Infuriating Turks earlier this week, the French parliament narrowly passed a bill that criminalizes the denial of the 1915 genocide of Armenians in Turkey. The Guardian printed an interesting perspective on the issue from Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, who was put on trial after characters in her latest novel said Armenians were massacred in the First World War. The case against her was dismissed in September.
Shafak wrote that “recent developments in France cannot have a positive role in solving this deeply-rooted historical problem. If states try to dictate one version of history at the expense of all alternative readings, not only freedom of expression but also a genuine interest in history is stifled. No matter how benign the ultimate aim might be, such attempts only make matters worse. Turkey’s history with Armenians is a sensitive issue for all involved. This old wound can only be healed if more and more people, both Armenians and Turks, start to hear each other.”
Wise words from someone who has seen it from the other side.