Good Legislation, Bad Legislation

Speaking on the occasion of the passing of a bill that would make it a crime to deny the Armenian Holocaust in France, Dominique de Villepin insisted that it is “not a good thing to legislate on issues of history and of memory.” Paranthetically, isn’t the Jewish Holocaust also an issue of history and memory?

It is not a good thing to legislate. Period.

Discuss the bill here if you would like (incidentally, I was reading the BBC have your say section on this topic, and came across a number of comments threatening a boycott of French goods. Maybe those people, who talk as if they are the representatives of a Freedom of Speech Club in Turkey, should also boycott their own country’s goods. Be the change you want to see. Or so said a certain wise man). Or we can move on to a discussion of richer topics, such as some of the (racist) mottos raised during the Armenian demonstration against the Turkish contribution to UNIFIL in Lebanon, yesterday. Like that Victor Hugo quote: “The Turks came this way. Everything is ruin and mourning.”

Sorry to disappoint.

Off to check up on Dan today. Will update and reply to comments on Saturday.


9 responses to “Good Legislation, Bad Legislation

  1. Dear Anar,

    I’m no Marxist…but I really like your blog- which I came across while reading Moussa Bachir’s weekly roundup.

    The editor of the Ur-Shalim blog chose to highlight the following paragraph:

    “This is your Lebanon of web filters and thought control… of Saudi condemnation for HezbAllah’s “adventurism” and American shipping of “smart bombs” to strengthen democracy and freedom-loving forces led by Mr. Fuad Crocodile Tears Siniora and Ahmad Tea Serving Fatfat (interim interior minister). By the way, Ahmad Fatfat has a personal website, and has a section dedicated to “accomplishments”, and another to “political projects and principles“. Principles and accomplishments: Such as the killing of 11-year-old kids and serving tea to the Israeli occupiers.”

    Frankly, I hadn’t read something as profound since the days of the two Thomases- the English martyr and the “apocryphal” evangelist of Nag Hammadi!


  2. Man,
    I just read your profile
    “Utopia by Thomas More;[…]; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick;
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky”
    I mean like Jeez! These are 3 of my 5 personal favorites
    I think you should read McLuhan’s “Mechanical Bride” and the heretical Gospel of Jude-Thomas!

  3. Legislating speech – whether it’s “anti Turkish” “Armenian genocide denial” “holocaust denial” or flag burning would be fairly silly if it didn’t end up putting actual people in jail.

    What ever happend to “sticks and stones …”

  4. Hey Dr Victorino de la Vega!

    Actually I am not a Marxist either, and have entered into a heated debate with more than one Marxist, so you’re not alone. 😛

    I had come across your blog a while back. I must admit, you do have a strange (in a good way) sense of humour. 😀

    Oh so you are a fan of More and Dick & Dostoevsky. Awesome. You know, these days it’s so hard to find people who are into these things and like to discuss them.

    Marshall McLuhan, eh? I have read a few of his theoretical works; very eloquent.

    I will check out your suggestions. Thanks!

  5. Is that Hugo quote from The Occidentals? I’ve seen it translated a bit differently. There’s a few quotes from Les Miserables that are somewhat complimentary towards the Turks. Do you know if he expressed an personal opinions in his personal writings. It’s harder to determine personal attitudes from novels and poetry. It’s interesting. I can’t remember hearing or reading anything in either direction, but certainly the predominant “enlightened” European attitude of the time saw the Ottoman/Turkish empire as great despots. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hugo held similar views. He was pretty accurate on the United States of Europe, that’s for sure.

  6. It’s from Les Orientales… How has it been translated? Anyway, the placards read as such, so I’m taking issue w/ that in particular, and if it’s a mistranslation then thanks for the correction.

    Well I have not personally read his works but this quote of his is notorious. Could be mistranslation for all we know, though I wouldn’t rule out that he was a racist; many of his contemporaries were. It was the fashionable thing, I suppose.

  7. I’m oppose laws against free speech. I think bad opinions can be dealt with, without the state and its legal system.

  8. Welcome to the age of denial. Let us all join. Let us deny that Israel has a right to exist. Let us deny that any Holocaust existed. Let us deny that the Middle East has any violence. Let us deny an earthquake hit Hawaii. Let us deny global warming exists. Let us deny a law exists forbiding us to deny. Let us deny, deny, deny.

    I personally wish to deny I wrote this post.

  9. I’ll try to find the translation I recall. It wasn’t massively different, but I remember there being a slightly different sense to it, but it was a good long while ago.

    I don’t doubt that Hugo held some of the prevailing anti-Turkish/Ottoman attitudes of the time, but the quotations in Les Miserables, (again going by pretty old memory here, so I really should go check this) if I remember right, showed at least an strong awareness of the other side of the question, if not an actual sympathy for the prejudices/misconceptions against “the Turks” and Islam. Where Hugo himself fell, I don’t know. When I get a minutes I’ll see what I can come up with.

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