Genocide Denial Is Stupidity, Not A Crime

In Turkey, it is a crime to claim that genocidal policies were carried under the Ottoman Empire against Armenians. In several European nations it is a crime to deny the existence of the Holocaust during World War II. In Rwanda, it is a crime to deny the Hutu government in the 1990s carried out a policy of genocide against Tutus. Peter Erlinger, an American professor from William Mitchell College, was asked to provide assistance to a Rwanda opposition leader, Victoire Ingabue who is charged with a criminal act because he denies there was genocide in Rwanda during the 1990s. The American was arrested and he is now charged with genocide denial. The issue is clear, whether it be the Holocaust or Rwanda or Darfur or Indonesia, people have a right to be ignorant. If we arrested all the ignorant people in the world, there would be no one left to run the planet.

To one who endured the genocide in Rwanda or whose parents and relatives were killed, it is painful hearing that individuals still do not believe the reality of this horror. There are occasions in life when one must bite a lip and allow stupidity to be expressed. One never knows when one’s idea’s will be judged to be a crime.

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