Saturday, 23 May 2015

Smoking and genocide


The Turkish Sultan Murad IV (1612-1640) took anti-smoking fanaticism to the extreme of personally beheading smokers in the streets. The smoker's body would be left to lie in the street and his estate would be confiscated.

Freedom is an idea that is deeply out of fashion in Europe, though anti-smoking laws do not go nearly so far as Murad IV's. Turkey today is probably freer and less free than Europe. It's illegal to say in Turkey that the Armenians were deliberately killed in an act of genocide and illegal in France to say the opposite. The Armenians were deliberately killed, but the restriction on free speech in respect of historical judgments is exactly the same in both countries.

As Brendan O'Neil said recently,

Some people say Turkey isn’t fit to become a full member of Europe because it’s too authoritarian. On the contrary, Turkey’s willingness to punish and fine and imprison people for speechcrimes shows that it has all the necessary credentials to be European in the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. How many people,exactly,have been proved to die from passive smoking?..........