3718) Law of Denial by Basak Ertür Jan 2019

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Law’s claim of mastery over past political violence is frequently undermined by reversals of that relationship of mastery, so that the violence of the law, and especially its symbolic violence, becomes easily incorporated into longues durées of political violence, rather than mastering them, settling them, or providing closure. Doing justice to the past, therefore, requires a political and theoretical attunement to the ways in which law, in purportedly attempting to address past political violence, inscribes itself into contemporary contexts of violence. While this may be limited to an analysis of how law is an effect of and affects the political, theoretically this attunement can be further refined by means of a critique of dynamics that are internal to law itself and that have to do with how law understands its own historicity, as well as its relationship to history and historiography.

This article aims to pursue such a critique, taking as its immediate focus the ECHR case of Perinçek v Switzerland, with occasional forays into debates around the criminalisation of Armenian genocide denialism in France. The Perinçek case concerned Switzerland’s criminalisation of the denial of the Armenian genocide, and concluded in 2015 after producing two judgments, first by the Second Chamber, and then by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR. However, although they both found for the applicant, the two benches had very different lines of reasoning, and notably different conceptions regarding the relationship between law and history. I proceed by tracing the shifting status of ‘history’ and ‘historians’ in these two judgments, and paying attention to the deferrals, disclaimers and ellipses that structure law’s relation to history.

This close reading offers the opportunity for a critical reappraisal of the relationship between law, denial and violence: I propose that the symbolic violence of the law operative in memory laws is a product of that which remains unresolved in law’s understanding of historicity (including its own), its self-understanding vis-à-vis the task of historiography, and its inability to respond to historical violence without inscribing itself into a history of violence, a process regarding which it remains in denial.

Keywords Armenian genocide · Denialism · Memory laws · Perinçek v Switzerland
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3717) Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh On Her Book The Missing Pages The Modern Life Of A Medieval Manuscript, From Genocide To Justice

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In a nutshell

In 2010, the world’s wealthiest art institution, the J. Paul Getty Museum, found itself confronted by a century-old genocide. The Armenian Church in Los Angeles was suing for the return of eight pages from the Zeytun Gospels, a manuscript illuminated by the greatest medieval Armenian artist, Toros Roslin. Protected for centuries in a remote church, the holy manuscript had followed the waves of displaced people killed during the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the confusion and brutality of the First World War, it was cleaved in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty in California.

The Missing Pages is the biography of the Zeytun Gospels, a medieval manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. The book follows in the manuscript’s footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom. The story of how the pages came to be missing unfolds the entire tragic history of the Armenian people in the 20th century.. . .

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3716) Book Review: The Armenian Events Of Adana In 1909: Cemal Paşa And Beyond

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“The Armenian Events Of Adana In 1909: Cemal Paşa And Beyond”.

Book Review by Ergun Kırlıkovalı , May 27, 2019


This book represents a meticulous exploration of the ethno-religious, geo-strategic, political, social and economic dimensions of a tragic event in history, which is still little understood [1] 1and much misrepresented [2]. Güçlü studied the archives of five countries (the Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States), mostly primary and secondary sources, before masterfully piecing together this massive historical puzzle. Armenian sources are notably missing, because, as Güçlü explains here and elsewhere, access to Armenian state, lay, and religious archives is still restricted to those who adhere to the official Armenian narrative [3]. Güçlü enlightens the readers by delivering a comprehensive before-during-after look at the region and the event. Readers will be enriched by reading this book to realize that biased and furious descriptions of Adana events of 1909 [4], that are popularly accepted without much fact-checking or critical thinking, may be unfair, inaccurate, even unethical.

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