Genocides, Recognition & Denial

Prosecution shouldn’t be linked just to denial of genocides but also to distorting any historical fact. The bill adopted by The French parliament making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of the Turks should be a starting point to criminalise anyone falsifying facts for ideological reasons or giving unsound justifications in defence of any genocide perpetrators.

But France isn’t the only one to have a firm stand on such an issue. Austria jailed British historian David Irving who said that he did not believe Hitler led a campaign to exterminate Jews. If denying the holocaust is considered as crime in many countries, the same should be applied to any form of genocide, especially those that have taken place in the last decades of the 20th century as in Rwanda where more than 200 thousand people were massively killed during the civil war.

We don’t have to look at the distant past to have a glimpse of the extent of atrocities perpetrated by the strong against the weak. In Sudan, there are documented cases of massive killings in Darfur estimated at 200,000. Yet the international community is still struggling to find the logistic and the diplomatic way to put an end to the human suffering in a region potentially rich but made the poorest because of the ongoing tensions between the different rivals.

Past genocides should be set an example to avoid future ones. Concerning the holocaust, there were cases of trial, imprisonment and execution of those who were behind it. There were those in their 80’s who were identified and put on trial for their involvement in the holocaust. But concerning the Armenians genocide, it is up to now dealt with as a historical fact. None of those involved in it has been brought to trial. Denying facts of such magnitude is harmful to the victims and their descendents. It makes light of their suffering. If they can’t have a permanent memorial out of respect for them, they should be referred to from a real point of view. History isn’t poetry. Expressions should be crystal clear to let everyone have a real view of what is inside. What the descendents or relatives of the victims of any sort of genocide need is recognition of painful facts, moral and material support for a full restoration of dignity.

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