Statement of President Barack Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day

On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that ninety-five years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began.  In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

Today is a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from these terrible events.  I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed.   It is in all of our interest to see the achievement a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.  The Meds Yeghern is a devastating chapter in the history of the Armenian people, and we must keep its memory alive in honor of those who were murdered and so that we do not repeat the grave mistakes of the past.  I salute the Turks who saved Armenians in 1915 and am encouraged by the dialogue among Turks and Armenians, and within Turkey itself, regarding this painful history.  Together, the Turkish and Armenian people will be stronger as they acknowledge their common history and recognize their common humanity.

Even as we confront the inhumanity of 1915, we also are inspired by the remarkable spirit of the Armenian people.   While nothing can bring back those who were killed in the Meds Yeghern, the contributions that Armenians have made around the world over the last ninety-five years stand as a testament to the strength, tenacity and courage of the Armenian people.  The indomitable spirit of the Armenian people is a lasting triumph over those who set out to destroy them.  Many Armenians came to the United States as survivors of the horrors of 1915. Over the generations Americans of Armenian descent have richened our communities, spurred our economy, and strengthened our democracy.  The strong traditions and culture of Armenians also became the foundation of a new republic which has become a part of the community of nations, partnering with the world community to build a better future.

Today, we pause with them and with Armenians everywhere to remember the awful events of 1915 with deep admiration for their contributions which transcend this dark past and give us hope for the future.


  1. What does Meds Yeghern mean?…maybe we English speaking Americans should ask of our president to give definitons to words he utters in his speechs that are not of english origin. Or to at least put in brackets what foreign words mean in english…very odd of a country’s leader to say foreign words without explaining thos words to his people.

  2. President Obama shamefully chose to play linguistic gymnastics with Armenian and English euphemisms to no avail. Indeed, a devious and highly offensive ploy that will cost him politically more than he may think. Although the term Medtz Yeghern is not a legally accurate interpretation of the Armenian Genocide, it is a somewhat colloquial reference to the Genocide used by some within Armenian circles, but the lack of semantic exactitude by a Columbia and Harvard Law School graduate hardly goes unnoticed without a shrewd calculated political assessment.
    This is unquestionably true especially when dealing with a (supposed) American ally still unable to accept the reality of historical truth and particularly when the Republic of Turkey is so fervently involved (diplomatically, financially and legally) in trying to conceal, contradict and cloak the Armenian Genocide.
    Did Obama promise to recognize the Medtz Yeghern? No, he promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Do you think Armenians would have overwhelmingly supported/funded Obama’s campaign and voted for him en masse if he had promised to recognize the Medtz Yeghern? Highly unlikely then and definitely not now or hereafter. Lets just say that any candidate who makes a campaign promise to recognize the Medtz Yeghern will face their own Medtz Yeghern come election time…
    Any futile attempts to mollify Americans with deliberately vague and inaccurate characterizations of the Armenian Genocide only serve to hinder the fight against future genocides and their denial.
    If you examine Obama’s statement made during his campaign from January 18, 2008 ( ) , you will find two very interesting and telling facts. First, there are 11 references specifically citing the word – genocide – within 5 paragraphs of one letter. Second, there is not one mention made of either of the following terms: Medz Yeghern, Հայոց ցեղասպանություն (Hayoc’ c’eġaspanut’yun), Holocaust, Tseghaspanotyoon, Shoa or what have you.
    Now, compare Obama’s letter above (referencing genocide 11 times) with his commemorative statement as President in April 2009 ( ).  As an Armenian, the results are hardly surprising…Not one mention of the word genocide in any context and two references made about the Meds Yeghern. Coincidence? Hardly. Reacting to threats of a paper tiger…much more likely. Just like many astute observers, Armenians don’t find these facts coincidental, or even inconsequential but rather interpret his remarks to be downright insulting, insincere and quite hypocritical to say the least.
    If you compare these remarks to his address regarding the Holocaust/Shoah you see a very clear distinction in tone, context and content. About 15 days ago on April 11, 2010, the White House released their annual Statement by the President on Holocaust Remembrance Day ( ). Holocaust is mentioned three times. Moreover, three important words are presented in this exact logical order – genocide, justice and peace, each written once.  In addition, juxtaposing the titles alone is quite revealing. The Presidents statement on the Holocaust actually mentions the – Holocaust – the reason for the letter, whereas the statement on the Armenian Genocide vaguely identifies an – Armenian Remembrance Day. Anyone want to take a stab at why President Obama just didn’t leave out the word genocide and refer to it merely as the Holocaust/Shoah? Purposely neglecting to include the word genocide written in English or Armenian is offensive to me and very far from acceptable to our community.
    For another very clear example attesting to the Presidents untenable double standard on the Armenian Genocide take a look at his statement released a few weeks ago commemorating the Rwandan Genocide April 7, 2010. ( ) The President mentions the word genocide 3 times within the one paragraph letter to the Rwandan community.

  3. To Obama and Hillary:  No restorative justice –>  No energy pipelines.
    Never mind your acknowledgment.  Restorative justice:  Land, Reparation and Restitution.

  4. Why is anyone surprised?  The man is an opportunist and wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t already mastered the art of manipulating people.  His word means nothing – never has and never will.  My fellow Armenians, please never make the same mistake again of trusting this empty suit.  You will only set yourselves up for further disappointment.  Absolutely disgraceful.

  5. Was George W our president? Or Bill Clinton? Or Bush Sr. ? Do you really think the next President will be any different?

  6. Mike,
    Meds Yeghern in Armenian literally translates to “Great Calamity”, it is almost as if he is trying to show the Armenian Population that he himself is trying his hardest to admit it is a Genocide, but due to the cnstant pressure from turkey and even his own government, he is forced to use somewhat of a code word.

  7. Hye, the cycle of Genocides cannot come to an end since the American leaderships are incapable of facing truths…  playing politics yes, but facing the immoral aspects of Genocides, no.
    Turkey has committed Genocides against the Armenians, the Greeks, the Syrians and currently, Kurds.  Today Turkey winner, victims losers…
    Since the USA leaders are playing politics with the word GENOCIDE – not even recognizing the vile methods of slaughters, rapes, kidnappings, church filled with women and children set afire, bastinados torture when victims’ soles of their feet are beaten bloody, the soles then burst, death the only release… and worse!
     Hence, these leaders of the free world,  (USA supposedly leading) have yet to  face the immorality of  Genocides – the political expedients are mattered – but not the loss of innocent lives, or survivors living lives with memories of the horrors of the vile Turkish methods of  ‘eliminating’ an ancient and advanced society… then to take the culture to be the Turks’ own ( Turks had not culture).

    In civilized nations murderers, kidnappers, rapists, and more are sought out in order that these criminals shall  face justice for their crimes committed.
    Yet when these same crimes are committed by a Turkey –  masses of crimes – then labelled as GENOCIDES, then deemed  not  to be judged! Not crimes! 
    Does the label of GENOCIDE lessen these crimes?  Does the word GENOCIDE connote another set of rules for the crimes of GENOCIDE?  Does a Genocide then cause the perpetrator of the Genocide to be a “winner”?  Does a Genocide then cause the victims to be the “loser”?  Does Genocide, unrecognized and too,  allowed, without anyone of the civilized nations having the ‘guts’ to face the bully perpetrators guilt, the perpetrators vile treatments of the victims – the  innocents – awaiting their tortures, awaiting their deaths, awaiting the nations of the world to come to their rescue, awaiting the end of the cycles of Genocides… 

    OR, it may be that our so-called civilization has not yet reached that level of ‘humanity’ to be capable of  calling a ‘spade a spade’ – or facing the bully perpetrators of their crimes –  against all  humanity.  For the truth shall be known:  if the Turks had faced their guilt of their crimes against the Armenians (begun in the 19th century and brought to full force in 1915-1923) made their reparations and more – all the Genocides that followed in the 20th century shall never been.  Never shall have happened since the despots shall have known that the ‘civilized’ nations of the world had ended the cycles of Genocides – the world over – in the early 20th century… All the despots that pursued the Genocides that followed the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation have been the “winners”…  All the innocent victims slaughtered, raped, kidnapped, burned alive, and worse – all these millions have been the losers… But too, when you think about it  – with Genocides unrecognized, with Genocides still (as Darfur in 2010) hasn’t our humanity the world over, too,   been a loser as well?
     For the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation, unresolved, unrepented, still
    exists today 2010 – the unburied bones of those slaughtered lying about on their own lands of nearly 4,000 years – awaiting the judgement, awaiting burial.

  8. Hey out there, wake up! Whose clean? Before the G word was incorporated into the dictionary we here, the professed gardians of liberty, freedom and justice for all, committed the same sins of “Calamity”. The rest of the world’s list violators are included. You know who you are. Lets just all forgive each other once and for all and move on.

  9. I am sorry that he did not use the word Genocide, I wish he had. However,there are several arguments to support what he did which I ask you to consider. I think they are good arguments.

    First, if he had used the term, then he would have no further tools to threaten the enemy with.  Once he says it, they will not care.  If there is the most tiny liberal crack in the fascist wall that is Turkey, part of that opening is created by the state to show the west thtat dissent is allowed. 

    Second, what he said will be understood by the Turks as the equivalent to the word itself.  This is also true of what he said when he addressed their GNA last year.

    Third, what is the benefit to anyone if he does say it? Reagan said it, for that matter so did Lemkin, and Teddy Roosevelt said it in the language of the day.

    Fourth, if the Turks have their tantrum, you can be sure that a neocon enemy of Armenia will plant stories that at least one US service member died  because the unnecessarily enraged Turks denied the US something it needed.  The story will blame the selfish Diaspora.

  10. To the one who calls himself Nick out there. Wake up! Many nations are clean of committing race annihilation. Didn’t you know? It is true that before the ‘G’ word was incorporated into the dictionary in 1944 we here, whom you call ‘professed’ guardians of liberty, freedom and justice for all, committed the sins of “Calamity,” although the scale and methods were so different. But you know what? In the 1960s the same’ professed’ guardians of liberty, freedom and justice enacted the Civil Liberty Act that is considered as apology to Afro-Americans and Indians for atrocities inflicted on them. Didn’t you know? Well, then be aware.
    And I heard you saying ‘Lets just all forgive each other once and for all and move on?’ Well, Armenians are ready for that, but where is Turkey’s repentance, dude, so we could offer forgiveness and move on? Have you ever tried to tell the Jews to forgive once and for all for millions of gassed innocent people and move on? Why won’t you try and let us know what happens. You’re talking about forgiveness forgetting about repentance that needs to come first. Didn’t Germans apologize to the Jews? South African government to African Blacks? Russian government for Stalin’s purges? Cambodian government for the crimes of Khmer Rouge regime? Why did they apologize, dude? Wouldn’t it be easier, according to your ‘logic,’ to just have all forgive each other once and for all and move on??

  11. Well said Josh Well said.. Apres….

    Nick must be on cloud nine because there will never be: forgetting and moving on until we get what we are entitled to… He must be dreaming.

    Jda— you may have good points in regards to his speech; however the bottom line is he betrayed us… and he continues to support the on-going denial by not doing what is right.. hence, why we can’t accept the reasonings no matter how valid they may be…. This entire matter should not have gone this far…Obama continuing his support of this inhumane treatment goes to show how much faith he has in what is just, right and absolute truth…

    Simon- EXCELLENT commentary… Apres…

  12. To the Editorial Board:

    How can any of you on the board even look at yourselves in the mirror! You ought to all be ashamed of yourselves for your petty actions of racist discrimination and mass denialism!! May God help you all and have mercy on your souls!!

  13. Hey Robert (aka invisible Turk)

    Please spare me your cries and hysteria… what is it with you Turks who post on these sites ?? all of you just love to be hysterical just when truth hits your skin.. . why you can’t handle the truth and honesty ROBERT????  You can’t handle the fact that what is being said here is very accurate without a doubt????

    Here is what I would tell you SIR:  Remember that GOD was, is and will be on our side.. Armenians were the first people to accept Christinaity as their religions; hence why my ancestors were slaughtered.  It is because we did not want to convert.. .. So by you stating may God help us and have mercy on our souls… you are not threatening us… don’t worry.. your soul will face the judgement day.. sooner or later.. and as I see it.. it won’t be pretty..


  14. Josh; The civil liberties act is not an apology. Read your history. And as to the jews moving on, they haven’t because they have been busy re-enacting atrosities on their neighbors.

  15. Nick, I meant to say Civil Rights Act of 1968 (as well as Voting Rights Act of 1965) are widely considered as apology (not are an apology) to the victims of discrimination, who may use the Act to seek redress. But even the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 re: Japanese Americans is relevant to your comment. And I didn’t quite make out how the second part of your comment re: Jews is relevant to the fact that Germans have apologized for the Holocaust in contrast to the Turks who until now deny the Armenian Genocide.

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