A Question of Neutrality
In his newsletter #154, available through subscription, Yves Daoudal relates the events at a high school in Saint-Dié, department of the Vosges, in Lorraine, eastern France. It concerns a cancellation by the Guillaume Budé Association, a scholastic society devoted to ancient history and languages, of a conference on the Armenian genocide. The Association issued this communiqué:
"We must cancel the January 20 conference by Madame Paule Gehay on the Armenian genocide. The principal has, in fact, determined that the current situation was not favorable for us to be able to discuss calmly this topic, and that the school must remain neutral. The next conference has been scheduled for Friday March 2 at 5:30 p.m.: 'Lenin, revolutionary or putschist?' by Jean-Jacques Marie, historian, and author of a biography of Lenin."
Yves Daoudal comments:
I fail to see how speaking about the Armenian genocide violates the neutrality of the school. It is an historic event, even officially recognized by the French Republic. To speak in a school of the Republic about an event recognized by the Republic (and the denial of which will soon be a punishable offense…) cannot contravene the republican neutrality of the school…
If I understand correctly, the mention of the Armenian genocide leads one to designate the guilty and the victims, and that the guilty are Muslims and the victims are Christians. And that IS contrary to "neutrality". It is even contrary to laïcité…
On the other hand, there is no problem with the next conference. The one by Jean-Jacques Marie on Lenin.
Jean-Jacques Marie has been a Trotskyist militant for… 50 years. He was a member of the OCI (Internationalist Communist Organization) (…) He stayed on when the OCI became the Internationalist Communist Party (PCI) in 1981. And since 1992, he has been in the Workers' Party (which joined the PCI).
But the principal of the high school in Saint-Dié felt that this is an example of neutrality.
At Le Salon Beige, a Catholic website, there are several comments about this story.
- I know Saint-Dié and I know that there is a very large Turkish community there. Were there local pressures?
- The principal must be afraid that the parents of the Turkish community burn the school down. Courage is not in good supply nowadays… It is also true that he has nothing to fear from the Armenian community whose mores are less barbaric due to the enrichment of Christian civilization. He has also taught us his conception of neutrality: snuff out the truth (and discussions) out of fear of violence.