Thursday, October 12, 2006
To understand the significance of Pamuk's statement about the death of Armenians, consider the row brewing between France and Turkey over France's lower house passing a law making Armenian genocide denial a crime. The strain within the EU over Turkey's potential admission to the union will increase with this vote, and with the Turkish foreign ministry's response:
Relations between Turkey and France, which have been based on a long history and carefully developed through the centuries, have been dealt a heavy blow as a result of the irresponsible behavior of a group of French politicians who are incapable of comprehending the results of their policies.You might think I want you to read Snow for loyalty of Pamuk to the genocide, but that really doesn't play a major role in the book. Many times Turkey will deny how many Armenians lived and still live in its east. Pamuk generously refers to homes being Armenian, and even to old buildings having been Armenian churches (something official Turkey will deny to this day.)
But Snow is also a very important book for understanding Islamism's hold on young minds in conditions of economic poverty, the appeal of a radical concept in a world rooted in centuries of hopelessness. For that reason I feel the book is an important work to be read by all.
NPR has some coverage of Pamuk's recent troubles with Turkey, and about his book. his Nobel bibliography recounts his other novels.