Penalization and Human Rights

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou

In Greece and Cyprus we have a tendency to criticize foreign states for not having supported our struggles. One of them is recognition of the genocide of the Pontiacs, which is a reality in Greece and Cyprus only, even though it has also taken place in some USA states. On the other hand, we systematically accuse the Greek state of not delivering a work compatible with efforts for recognition. Even in the case that all these arguments could stand, the actual problem does not lie here. The essence of recognition of the genocide of the Pontiacs is the correction process. It is in this one that recognition belongs to, as a first stage and not as the final result. If we, as Hellenism, actually believe that we have to promote the issue of recognition of the genocide of the Pontiacs in other states, then there is a solution. And its name is penalizing non recognition, which constitutes the second stage of the entire process. The question posed by penalization is simple. Do those promoting recognition want the next stage? Or do they simply promote it, because it remains a theoretical problem in the juristic framework? Recognition, albeit important, is symbolic and with no practical repercussions. Our struggle for the genocide of the Armenians proved that differentiation resides on the issue of penalization. Turkey’s deep state has no problem with recognition, if this is not followed by penalization, because it is aware of its merely symbolic character. The same holds for some promoting recognition officially, but not on grounds of respecting the genocide of the Pontiacs. For them, it is simply an argument serving their interests. Actual recognition is achieved institution-wise only by penalization. This is well-known by the Turkish protestors who tried to destroy the monument dedicated to the genocide of the Armenians in Lyon. For, there is no law hindering them to do it. Penalization is the only one which practically protects human rights; whilst recognition has been downgraded to a pre-electoral argument. The actual fighters for peace have to be based on penalization. It is only through this that we can substantially exert pressure on Turkey’s military regime. All the other arguments are politicking tricks. And as regards penalization we have nothing to impose on foreign states. Simply through our work in Greece and Cyprus we show the example of ethics and human rights. In our struggle for penalization of non recognition of the genocide of the Armenians, we recognized the true fighters swiftly. The same has to take place in Greece and Cyprus. It is only in this way that we may persuade our own as well as the foreigners, that the Pontiac issue is not merely a politicking trick and, what is more, neither a joke.

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