Many people seem to think that the aim of the French Government is to win the votes of the some 500,000 Armenians living in France.

To be honest, knowing modern politicians as I do, this does not seem too far fetched. Lets face it, Tony Blair thought it a good idea to throw open Britain’s doors to anyone who wanted to ‘live the good life’, and gave away shovel-fulls of money to them when they arrived just to get their vote. And it worked!

Erdogan - A Very Angry Man

If politicians and governments start down this road we will end up with the entire world in chaos, and everyone at each others throats. Why not hire some historians to do some digging so we can start on the British, the Spanish, the Italians, the Chinese or Japanese, the Hungarians or even the Americans? I’m sure just about every country has skeletons in the cupboard they don’t want airing and if we want to dig deep enough, or go back far enough, we can find some dirt on just about everyone on  the planet!

Its like Argentina wanting back the Falklands or Spain wanting Gibraltar because “they were ours three hundred years ago!!!” Politicians, like everyone else should treat history for what it is, history! Leave it to the dusty historians pouring over their dusty books in dark corners of the library, for this kind of spectacle does no-one any good, even today’s Armenians.

Roy.

4 Responses to “The French Armenian Vote – A Big Mistake”

  1. that’s simply a very naive view of things hun. And yous quotations simply add insult to injury. the very fact that the word genocide was coined because of the atrocities the Armenians were forced to suffer makes it serious enough to be named so today. There are covert political moves being made and the vote had nothing to do with garnering support, or at least very little. There are more Turks in France than Armenians.

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    • Hi Tamar,
      Thanks for your comment, and I take your point about the quotations which have been removed. On the other hand though, it is not my wish to pass judgement, confirm or deny the genocide or whatever took place as I stated, and so far as the political comments were concerned, I have only repeated what other people are saying. I do not say it is true, but like I said, it would not surprise me. It is a fact that many countries have already recognized the genocide, in fact France did so in I believe 2002, but this vote is going way over the top in my opinion. If they already recognized it, why was such a law necessary? You do make a good point however in that there are more Turks in France than Armenians, so I wonder what that will do to Sarkozy’s chances. It will be interesting to find out. The saying:”People in glass houses…” comes to mind.

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      • I agree. And I have disagreed with the bill from the beginning. However, since there was no way of stopping it, I looked to other matters. It got people like you and countless others to read about it and write about it. It also got me thinking about something else and researching. I have a blog dedicated to this, the title literally being “What have we gained?” We gained equality in the eyes of the law. For, none are allowed to deny the holocaust of the Jews. None can dare say it was not a massacre of an entire race. The same way, given the primary evidence, the Armenian Genocide cannot be denied now. I don’t feign to understand politics, nor am I naive enough to believe my people mean anything to the world. We are not cheap labour for Western factories, we are not a oil fountain, we own no nuclear power or sea access required for the world’s trade. We are a small country, so air travel is no problem either. We’re rather insignificant. That is the only reason I smile at the bill right now. Freedoms are an illusion; governments already control our every move and thought. Well governments control media, and media controls access to information vital to the nourishment of the mind. In the West, no one knows or cares about the Middle East or the Far East. The information that filters through incites fear against the unknown. We would be kidding ourselves if we trusted that our governments give us freedom of anything. They give us enough to create the maya, the illusion. They then happily conduct their affairs, ones unbeknownst to the people who naively accept what is given without question. The bill in itself might violate a “law”, but that law was never in place as it is. Right now, it simply equalizes the lack of freedom of speech, removing another obstacle to discrimination.

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      • Nice to have you back Tamar. I can certainly agree with your opinion up to a point, and I can see that perhaps ‘official’ recognition may be desireable for the Armenian people, but when all is said and done, does it really change anything? It is difficult for anyone who is not Aremenian to understand the significance of this vote, because the world already accepts that the genocide took place. Apart from a fleeting wave of emotion, are the Armenian people any better off now that it is illegal to deny the genocide in France? My concern is that this vote is stirring up more hatred and bad feeling in a world that has more than enough of both. Nations need to come together if we as a race are to progress. If we are to move forward, we can better leave history in the past.
        Best Regards,
        Roy.

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