Long-delayed, disputed Armenian memorial unveiled in Geneva

    A memorial series of street lamps commemorating the 1915-1917 Armenian genocide has been officially unveiled in Geneva. Turkish groups said that the initiative is a mistake. “Streetlights of memory” was unveiled on Friday in the presence of various members of the Armenian community, including current Armenian ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour, and the artist behind the work Mélik Ohanian. No representative of the federal administration attended, a fact that could be ascribed to the ongoing diplomatic tensions around the 1915-1917 genocide, for which Turkey continues to deny...

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    Turkish obstruction keeps Geneva’s Armenian genocide memorial in public eye
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The irony is that Turkey, by blocking for years the construction of a memorial in Geneva to the Armenian genocide, has made this monument more alive than if it had been built, if only because of the passions it arouses.  Austrian writer and philosopher Robert Musil talked in one of his works about the paradox of building monuments. Although they are erected in the public space to be seen, they tend to disappear from conscious view and condemned to the ocean of forgetfulness. “Nothing in the world is less visible than monuments,” he wrote. “There is no doubt they are erected to be seen and...

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    Genocide denial and the European Court
    Pierre Hazan, Head of Project, associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The murderous January attack on Charlie-Hebdo staff has revived an old question: what limits should be put on freedom of expression? How far can words that are blasphemous or deny genocide be tolerated? This already thorny issue has been further complicated by the rise of extremist Jihadism. And the European Court of Human Rights keeps altering tack.  Some 25 years before the attack on Charlie-Hebdo, the Western world was deeply shocked in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie after he published The Satanic Verses, considered blasphemous. This...

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