Open Letter to the President of the United States

A young Armenian holds a sign: "1915 is never forgotten"

The Armenian Youth Federation Western US issued an open letter to President Obama Urging him to recognize the Genocide. Below is the text of the letter.

April 24, 2012
President Barak Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

In 2008 when you ran for president of the United States, thousands of American Armenians registered to vote to elect a president who would properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. Believing in your words that “as president, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide” the Armenian community supported your campaign, became civically active and voted for “hope” and “change.” We voted for hope that this nation would have a leader who stands up for human rights and for change from former Presidents who were complicit in genocide denial.

Yet your promise for hope and change to the American Armenian community to finally rectify past injustices remains unfulfilled. For the past three years, American Armenians have been glued to the television screen on April 24th, expecting to hear the word ‘Genocide’ in your statement directed to our community.  Since your election, the American Armenians have been disappointed with your characterization of the Armenian Genocide as the “Medz Yeghern” and the like, which fall short of proper recognition. Not only have you failed to acknowledge the Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians; your statements also failed to bring the justice that was promised to us during your Presidential campaign.

Your record in regards to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Turkish government from 1915 to 1923 goes against the principled position adopted by your Administration on various human rights issues, including condemnation of Genocides.  Since your election, you have pursued a policy of sanctions and tough diplomatic rhetoric towards the government of the Sudan, which has conducted a genocidal policy against its own people in the region of Darfur.  There was no hesitation on your end to correctly classify the events in Darfur as Genocide.  We, the American Armenians, ask today:  why is it so difficult for you to use the same word in regards to the experience of the Armenian people?    

As the first term of your presidency comes to a close and you seek re-election, the Armenian community feels deceived and betrayed.  We invested a lot of time, energy, and resources in your election and after almost four years in office, it is apparent that your promises were merely campaign rhetoric. But in the final hours of your first term, you have the ability to fulfill your campaign promise.

In 2008 you catalyzed a new voting block of young Americans, appealing to notions of universal justice, fairness, and decency. The American Armenians share those values and expect that our President will do what is right when it comes to an issue, which is important to every American Armenian.  This April 24th, do not turn your back on our community.  We ask, once again, for you to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and help bring justice to those who perished from the hands of the genocidal Turkish state.

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