Sassounian: Obama Should Forfeit His Nobel Prize Until He Tells the Truth on Genocide

In his Nov. 20 letter to Armenian American organizations, President Obama once again played shameful word games with the term genocide. At this point, one has to be incredibly naive to believe that he is going to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide during the rest of his term in office.

During the presidential campaign, when then-Senator Obama was making repeated promises to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, activists were nervously following the Turkish government’s attempts to use the false pretext of dialogue with Armenia to prevent him from fulfilling his pledge after the election.

In early April, during a press conference in Ankara, when Obama was asked about his views on the Armenian Genocide, he dodged the question by stating: “My views are on the record and I have not changed views. What I have been very encouraged by is news that under [Turkish] President Gul’s leadership, you are seeing a series of negotiations, a process in place between Armenia and Turkey to resolve a whole host of longstanding issues, including this one.”

Clearly, Presidents Obama and Gul, for their own reasons, were scheming to undermine the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by pushing forward the Armenia-Turkey negotiations. They were joined in this unholy alliance by Russia and the European Union in pressuring Armenia’s leaders, who were only too eager to comply.

This sinister deal was sealed when on the eve of April 24, Armenia and Turkey issued a joint press release announcing a roadmap for reconciliation!

Not surprisingly, in his first April 24 statement, Obama repeated all the euphemisms and word games that he had strongly condemned when they were used by his predecessor, President Bush. Obama used the old and all too familiar denialist terminology of past presidents, such as “atrocity,” “massacre,” “terrible events of 1915,” and most incredibly, “Meds Yeghern”!

In that statement, Obama used the same evasive answer he gave in Ankara: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed.” Yet, he adamantly persisted in refusing to state what his actual views were.

Furthermore, Obama urged Armenians and Turks “to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward.” He expressed his strong support for their “courageous and important dialogue…to work through this painful history…” and applauded the Armenian and Turkish governments for accepting “a framework and roadmap for normalization.”

Consequently, Obama left no doubt that he was going to sacrifice the truth of the “Armenian Genocide” on the altar of an illusory Armenian-Turkish reconciliation, using it as a fig leaf to conceal his erstwhile pledge.

Last month, in a letter to Armenian American organizations, Obama reconfirmed that his view on “one of the great atrocities of the 20th century” had not changed. Once again, he failed to detail his views. The president was responding to a letter from the AGBU, Armenian Assembly, and Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. The three Armenian organizations had expressed their support for the Armenia-Turkey protocols and appealed to the White House to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. In his response, Obama cleverly exploited the expression of support by the Armenian organizations for the reconciliation process, and downplayed his campaign pledge to acknowledge the genocide. He reiterated that “the best way to advance…the just acknowledgment of the facts” is for Armenians and Turks to address the past “as part of their efforts to move forward.” He pledged “to continue to vigorously support the normalization effort in the months ahead.” The president was thus using the protocols to undermine all efforts to acknowledge the genocide.

Keeping his pledge on the genocide is in Obama’s own interests, as it would help rehabilitate his moral and political credibility by joining President Reagan and scores of national parliaments, international organizations, and Holocaust and genocide scholars who are already on record confirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide.

Obama should not be surprised if Armenian Americans no longer trust him, and do not support him for re-election. Those who play games with genocide should not be rewarded.

Anyone who lacks the courage to stand up for the truth does not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. What needs to be done is to exact an extreme political price from the democrats and what they hold dear (health care reform). That means Hary Ried needs to lose his senate seat against Tarkanian. It is about time we elected more Armenians to congress. This generation of Armenian Americans are our future. Although, I would rather remain an independant.

    This is the only way to get the Genocide recognized. American born Armenians are only future. These wanabe Armenian presidents are Turkish prostitutes and have no backbone.

    May the deniars and the complicit world bodies all go to Jahenem and quickly.

  2. Sassounian article is Shiny Clear and Blessfull.
    Every sentence from his pain… sprung
    He represents our ‘Sundered Music’ 
    Since genocide date every Armenian sung.
    We can’t say more than he can say… 
    Nobel prize is not for every one
    But  is given to one who knows how to reach players screen.
    Were not given to Altounyan* neither to Damadian** who discovered  the MRI 
    Both are saving lives , even the Turkish Lives who slain us.
    Because they were not politicians, but both are  and will stay, a real ‘Genuine Inventors.’
    Also not to forget Ghiragossian*** another Armenian nominated for Nobel Prize!
    *Roger Altounyan(1922-1987):Discovered inhalers used by asthmatics. saving billions of lives. His colleagues say that he deserved to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. (I’d like to say that if you are asthmatic or you are using any type of inhaler, please remember him.)
    **Raymond V. Damadian: Armenian pioneer in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His discovery was original work, unfairly judged by the Nobel Committee, ending controversially in him not winning the Nobel Prize.

    ***Alicia Ghiragossian: Nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature; She writes in three languages.

    I think As an Armenians we should share the benefit of many Pharmaceutical companies who benefit from their products and stop blaming Obama who is chained by slayers who can slay him like they slain us.

  3. What Armenians must do is to get involved in politics and in the US Congress as well as see to it that the Wilson Arbitration Award is known throughout the world.  Forget about asking US Presidents to utter the ‘G’ word, they are mere puppets and they won’t do it because it is directed to them by the above powers.

    What Armenians must do is to let the whole world know of the legality of and then push for the Wilson Arbitration Award that was granted by President Wilson of the United States of America!

  4. Obama has never kept any of his promises! so get used to it.
    This is a great lesson for Armenians that they shouldn’t  support anyone who has no record of any accomplishments  and we should not base our endorsement on empty promises!
    there is even a blog dedicated to his broken promises:

  5. How about Obama forfeiting his Nobel BS Prize until he stops the US sponsored wars around the world?
    But then again, Obama, like every other US president in office since the first world war, is nothing but a spokesmen  for the financial/political elite that runs this global empire.
    If anything is to be blamed, it’s the system.

  6. Hye, today I see the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to president of the United States of America, Obama,
    shall instead shall be the Nobel PIECE Prize… Tell truths, but only in Pieces… politically.  For he  is wholly unable to face truths morally!
    As the leader of the most powerful nation the world has known to date he is bound, politically,  and yet, shamelessly, to a Turkey whose  Genocides of millions of innocents – unrequited, unashamed…
    #1 – Armenian Genocide – still pursued from 1915-2009
    Obama unable to lead the world, all civilized humanity, to end the cycle of Genocides…
    #2  – Genocide of the Kurds, labelled as ‘terrorists’ by Turks (reality:  they are freedom fighters
    who seek freedom from tyranny of the Turk) since the 20th century and now into the 21st century.
    Yet, one day, a leader from the ‘free world’ shall have the courage, the moral strengths to bring together all civilized humanity – and go down in history books – as the leader who was able to bring
    all nations of conscience – to a table, to end the slaughtering, and more of millions and millions of men, women, children born/unborn… innocents ‘elminated’ by despots – who themselves shall have
    to be ‘eliminated’… and any denials shall be the  ‘denied’…  not the murders denied.  Manooshag

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