It would be wrong to say that you can’t learn anything from music or video games or any sort of pop culture. Indeed it was through the music of System Of A Down that I was first introduced to the Armenian genocide. The song P.L.U.C.K, standing for politically lying, unholy, cowardly killers, from their self-titled album was dedicated “…to the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Turkish Government in 1915.” This means something to the band as the members all have Armenian ancestry and the genocide of their people is something that is still denied by the Turkish government to this very day. Not everyone denies the labelling of the atrocity as a genocide, at least 20 countries have formally recognised it as a genocide, and France has now gone so far as to make it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide.
Naturally Turkey is objecting to this law claiming that “No historian, no politician can see genocide in our history. Those who do want to see genocide should turn around and look at their own dirty and bloody history.” The first sentence there is obviously false as many politicians, historians, countries and organisations have declared that they do see genocide in Turkey’s history. The second sentence is actually a distraction as whether France, or any other country, has a bloody history or not has no bearing on what transpired in Turkey. Despite the pathetic attempts to turn attention on France and deny history I find myself partially on Turkey’s side. I do not agree with their position on the genocide but I side with them in disagreeing with France’s proposed law.
The most fundamental freedom is that of free speech, something which the French bill will criminalise. You can not punish someone for expressing a view, regardless of whether you think that view is justified or not. There would be an exception, of course, in the case of something like slander but a country cannot force someone to hold a certain view. Yes, we must follow where the evidence points but you cannot criminalise ignorance or remove the right for people to express that ignorance. As long as people have been taught how to think then should be able to look at the evidence and conclude who has the most compelling case, but I cannot support a proposal that demands that people agree or face punishment.