France and the Denial of (Some) Genocides

by Denis Boyles

Last night, the French senate passed a bill that would make illegal the denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide, which cost a million Armenians their lives. The Turks, who are the perps, flipped out. Here’s CNN’s coverage.

A few years ago, a handful of deputies tried to pass a bill recognizing the fact of the Vendéen genocide (1793-96), in which an army of  republican revolutionaries inspired by secularism killed as many as 400,000 peasants inspired by faith. That particular genocide is denied by most left-wing academics, who dismiss it as kind of a counter-revolutionary fracas, and it is rarely mentioned in state schools (well, schools outside the Vendée, a pleasant agricultural départment south of the Loire). It also plays into class perceptions of simple country folk and their annoying religious habits. Anyway, the bill was soundly defeated and the sponsors were condemned for trying to politicize history. Three years later, in 2010, Sarkozy was apologizing to the Rwandan people for France’s role in the genocide there. No denying that.