The Swedish parliament voted a few days ago that the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago was genocide. It followed a decision by a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives that approved a nonbinding measure condemning the 1915 killings.
Why should today’s politicians vote on what happened in another part of the world almost a hundred years ago? What purpose does it serve? How can todays politicians believe they are able to judge historic events in another part of the world and even vote on what took place? What good does it do? Do they really think they are able to objectively judge something that happened a century ago? Members of parliament were not elected to vote on what happened in other parts of the world throughout history but to steer the country they serve, and the world, towards a prosperous future.
Seems that the vote took place because the opposition in Sweden wanted to cater to groups of immigrants to get their votes in the autumn elections. However, it still makes no sense since the leader of the opposition at the same time declares her support for Turkey joining the European Union. Considering the amount of immigrants in Sweden from Iraq and the Balkans presumably the next step will be parliament voting on events that took place in those parts of the world a hundred years ago? What do contemporary Swedish politicians know about that? How can that kind of opportunism be justified? Isn’t there a limit to how far politicians go to get more votes? Historic events in other parts of the world are not part of contemporary Swedish politics.
Genocide is horrendous. But numerous atrocities have been committed throughout history all over the world, unfortunately. The Vikings were no saints, for instance.
Today’s politicians are neither capable of voting on historic events nor is it their job to do so.
What relevance has the 1915 killings to politics in Sweden and the US today? What has already happened can not be changed the only things that politicians can influence is what happens from now on. And it is on such issues that today’s politicians are elected to vote.
Few ,if any, of the current population of Turkey were born when the killings took place, they didn’t commit those atrocities and can not be expected to take responsibility for what Ottoman Turks did a century ago. I certainly don’t want to take the blame for what happened before I was born, for instance neutral Sweden turning a blind eye to the Nazis during the second world war. How would Sweden feel if the Turkish parliament voted on condemning something that happened in Sweden a hundred years ago?
The only thing the votes have achieved is tension with Turkey. In fact so bad Swedish companies have had contracts and business meetings in Turkey cancelled. And for what? Getting a few more votes for the left wing opposition. How does it serve Sweden and the Swedes that Swedish companies lose money which could have a detrimental affect on creating new jobs? Even the Swedish government is against the vote and Prime Minster Reinfeldt made a call to that affect to Turkish PM Erdogan. That the foreign ministers of Sweden and Turkey held a joint press conference condemning the vote is good. Hopefully the fact that the Swedish government stands up and condemns such a vote will put an end to politicising history? If not, we will have to start electing historians for parliament.
photo: Mehrad HM – flickr