A crumpled rose-leaf or the price of Armenian accent in “Turkish freedom of expression”

A crumpled rose-leaf or the price of Armenian accent in “Turkish freedom of expression”

Turkey slams criminalization of genocide denial as violation of freedom of speech but throws to jail people who dare speak of Armenian Genocide.

On December 22, 2011, French National Assembly passed a bill criminalizing public denial of the Armenian Genocide. If passed and signed into law by the Senate, the bill would impose a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies this crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Empire. On this day, almost all Armenians celebrated a minor national victory. Almost all…

PanARMENIAN.Net - Surprisingly, there are Armenians who disliked the decision of the lower house of French parliament. These are Armenians, who look upon things from Turkish standpoint. These are Armenians, who prefer conveniences and personal gain to the interests of the state and national dignity.

But this is not the whole trouble. Some people, who apparently want to seem extraordinary, decided to publicly slam the French National Assembly, President Nicolas Sarkozy and the bill itself. So, along with exclamations and appraisals like “Vive la France” that flooded Facebook and other social networks, there were posts that read: “You may accuse me of treason but I don’t like this bill. People must have freedom of expression.”

Probably, young people of transitional age just follow pseudo-theories and become an easy target for ill-wishers. But what guides adults, who make statements going contrary to the interests of the entire Armenian nation? Fear? A wish to be extravagant? Money laundering?

What should be the punishment for them? Maybe, the most severe, as internal enemy is much more dangerous than external one. This would make others think before engaging in the “oldest profession”, selling not only themselves but the motherland, too.

The first to voice opposition to the French bill were the Armenians of Turkey. Even before the adoption of the bill, members of the Armenian community of Turkey said that similar motion would “damage relations between the two peoples who have the same roots.” They also spoke about inadmissibility of passage of a draft law which is aimed to garner votes of French Armenians in the forthcoming presidential election. Everything may seem clear at the first glance. But actually… these people are guided by the fear or unwillingness to ‘exchange poor peace for good war’. They were born and grew up in a country where about 1.5 million of their compatriots were slaughtered nearly 100 years ago. They live in Turkey where those who “insult Turkishness” face a prison sentence under the notorious article 301. They live in Turkey, where an underage Ogun Samast can kill for dissent. They live in Turkey and cannot afford the luxury of opposing to the ruling regime. So, we can’t justify them but we can understand.

But what about Armenian citizens, who 'sing in unison' with the Turkish leadership? Let’s take a representative of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Mikael Danielyan, who without shame described the Genocide bill as “violation of freedom of expression”. It seems evident that a man, who says this today, can deny the fact of Genocide tomorrow. By the way, the Armenian Criminal Code envisages a 4-year sentence and fine for denial or justification of genocide.

The French bill is not the only topic for such people. Some Armenian “human rights activists” are eager to voice opinion on a theme that can be ‘easily sold.’ Recently, head of the Vanadzor Office of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Arthur Sakunts said that Armenia violates the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (or CFE Treaty) provisions by buying weapons. He was not at all confused by the fact that he pours oil on the flames of Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian propaganda. He was not even confused by the fact that no international organization ever said that Armenia breached CFE norms.

Next comes Georgy Vanyan, the chairman of South Caucasus Integration: Alternative Start NGO, who periodically decides to organize days of nonexistent Azerbaijani culture in Armenia, which, according to him, “occupied Azeri lands and committed Khojalu genocide” and therefore should “immediately give Karabakh back to Azerbaijan.” It’s not hard to guess who rushes to rescue Vanyan from public indignation. Of course, it’s the Vanadzor Office of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, personally Arthur Sakunts. Whatever, professional solidarity works even in case with the oldest profession.

A question arouses. Why do such people live on Armenian soil? Maybe Armenia’s Criminal Code which stipulates for 10-15 years of imprisonment (sometimes with confiscation of property) is too humane and should be toughened up to life sentence for treason.

It’s noteworthy that recently a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter asked the local human rights activists, including the above mentioned Arthur Sakunts whether he thinks that the Armenian Criminal Code is too mild and treason should be punished more severely. Sakunts preferred not to answer.

People say that one of the reasons for anti-Armenian activity is the wish to grab a grant. Certainly, there are people who spend the money for worthy deeds and they deserve the highest praise. However, some NGOs are formed just ‘to get hooked’ on the grant funding. In this case, the field of activity is not important at all – from defense of the rights of South American rabbits to conduction of seminars on creation of sects. The real purpose of these grants and how the money is spent remain unclear, but the proverb “he who pays the piper calls the tune” fits here perfectly.

Pluralism, freedom of speech and democratic principles are undoubtedly vital for any country. Unfortunately, Armenia cannot claim the title of a ‘democracy pillar’ but the loss of patriotism can result in loss of everything. People capable of treason should be called to account.

Marina Ananikyan / PanARMENIAN News
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