Legislating history

Turkish author Elif Shafak was recently put on trial for “denigrating Turkishness” by mentioning in her books the Armenian genocide by Ottoman Turks in 1915. She was quickly acquitted. It’s the same crime fellow Turkish writer and new Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk was accused of (charges were dropped earlier this year), for the same reason. Now France has passed a law making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime. In the Guardian, Shafak discusses why legislating speech is a bad idea, bad for Armenians, bad for Turks, and bad for history. Writing in Lebanon’s Daily Star, Howard Eissenstat seconds the opinion.


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