Voltaire freedom of speech

A French court declared on Feb. 28th that the law criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide that passed the legislature is unconstitutional.

France's Senate passed the bill in January outlawing genocide denial of the Armenian Genocide as punishable by 45,000 € ($60,500) fine and up to 1 year in jail.

The French "legislature committed an unconstitutional harm to freedom of expression and speech," the constitutional court said in a statement on its website.

President Sarkozy's party introduced the law, and Turkey responded by ceasing all military and political relations with France. Sarkozy also opposes Turkey's acceptance into the European Union. Turkey's prime minister declared that he is trying to build up votes from Armenians before the election in May.

A few lawmakers said "This recognition has a clearly symbolic weight," the lawmakers said. "Only the denial of the Jewish genocide constitutes a crime today."

It seems that France's lawmakers are under the belief that public lawmakers are meant to decide history and debate various historical events and come up with a judgment. The reality is, this is the job of historians.

France, has had a long history of democratic ideals, yet it continues to violate the basic human right to free speech by introducing draconian laws that punish people for certain beliefs or mere opinions.

The trouble with punishing people for speech is how difficult it is to prove speech and how easily it is to misinterpret speech to punish the innocent.

As mentioned in my previous article, The Right to Dissent, is what makes democracy so important to humanity. It's why science has been so successful due to free debate allowed by everyone. Once-accepted ideas can be overturned overnight due to new evidence and this is not something people should fear.

We see France's legislature's publicity stunts for what they are, attempts at shoring up Armenian voters who feel so strongly about this issue and are a huge voting bloc in France.

The real irony here is that France is in trouble for its own genocides. And Turkey will simply follow their example and outlaw free speech about French people denying the Algerian genocide, and France's role in the Rwandan genocide and many other events where the French empire has caused suffering in the world.