Wednesday, December 21, 2011

France: Watch What You Deny

In a move that trades off freedom of expression for consistency in the legislation of historical sensitivity, the French General Assembly will vote on a bill (let's call it Gayssot II) making it a crime to publicly deny the (or a) genocide of Armenians on the part of Turks in World War I.

Objection to this bill is coming from . . . Turkey! The concern expressed by Turkish leaders has everything to do with the reputation of Turks and Turkey and nothing to do with freedom of expression, never a hallmark of Turkish governance to begin with.

This development portends curious future events in French politics. What if, for example, some latter-day Gayssot gets it legislated that it is a crime to deny the postwar genocides against Germans that occurred in Poland and Czechoslovakia? Would fingering Germans as merciless butchers of innocent Jews run one afoul of one of that law's subclauses?

When in France, just keep your mouth shut.

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