In a naked attempt to appeal to Metropolitan France's million voters of Armenian descent, Sarkozy is introducing a law making it illegal to deny the Armenian 'genocide'. As a result, Turkey is enraged and history is distorted. One man's genocide is another man's pogrom or massacre or internecion. It's as if Ed Balls proposed making it a crime in the UK to deny that the potato famine was a deliberate attempt at destroying the Irish. And if that, then why not the Indian famine of 1897 - 1900, when millions died as we did nothing? Of course man alone is rarely solely responsible for the scale of the greatest depridations. El Nino caused the conditions for the Indian famine, an oomycete blighted Ireland's potatoes, and Typhus, Cholera and Diptheria always claimed more victims of displacement than murder and rapine. But scholarship, balance and academic honesty have little place in the minds of politicians, crude creatures of deception and trickery that they are.
Of course our own cadre of school leavers and graduates will be unable to take part in this debate, history teaching in England for the last decade or so having been restricted to the Romans, Slavery and the Third Reich. If It's not Hitler, Hannibal or the Hottentots they won't have heard of it. But as the current spat between France and Turkey shows, it's desperately important to understand your history. Our children should be given the opportunity to understand ours.