Google Ad

Eurosceptic Bloggers

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Who Writes History

History is always a contentious subject. For any one event, there will be many versions of the truth, from many perspectives. Added to that is the abuse of history to support whatever a group or a political leader wants it to show. Therefore for anyone to claim a monopoly on a particular piece of history is usually a case of someone with an ulterior motive. As the subject of Turkey’s EU accession has come closer, so the issue of the Armenian Question has come to the fore. Many are using the issue as a stick to beat Turkey’s chances with, whilst other are just happy for the opportunity of a cause they believe in, to see more publicity. The latest in a line of politicians happy to have an excuse is Francois Bayrou, The leader of the French centre-right UDF party. His aim:
Present at the demonstrations in Yerevan on Sunday, he announced the submission of a resolution in the European Parliament to recognise the term "Armenian genocide" as a precondition for accepting Turkey into the EU.
Now I am not going to claim that no genocide took place, but rather that the case has not been proven, largely because the intent has not been shown. The official definition of genocide is as follows:
Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide: 1) The mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such", and 2) The physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e. A crime must include both elements to be called "genocide."
The fact that large numbers of people died is beyond dispute, but proof of The Mental Element, is currently not beyond reasonable doubt, the intent to destroy being unclear. Large numbers of people were forcibly displaced, the official Turkish number being about 900.000 people. This compares with claims of 1.3 million deaths by Armenian Groups. The Turkish version is that the deaths were caused largely by negligence rather than being exterminations. They also claim that many were killed in conflict, having sided with the Russians in the First World War. Turkey claims that the book The Armenian Atrocities: The Murder of a Nation, by Arnold J. Toynbee, upon which the claims of genocide having largely based, was a biased piece of propaganda. That Toynbee was an intelligence agent during a war in which The Ottoman Empire was the enemy is a fact. Whether or not that altered the content of the book is a matter for discussion. Proper research into the issue, something that Turkey has blocked might show the Armenians claims to be right or might support Turkey’s view of events. This is Turkey’s biggest guilt in this process. My contention is less over the outcome than the process. That such a contentious issue is capable of being decided by a vote of worthless failed politicians from all over Europe, is what worries me most about this whole issue. It goes right to the heart of freedom of speech and belief. It also illustrates the contempt that politicians show to the truth. If a bunch of people voted somewhere that the Holocaust didn’t happen, would it no longer be true? Likewise would a vote in the European Parliament really be able to decide the truth in this case? To show its goodwill, Turkey needs to take this issue off the list of subjects not to be discussed. Recent newspaper articles show a softening of the taboo, though legal obstacles remain to a totally free discussion. Forcing Turkey to accept a particular version of the Truth, decided by parliamentary vote, is another thing altogether.

1 comment:

Swake said...

In the same time well-bred people who attend high schools or even universities find it problematic sometimes to complete a difficult assignment on a suggested subject. For those students who want to become sophisticated ones, this writing company proposes a cheap assistance or essay writing help from this company here. We make well-organized materials for anyone who needs an outstanding support on their own endeavors.