October 7, 2011

Loathed pandering and the appropriation of the legacy of victims of genocide

    Friday, October 07, 2011   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
The horrors of war and war crimes cannot be diminished by engaging in semantics especially when it comes to state sanctioned mass killings. It is criminal, it is genocidal, and states that engaged in such acts must be held to account. It is not a revenge mentality and it should not be a stand based on political calculations either. The only way of telling the world that, from now moving forward, there will be no place in the world for mass murderers and war criminals is to

take responsibility for the acts that took place in the past.

The best assurance of preventing future genocides is for the powerful nations, not just the weak ones, to be held accountable. With that said, I would like to see Turkey take responsibility for the lives lost when Armenia was under its control. It does not matter how many Turks died in comparison to Armenians. There is no logical or moral justification for mass murder. A civilian life lost unjustly is a crime be it a Turkish life or an Armenian life. If the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is indeed interested in addressing the question of war crimes and genocide, he should start with his country's legacy before asking Turkey or any other country to take responsibility for its past indiscretions.

While on a visit to Armenia, Sarkozy called on Turkey (Friday, Octobber 7, 2011) to recognize the First World War-era massacres of Armenians as genocide. He declared that “from 1915 to 2011, it seems to be enough (time) for reflection" about the 1.5 million people killed during the First World War under the Ottoman Empire. I hope that Sarkozy is not suggesting that he needs more time to take responsibility for killing 1.5 million Algerians in the 1950s. France did not torture and kill just Algerians, it had applied the same brutality against any African community that resisted its colonial occupation. The French republic should start there.

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* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. He is the author of the book, Contesting Justice. Opinions expressed herein are the author’s, speaking as a citizen on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

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