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SOCIETY

De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 24/04/2015

Disrespectful treatment of MH17 victims

A Dutch pathologist working with the team identifying the victims of flight MH17 was fired on Thursday after showing photographs of the dead at a public lecture. That doesn't go far enough, the centre-right daily De Telegraaf writes: "Even behind closed doors and within the close circle of experts this photographic material shouldn't be used. Arguing that the body parts shown weren't recognisable is a cheap excuse. The whole affair is made worse by the fact that the relatives of the victims weren't informed. As long as the investigation continues and the identification process isn't concluded these pictures shouldn't be shown at any meetings or lectures. ... The relatives are right to be angry and shocked at the lack of respect with which state agencies are handling this extremely sensitive material." (24/04/2015)

Diena - Latvia | 23/04/2015

Don't lump all Russians together on May 9

The celebrations on May 9 marking the anniversary of the end of World War II remain controversial in Latvia. Every year hundreds of Russians celebrate the liberation from National Socialism while for Latvians the day marks the start of a second occupation. But this year in particular they should display level-headedness and tolerance, the liberal daily Diena advises: "Latvians must finally adopt a rational approach and refrain from lumping all Russians together on May 9. There are Russians who can't stand Latvia, and who demonstrate an occupation mentality on that day. But there are also Russians who get together on May 9 to celebrate the end of the war and feel a sense of community. It's up to the security forces, not the civil population, to deal with the former. And to criticise the latter for taking part in the celebrations on the grounds that they're making a show of their affiliation with the 'occupiers' is simply wrong. The geopolitical situation today is so tense that we can't allow ourselves to deepen the rift." (23/04/2015)

Yeni Şafak - Turkey | 23/04/2015

Every Turk's duty to remember and admonish

In the process of dealing with the past and the debate about the massacre of the Armenians, terms are less decisive than attitude, columnist Ali Bayramoğlu also stresses in the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak: "I am among those who have no qualms about using the word 'genocide'. … Call events what you will, you must understand that if you live here it is your moral duty to remember and to admonish - your moral duty towards history, your own people, the next generation and the dead. In this way the Turkish identity will be purified and find an opportunity to renew itself as a democracy. … This country, the forces that are driving it forward, its intellectual energy and its academics have been fighting for this since the start of the millennium. … Right now the glass is pretty empty. But it is filling up." (23/04/2015)

Avgi - Greece | 22/04/2015

Greek laws no business of the US

According to a legal amendment passed last week, Greek prison inmates with an 80 percent disability or more will be allowed to complete their sentences at home. The potential release of Savvas Xiros, a Greek terrorist jailed for the murders of US citizens, has drawn harsh criticism from the US. The left-leaning daily Avgi is surprised to see the opposition siding with the US: "The US ambassador openly called for the law to be repealed. … Rather than dealing seriously with this interference in Greece's domestic affairs, the media and the parties of the opposition have reacted by mocking the government. … The so-called release is house arrest with an ankle bracelet - for someone who is 80 percent disabled and has already spent ten years behind bars. This doesn't just apply to Xiros but to all those who find themselves in a similar situation today or in the future." (22/04/2015)

La Croix - France | 22/04/2015

Europe must learn to live with terror

French security forces on Sunday arrested a presumed jihadist suspected of planning attacks on churches. But fear and panic are not the right response, the Catholic daily La Croix argues: "The jihadists of the IS have made Christians a priority target. It was only to be expected that one day this violence would migrate to Europe. We must learn to live with this threat. Nothing leads us to doubt that our country will do all it can to protect Christian institutions, as it has been doing relatively discreetly in the past. Everyone is called upon to be vigilant in identifying potential danger. But without giving in to fear. And without seeing every Muslim as a potential enemy. Because that's exactly what the jihadists are trying to accomplish." (22/04/2015)

Zeit Online - Germany | 22/04/2015

Genocide debate just term fetishism

Speaking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the telephone, the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has protested the use of the word "genocide" in a resolution to be put to the Bundestag on Friday. Whether the word is used or not is of secondary importance at this stage, political scientist Burak Çopur writes in a commentary for the liberal web portal Zeit Online: "The discussion bordering on fetishism over the use of the term 'genocide' cannot be the foundation for fostering a culture of remembrance. Of course in the long term the Turkish state must call the genocide by its name if it wants to become a liberal democracy. But other issues are at stake on the way there. In political terms, the issue must be dealt with by improving relations between Turkey and Armenia and resuming the protocols that have been put on ice. And for Turkey - as well as for Turks living in Germany - a sensitive approach to remembrance and commemoration in the education system is needed. More must be done to educate and inform about the events of 1915." (22/04/2015)

Hürriyet - Turkey | 22/04/2015

Armenians to blame for 1915 massacre

The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Monday expressed his condolences to the descendants of those killed in the massacre of the Armenians in 1915. The conservative daily Hürriyet, by contrast, has no time for stories of persecuted Armenians and barbarous Turks: "The Truth is as follows: the Armenian gangs were spurred on and armed by the states of Europe, and committed acts of cruelty and massacres against the Anatolian Turks and Kurds. The Turks then went on the defensive. ... In the fighting both sides suffered casualties - rightly or wrongly. In short: Armenians killed Turks, and Turks Armenians. The Armenians' biggest mistake: no state at war can forgive it when its own citizens side with the enemy and betray the country they live in. ... Sadly, the Armenians sided with the Russians and stabbed the Ottoman Turks in the back." (22/04/2015)

Irish Independent - Ireland | 21/04/2015

Gay marriage advocates abominably intolerant

The Irish will vote in May on the introduction of same-sex marriage. But with their self-righteous, intolerant attitude the proponents of gay marriage are hurting their own cause, the conservative daily Irish Independent rails: "The vital principle of live-and-let-live has been replaced in recent years by a nauseating liberal orthodoxy which insists that anyone who dissents isn't just wrong, they must be painted as the enemy and destroyed. When did liberals stop being the good guys? When did those who shriek the loudest about tolerance become the ones who can't bear to tolerate any deviation from the party line? ... But not every 'No' voter is a homophobic bigot and the prissy, sanctimonious, self-righteous bilge which is spewed on a daily basis by 'Yes' campaigners is as counter-productive as it is irksome." (21/04/2015)

T24 - Turkey | 21/04/2015

History fabricated and distorted in Turkey

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç announced on Monday that Turkey had never committed genocide, also not against the Armenians in 1915. His statement doesn't come as a surprise, journalist Hasan Cemal writes in the liberal online paper T24, adding that after all Turkish history books are silent on this and other subjects: "In the history I learned, neither Kurds nor Alevis ever existed, nor the year 1915. My mind was formed by this official version of history, the state allowed me to live in a lie. Our history is not true, but either fabricated or distorted. ... The official history of our country doesn't trust its own citizens. It wants to keep them in the dark. And it won't let them break out of the history they have learned off by heart. ... To deal with the past in Turkey is to deal with today, and it is still a risky task." (21/04/2015)

De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 21/04/2015

No statute of limitations for Auschwitz

What will presumably be the last major trial on crimes committed at Auschwitz concentration camp starts today, Tuesday, in the German city of Lüneburg. Oscar Gröning, 93, Oscar Gröning, 93, will answer charges of aiding the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews. Even 70 years after the end of the war such trials are still necessary, the conservative daily De Telegraaf believes: "Since 2011 the German judiciary has also been prosecuting suspects who played no direct role in Hitler's death factories. According to the charges, Gröning knew about the gas chambers and supported the Nazi regime financially. A debate has now broken out in Germany over whether a trial against such an old man still makes any sense. The answer is yes. Even those who only played a minor role must not be spared. Too many SS members who were stationed at Auschwitz have escaped punishment. Even 70 years after the end of World War II, the law must prevail." (21/04/2015)


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