Public Radio, Armenia
Jan 4 2012

Beginning in 1915 the Armenians were the victims of a methodic attempt
at annihilation, French philosopher writes

04.01.2012 16:20

`The law whose purpose is to penalize negationist revisionism, voted
before Christmas by the French parliament, does not propose to write
history in the place of historians. And this for the simple reason
that this history has been told and written, well written, for a long
time,' French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri LÚvy writes in an
article published in The Huffington Post.

`This we have always known: that, beginning in 1915, the Armenians
were the victims of a methodic attempt at annihilation,' the author
writes. `In other words, this law has nothing to do with the will to
establish a truth of state. No representative of the French National
Assembly who voted for it saw himself as a substitute for historians
or their work. Together, they only intended to recall this simple
right, that of each of us not to be publicly attacked - and its
corollary, the right to demand reparations for this particularly
outrageous offense which is the insult to the memory of the dead. It
is a question of law, not one of history.'

`Presenting this law as one that denies liberty, one likely to hamper
the work of historians is another strange argument that makes one
wonder. It is the negationist revisionists who, up until now, have
hampered the work of historians. It is their mad ideas, their
hare-brained concepts, their twisting of facts, their terrifying and
breathtaking lies that shake the earth upon which, in principle, a
science should be built. And in punishing them, making their task more
complicated, alerting the public that it is dealing not with scholars
but with those who would enflame minds, that the law protects and
shelters history. Is there one historian who has been prevented from
working on the Shoah by the Gayssot law punishing denial of the
Holocaust? Is there one author who, in good conscience, can claim that
it has limited his freedom to do research and to raise questions? And
isn't it clear that the only ones this law has seriously hindered are
the Faurissons, the Irvings, and the other Le Pens? Well, the same
applies to the genocide of the Armenians. This law, when the Senate
will have ratified it, will be a stroke of fortune for historians, who
can finally work in peace. Unless... Yes, unless those who oppose the
law express this other, cloudier reservation: that it would be a bit
premature to come to a conclusion, precisely and for nearly a century,
of "genocide,' the author further writes.

`I would add that it's time to stop mixing everything up and drowning
the Armenian tragedy in the ritualized blahblahblah assailing the
"memorial laws". For this law is not a memorial law. It is not one of
those dangerous power plays capable of laying the path for dozens if
not hundreds of absurd or blackguardly rules, codifying what one has
the right to say about the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre, the
meaning of colonization, slavery, the Civil War, the misdemeanor of
blasphemy and heaven knows what else. It is a law concerning a
genocide -- which is not the same. It is a law sanctioning those who,
in denying it, intensify and perpetuate the genocidal act - which is
something else entirely. There are not, thank God, hundreds of
genocides, or even dozens. There are three. Four, if we add the
Cambodians to the Armenians, the Jews, and the Rwandans. And to place
these three or four genocides on the same level as all the rest, to
make their penalization the antechamber of a political correctness
that authorizes a stream of useless or perverse laws on the disputed
aspects of our national memory, to say, "Watch it! You're opening a
Pandora's box from which everything and anything can pop out !" is
another imbecility, exacerbated by another infamy and sealed with a
dishonesty that is, really, grotesque.'

`Let us confront this specious line of argument with the wisdom of
national representation. And may the senators complete the process by
refusing to be intimidated by this little band of historians,'
Bernard-Henri LÚvy concludes.