Go to the 46 second mark in the video, and you’ll see a young Senator Barack Obama speaking about the Genocide. But this video differs from current statements on the Genocide by the White House quite a bit. Here is Obama recognizing that a genocide did take place, and urging Turkey to recognize it as well, yet in his sixth year of office he has gone back on his promise for the sixth time to officially recognize the genocide that occurred.
Deeply disappointed in the choices the President has made recently, I wrote this letter to him on behalf of both Youngchange-Bestchange and myself to urge him to take action. I don’t have to be Armenian to know that my Armenian friends and their community deserves better. You can read it below.
Dear Mr. President,
The Armenian Genocide remains one of the most infamous incidents in the collective history of humanity, yet it rarely garners significant attention outside of the Armenian community. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians in a population of two million were killed or deported between 1915 and 1923, in a systematic cruelty only comparable to the Holocaust. But unlike the victims of the Holocaust, the victims of the genocide have not received their memorial or their recompense by the past perpetrators of this violence, the government of Turkey. Therefore, I urge you, Mr. President, to act on previous campaign promises to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide and to politically pressure our Turkish allies to admit to the atrocities committed almost a century ago.
It is crucial to the moral integrity of the nation that we should uphold the values this country was founded on and combat longstanding injustice. It is true that the White House has released annual statements commiserating with the plight of the Armenian people, but the word, “Genocide” has never been explicitly used. This is disappointing, as in a January 8th campaign speech in 2008 you stated that,
“As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution , and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
Understandably, there are political issues hampering your ability to facilitate change, but politics should never inhibit the pursuit of morality in issues like these. When such a multitude of people have lost their lives in such a brutish fashion, a powerful country like the United States owes it to the victims and the Armenian-American community to at least recognize the genocide that took place not so long ago.
Additionally, it is an unfortunate truth that the Republic of Turkey still has not come to terms with the violence orchestrated by the previous regime of the Young Turks. In fact, under the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, it makes even speaking of the genocide a punishable offence of up to two years in jail. Even though the United States and Turkey hold a strategic alliance with each other, the land of the free should not condone such flagrant violations of free speech. Instead, our nation should use its influence and politically pressure Turkey into realizing that denying historical fact has no place in today’s modern society.
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not just an Armenian issue. Mr. President, recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a global issue, one that transcends race or social divisions. I love my country, and I know in my heart that we will not stand by any longer while victims of this atrocity and their relatives are told that it was never genocide and it never happened. We are entering a landmark 100th year of denial by the Turkish government. We have the choice to either watch from the sidelines, or come forward by recognizing the genocide and by politically pressuring Turkey to do the same. Mr. President, which one will you choose?
Agree with the letter I sent? Add your voice to the message by commenting why you believe the Genocide must be recognized.
Thanks to Arthur Martirosian for providing the site with pictures of the 2015 “March for Justice” in Hollywood.