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.