Armenians Should Confront Obama During his California Visit Next Week

It is a shame that the largest Armenian community in the Diaspora has failed to take advantage of President Obama’s visits to California to protest his refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Last October, when he traveled to Los Angeles and Glendale, not a single Armenian confronted him at his public appearances.

To make up for their negligence, Armenians in California have a golden opportunity to show that they are deeply troubled when the highest official of the land does not keep his pledge on the Armenian Genocide.

President Obama will be in San Francisco on April 20 and in Los Angeles on April 21—three days before the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide—to launch his reelection campaign with major fundraisers publicized as “Obama Victory Fund 2012.”

During the next 18 months, Armenian-Americans should hold demonstrations at every one of the President’s campaign stops throughout the country until the November 2012 presidential election. This is an opportune moment to highlight the President’s lack of credibility, at a time when he is most vulnerable due to his low ratings, as he launches his reelection campaign.

Armenians do not need to beg the President to utter the words Armenian Genocide. A more popular head of state, President Ronald Reagan, used those words on April 22, 1981, almost 30 years to the day of President Obama’s visit to Los Angeles! The only reason to protest Obama’s visit would be to let him know that Armenians will no longer be duped when politicians make false campaign promises to gain their support, and ignore them after the election! The Armenian slogan for the 2012 presidential election should be: “Not one vote and not one penny for Obama!”

Here is the list of President Obama’s multiple sins on Armenian issues:

1. He repeatedly pledged to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide during the 2008 presidential campaign and did not keep his word after the election.

2. To make matters worse, his administration actively opposed the adoption of the 2010 congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

3. He significantly cut the amount of foreign aid given to Armenia and Artsakh (Karabagh), contrary to his campaign promise. Moreover, his administration did not spend the full amount of aid Congress allocated to Artsakh.

4. He pressured Armenia in 2009 to sign the infamous “Protocols” with Turkey.

5. He made no attempts to press Turkey into lifting its blockade of Armenia.

6. He remained silent in the face of repeated saber rattling by Azerbaijan’s President against Armenia and Artsakh, ignoring his campaign pledge to support Artsakh’s self-determination.

7. He and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not respond to repeated requests to meet with Armenian-American community leaders to hear their concerns.

8. Last Christmas, while the Senate was in recess, he circumvented the “hold” placed by U.S. Senators, and appointed Matt Bryza as Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

It is crucial that a large number of Armenian-Americans show up on April 20 and 21, not only to protest against the President, but also to publicize their demands through the media covering President Obama’s visit. Should Armenians remain silent, they would be sending the wrong message to politicians that making empty promises to Armenians to get their money and votes, and ignoring them after the election would have no negative consequences to their political careers!

Armenians need to wake up from their lethargy. If they want elected officials to take them seriously, they must reward those who support their issues by helping to reelect them, and punish those who make false promises by working to defeat them.

A few days after his visit to California, President Obama will issue his annual April 24 statement which will probably exclude once again the term Armenian Genocide. Armenian protesters must make it clear to the President that playing word games with genocide is offensive and that he will pay a political price for his unwillingness to tell the truth!

President Obama will be in San Francisco on April 20, at 5 p.m., at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California Street, and in Culver City on April 21, at 4:30 p.m., at the Sony Studios, 10202 W. Washington Blvd. Thousands of Armenians should show up at these two locations to protest President Obama’s record of broken promises!

As a former Obama supporter, I will be standing outside the Sony Studios on April 21 to express my profound disappointment in his handling of Armenian issues and to let him know that Armenian-Americans will not support his reelection.

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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 United Armenian Fund, a coalition of the seven largest Armenian-American organizations. He has been decorated by the president and prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

29 Comments

  1. I think we all know the name of the organization that should lead an effort like this, but will it?

    How do we cut through layer upon layer of apathy and lack of activism?

  2. Truly excellent article Harout. It paints an accurate portrait of the Obama’s presidency through the Armenian community. It’s time that Armenians (not just in California but everywhere) hold Obama’s feet to the fire. There’s too many “Obama apologists” in the Armenian community who try to justify reasons why he couldn’t “use the ‘G’ word” or his support of the Protocols. The truth is there is a (growing) list of failed promises by our president and there needs to be political repercussions. Let’s get moving! Only dead fish go with the flow.

  3. Bravo, Haroot, Bravo! Every word you have written is right on its mark. Any Armenian who votes for this man should be ashamed of themself. And rmember when he ran around talking to men about being “promise keepers”? All over the country, Armenians held raffles and dances and garage sales and paklava bake sales etc to raise money for this two-faced self- serving man. As for Hillary – you can count on her to “stand by her man” no matter how much dirt and betrayal emerges.

  4. Once again, Harut is right on the money with his suggestions and recommended course of action. NOBODY, not even the President, should be allowed to lie to and disrespect the Armenian people or the Armenian-Americans who believed in him and his promises. Of course politicians lie and overpromise, but they should understand that their is a price to pay for it. We should have signs that say “If you can’t say the words you promised, we can’t give you either a penny or our vote!” What is he going to hold over our heads? Less funding for Armenia and Artsak? Favorable treatment for the Azeris over Armenia? Hinder legislation beneficial for Armenia? Wait a minute— He’s ALREADY done that! Come on folks, who will join Harut in confronting the President in LA and San Francisco?

  5. Maybe, maybe not. We should all be frank about who the greatest domestic beneficiary would be of inflicting the first nick on Obama at this early stage of the 2012 campaign. I’m sure that Newt Gingrich would be there with bells on if he didn’t look so unconvincing in the role of an angry Armenian. Do we really think we can get better Armenian policy from him or his likes? Let’s be serious, that is the question.
     
    Whatever the president says in his forthcoming April 24th statement, I only hope he will this time have the decency to avoid trying to use the Armenian language as a substitute for reviving and clearly stating those views which he assured us a year ago “have not changed”.
     

  6. Obama may claim that his use of Medz Yeghern shows that his views have not changed, but in actuality, judging from Sassounian’s list of ‘sins’ above, either everything has changed or he lied while running for office.  He is trying to appease the Turks and Armenians at the same time, but he can’t have it both ways while promoting Anti-Armenian policies.  He has lost my support.

  7. Fistly don´t be surprised  if  my English is never to your standards. that  is because-never said  that  before  here on the forum- I think also in spanish,lived there near qtr century, THINK  mainly in Armenian and a couple other tongues..(read, know those other   mentality-people).
    Now  then. The G  word  or pronouncing  the word  Genocide per se is not  THE ISSUE!!! for God´s sake..it is WHAT HE AND IN EXTENSION THE OTHER PARTY, great Trukey know by heart  that  we shall then Legally be able to reclaim or claim lots  of BLOOD MONEY( my priority) then other ,like  property, real estate, arable lands, chiurches  monasteries schools destroyed etc.
    If some naive  people  here whether Armenian or other think the core  of us will be satisfied  with the G.Word , they err  tremendously. Just  like the following  that  many an Armenian diplomat  does  not as yet completely comprehend…that  of our MIAN BAHANJADIRUTYUN  CLIM  is not  the Nk self Recognition  (a fait  a complit) like  Northern Cyprius and a few other such..but  WESTERN ARMENIAN LANDS.Firstly  that our brethren  even  in RA  do not erroneoulsy  claim as  yet, and that boldly, THE aZERI OCCUPIED    SHAHUMIAN  DISTRICT  AND   N A K HJ I J E V A N ( AN AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC)  THAT  JUST  LIKE  nK  THE g.d.STALIN AND  co.  bestowed  upon  them.
    we  must  STRONGLY BEGIN TO TRUMPET  BOTH ABOVE .OTHERWISE  GREAT TURKEY WILL KEEP ON SUPPORTING  AZERBAIJAN    TO CLAIM  NK KARABAGH,FOR  THAT  IS THE WAY TURKS  OR TURCO AZERIS  BEHAVE ACT…
    WE  MUST RECIPROCATE  THEIR  KIND  OF ATTITUTDE  WHICH THEY WILL UNDERSTAND BETTER. THAN TIMIDLY DEFENDLY  NK  SELF  DETERMINATION……
    SO IF WORD  G. IS NOT PRONOUNCED  LIKE MANY KNOW AND HAROUT REPEATS  PRES. RONALD REAGAN     H A S     A LREADY   DECLARED  THAT……
    WHAT  ARE WE DEAF? or the world —
    it is a fight to the end  with great Turkey anmd little  brother Azerbejan

  8. Vagharshak [on your April 12th comment]: Just to be clear, I am talking about Obama’s views as famously expressed in the last presidential campaign, not since he adopted Medz Yeghern.
    He should stick to English. If he intends to use Medz Yeghern again he should be informed ahead of time by responsible and influential Armenian representatives that it means Great Crime, not great catastrophe as implied by Mr. Cemal’s use of language as reported in the article.

  9. This President has already helped Armenia more than any other US President.  By debasing the US currency, he has driven most of the world to find safe haven in Gold and Silver and since Armenia has one of the higest per capita production of Gold in the world, he is making the country very rich.  I think this President is doing a great service for Armenia.  Actions speak louder than words.  Your US dollars are losing value so Invest in Armenia and you shall be rewardedi
    (Silver is up 200% and the US Dollar is down 12% since Obama took office)

  10. If you people want to waste your time and look really stupid doing it, yes go ahead “confront” Obama…
     
    Hint: American presidents are nothing but spokesmen for special interests that run the country behind the scenes

  11. Obama is nothing but a push-over, and not only over this issue. However, he lost my support on April 24, 2009 by breaking his promise to the Armenian people. True McCain outright stated he wouldn’t recognize the genocide during his campaign, but at least he wasn’t lying.
    As for me, I vote third party from now on, I don’t even care if they’ll never win.

  12. Diran, I agree.  This April 24th, I would prefer that Obama stick to English and stop trying to play word games with our language.  While it would be good for him to be made aware that Medz Yeghern means great crime, it would be even better if the media outlets are made aware of this translation so they can tell their viewers/readers.  What will Turks say to that?

    Also, what have the democrats done for us lately?  No party loyalty here; I will vote for the man or woman most suited to upholding the constitution and the democratic ideals that it ensures.

  13. ‘Medz Yeghern’*
    Shan’t Be Uttered by Others
    Hence ‘Genocide’ and Further Forth

    ____________________
    “Every Language has a soul
    Every language has its own roar
    Exhales inside its cavernous’ core
    Can you learn languages all!
    Each language vibrates a soul.”**

    Sylva-MD-Poetry
    ___________________________________

    President O.B, should not use a phrase he can’t understand,
    He is a poet, judge, lawyer, he must be criticized.

    Medz Yeghern for us are two horrible words
    Not every one can realize

    Something more than calamity…
    Massacres…Tragedy…Disaster… or even Genocide
    Which sounds still little!
    ‘A Killing Plague’

    Deep painfulness can create endless anguish phrases lexicons
    Not felt with everyone yet to be invented…
    Affected and still affecting
    Lives of our cohorts

    Like the end of the world

    Hence…Translation has no meaning at all
    Maybe for others, Thus never for us.
    The word ‘calamity’ seems an ant
    Facing a starving tiger…lion
    A phrase can’t heed torments.

    Can any human being translate
    What’s in their deep, scorned-mind
    How much they love their mothers…yv
    Their lost motherland!

    So please Dr. President
    Calm your bemused sense
    Don’t behave tenaciously
    Don’t sell your philosophy
    On the graves of seared lives
    Don’t please your and our enemies
    Don’t pretend to be deaf to what’ is really bleeding
    Under the rain…on the streets sunken in mud.
    To run your shiny-wheeled political cart…!

    Don’t enunciate a phrase.
    You did with your tongue
    So…can never pronounce through your chest
    As you never walked with hungry bare injured soles,

    Did the criminal gendarmes’ assaults,
    They enjoyed smashing humans’ vital organs,
    Drive you to an unknown destiny
    Near red-rivers filled with bones,
    To see smashed innocent faces from your blood with
    Crushed lacrimating eyes outside prayers’ skulls.

    Tell me, “How can you feel the pain
    Of something you never have faced or felt!”
    How can you utter
    That horrible phrase!

    Please O.B. understand that, ‘We Love You’—
    Ge sirenk kez’—©—‘Kez ge sirenk’
    We are not here to insult someone
    Who made us promises and said that was ‘A Real Genocide’;
    Don’t act like a lover who changed his promise
    Because of another who betrays and fires fears.

    Your promise stagnated in our hearts.
    We heartlessly weep…
    We can only say,

    “Also You…The Son of
    Darling…Sweet…Senseful Stanley-Ann,
    Betrayed Us…
    Why!”

    Each time we hear Medz Yeghern
    We can witness a pointed, poisoned Turkish scimitars
    Entering our already injured heart-valves.

    Tearing our creed.

    Regretful that we possess
    So naïve a soulful-faith!
    Not every race could sincerely grace…!

    June 19, 2010




     

  14. For National Security reasons, Armenians should confront him and ask why hasn’t Congress upgraded Harry Kizirian’s and Victor Maghakian’s Navy Cross awards to the Congressional Medal of Honor which they rightfully deserved? I have reviewed the recent Medal of Honor awards and compared them with the actions of these Armenian American men and determined that Harry and Victor deserved it more. Not only that, the late Lee Marvin would have vouched for that. 

    We should also confront him as to why Arman Manookian’s grave site is not disclosed. An Art Exhibition and Aquarium center with Manookian themes in honor of Manookian in Hawaii would be a great place for mental healing for those Veterans suffering from PTSD.

  15. Some of us Armenian American Veterans don’t speak Armenian. We need to hear it in English. We don’t need any more word play either in Armenian or English. We are tired of these games in order to garner business or donations.

  16. Too many Armenians drank the Obama Kool Aid.  He got your votes. He gives a
    rats a$$ about us or anything other than his votes. 

  17. Vagharshak [April 13th]: I agree entirely with your point that “it would be even better if the media outlets are made aware of this translation [Medz Yeghern=Great Crime] so they can tell their viewers/readers.” This should start immediately if it hasn’t. If Armenian advocacy groups drop the ball on this then they don’t deserve whatever reputation they have.

  18. Harout, you said the following: “…his refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.”  Someone not as familiar with the details of the Genocide may think the President  has some good reason to refuse “acknowledgment” of the Genocide.  I hope what you wanted to say was “to protest him for not using the word Genocide as the use of the word would reflect his repeated acknowledgment of the Genocide…”
    Side Bar:  Many Armenians are missing the big picture by focusing on the word instead of the issue and problem.  But that’s a matter to discuss another day.

  19. President Obama, I assume you may not know ALL of the history of the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation…  as a Turkey continues to deny their Genocides never occurred.  A Turkey, in these denials has been hoping in these nearly 100 years that the Armenians Survivors and generations following would have become extinct… been absorbed within peoples of the civilized nations where they sought and found havens.  
    But, President Obama, as you can see – we are not ‘extinct’ today, following our Survivors, now the 2nd, the 3rd, and 4th generations since the inhumanity of the Ottomans (as their subsequent and current Turkish leaders maintain and perpetrate their lies) denying all their Genocides.  For, in truth, these are lies of their crimes against all humanity.
    For with the Turks not being brought to face their crimes of Genocides, too, the Turks  are ‘getting away’ with their slaughters, rapes, kidnappings, tortures  and worse of their crimes of Genocides continued from the 19th, 20th and now the 21st centuries continues unabated, ‘allowed’.  For, too,  silence is as a sign of acquiescence! Worse, our own USA which has morally been a shining light for humanity since its first inception –  whose stance which has upheld honesty and morality for humanity, historically recognized, has been ‘immobilized’.
    Today, the Armenian Genocide recognition has become as a ‘ball’ to be used and abused – morally and immorally – by our State Department and today our White House – whilst the real issue of ENDING THE CYCLE OF GENOCIDES is ignored!
    Actually, when crimes are committed in any civilized nations/states the criminals are made to face the justice of their nation… true justice is served.
    Sadly, when a crime of Genocide is committed by a Turkey – all victims are losers and, IMAGINE… perpetrators winners! Gaining goals/not by war, by Genocides.
    Thus the Turkish leaderships go scot free of their inhumane crimes against humans – their denials of any guilt are ‘allowed’.  Too, as a  world watches, even the USA leaderships, inhumanely, tolerates and accepts what shall have never been as is recorded for posterity in the Archives of our nation’s capital, and too, our own Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to a Turkey wrote in his memoirs!  
    For, if the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation (abuses which continues into 2011) had, historically, with the efforts of our President Woodrow Wilson’s been resolved, reparations and more due/owing to the Armenians… true justice served… ALL the Genocides that followed shall never been… Despots then shall have known the cycle of Genocides had ended – NO MORE GENOCIDES – EVER!
    Imagine, Turkey being made to face their crimes against all humanity.  Imagine, any and all nations would never have known Genocides.  Despots would not dare to even consider perpetrating any Genocides… THE CYCLE OF GENOCIDES ON THE PLANET EARTH – ENDED!  
    Why cannot our United State of America – in leadership joining together – with all the civilized nations of the world – WHY NOT able to END THE CYCLE OF GENOCIDES… Thus, too, to come to join together for a finer, safer, planet for all.
    Too, President Obama shall be written in all the world’s history books – for eternity – as the American president who brought sanity to the world – President Obama who worked to end the cycle of Genocides – forever!   Manooshag

  20.  Harut Sassounian you are the best.
     We’re not going to get anything better from the
    Obama administrations so get used to it
     Next election {2012} I will be voting Republican

  21. I don’t believe they have a choice at this time. It has been called “Check Mate.” We all know how my movie “Doctor Strangelove” ended. 

    For their sake [National Security reasons], they have no more crafty word play options by the Turkish friends here in the United States.

  22. P.S.  Too, Turks and Azeris, muslims together, are determined to ‘eliminate’ all remaining relics/sites of the Christian Armenian culture – wherever these existed, exist still.  Unbelieveably, in Washington DC, the memorial site built by American citizens to honor our President Woodrow Wilson has been abused by monies spent by Turks.  In USA! (Wilson’s site attacked since he’d spoken up for the Armenians…)  
    All  Armenian cathedrals,  churches and more… for the muslim today is to ‘eliminate’ all these ancient and intelligently created sites in pursuing their policy of diminishing the existence of Armenians completely.  First, Genociding eliminating the Armenian nation, next, followed by their policy to eliminate any and all signs that the Armenian nation, an advanced and enlightened ancient peoples ever existed on our planet.  Obviously, to eliminate all traces of Armenians who were the first nation/state to recognize Christianity as their national religion in 301AD (Rome 307AD). Hence their actions become obvious… With such a ‘policy’ Turks and Azeris have decided that no trace of Armenians shall remain on our planet!  Well Turks and Azeris decided!! Sadly, civilized nations of the world – are silent. Yet, also, silence also shouts/ indicates – loud and strong:  Acquiescence!

  23. After reading all of your posts, not one of you still get it!! Stand back and take a moment to re-read all of your posts. Do some of you start seeing it now? Take another minute or two. Do you see it now? For those who finally can see “the light”, congratulations! Now you are beginning to see and understand why the world feels the way that they do about you ARF dashnaks, and why you will ultimately fail! As for you others…oh well!! As you can see, you really don’t need me, or anyone else for that matter, to point out to you that which is so obvious.

  24. Robert, why not simply admit the truth of the genocide?  You fail to back up your denial with evidence and your knee jerk anti-Dashnak propaganda is becoming silly.  I hope those who read your comments realize your are not interested in truth but simply denying Turkey’s responsibility in a terrible crime committed for the sake of preserving stolen lands for Turks alone.  Your ancestors invaded the ancient homelands of the Byzantine Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians, Kurds, etc., and forced the inhabitants into subjugation to their Muslim overlords. When Armenians (and others) refused to allow their cultures to be subsumed and absorbed by the Ottoman pan-Turkic ideology, your ancestors annihilated them.  How noble.  Murder, deny, blame the victim, deny some more, destroy remnants of Armenian civilization or claim them as your own.   Why not take example from Orhan Pamuk, Taner Akcam and other Turks who are willing to be honest about what happened.   Armenians will never forgo the truth for your twisted reality.

  25. Robert, [if that is your real name]

    Some of the greatest American heroes like Harry “K-BARR” Kizirian and the “Tarawa Twins” aka the “Iwo-Jima Twins” [Derian brothers] were Dashnaks and ARYF who killed a lot of evil for this country.

    Your ploy [“1984”] style is not going to work here. It might work in other countries, but, not here.

  26. Dashnaks, the ARF and the AYF are just as wholesome and American as the song “American Pie.”

    If you don’t believe me, read the book “The Armenian American In WWII [and Korea].”

  27. **Robert** you’re back with different name again and with the same                                          Lies you’re only here for DISTORTING the truth.                                                                           I remember when you were factivaras/hamashdag/ Mardehros Efendi;And more,                           you always had a title like Dr. so and so, or a historian with extremely high degrees                      from a shiny University in Paris, what happened? that’s no-go anymore you                             couldn’t make the Armenians to buy that, you will push this for another three                              days or a week, then you will start softening-up you’re position on the issues                                  then you will disappear briefly only to re-appear again fresh with a deferent name.
    Because of Tashnags we are here trying to educate you turks that were left behind                         in you’re turk history-books, you don’t like Tashnags that is tuff,

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