Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Name is Read

Internationally acclaimed author of, amongst others, the novel My Name Is Red, Orhan Pamuk of Turkey has been charged by the Turkish government with their version of treason. For what? For reminding Turks of their injustices against two significant minorities: the Armenians (remember that little ol' genocide thing from 1915?) and the Kurds. Mr Pamuk was charged months ago, but today the Turkish government, all the while being watched like a hawk by European Union observers who are looking for any reason to decline its EU membership, has decided to drop one of the two charges associated with Mr Pamuk's trips down memory lane: the charge against having insulted the Turkish armed forces. Nonetheless, the no doubt more serious charge of insulting "Turkishness" (a concept whose authorities dwell everywhere from southern Hungary to Western China) persists. "One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares talk about it," Pamuk said in a magazine interview earlier this year -- ushering in the very charge he's dealing with now. Perhaps Turkey's desperation to avoid blemishes on its application for the EU will save Mr Pamuk, but what will save Turkey from the growing aggregate of voices demanding recognition, acceptance and due justice for its crimes against humanity?