In Letter to Obama, ARF Youth in Armenia Urge US Recognition of Genocide

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YEREVAN–The youth organizations of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Armenia have delivered a letter to the US Ambassador to Armenia urging US President Barack Obama to stand firm on his positions and recognize the Armenian Genocide in his April 24 address.

The letter, written by the ARF Youth and the ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Association, was sent on behalf of the ARF, the Republican Party of Armenia, and Prosperous Armenia, three of the four parties’s represented in Armenia’s ruling coalition government. The letter was also cosponsored by 30 other political parties operating in Armenia. Orinats Yerkir, the fourth member of the coalition declined to participate in the campaign.

Sasun Sargsyan, a representative of the ARF Youth Union, discussed the initiative during a press conference on Thursday. He said the organization hopes the letter will show the White House that genocide recognition is a vital national issue, both for the people of Armenia and its Diaspora.

Turkey has tried to dissuade Obama and the US Congress from recognizing the Armenian Genocide by asserting the issue is one pushed only by the Armenian Diaspora. Turkish lobbyists and their cohorts in the US media argue that a US recognition of the Armenian Genocide will torpedo diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Yerevan and Anakara and is not in the interests of Armenia.

“Taking into consideration that Turkey propagates that only the Diaspora is pursuing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, we decided to prove once again that it’s not only an issue of the Diaspora, but also Armenia–its political forces, NGOs and youth organizations.”

The letter encourages Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge on April 24 by recognizing “the historical truth [of the Genocide], this time as President of the United States of America.”

“Your recognition of the truth is not only in the interest of the American people, the Armenians and other peoples of the world, but it is especially in the interests of the Turkish people,” the letter reads. “By doing so, you will be greatly contributing to putting an end to Genocide, today and in the future.”

Below is the full text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

You are a believer in change.

We also believe in change.

Changes which are necessary, not only for the United States of America, but for the whole world.

On the eve of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we, the youth of Armenia appeal to you with the expectation, as you stated during your recent trip to Turkey, that you haven’t changed your position on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We hope that you will now fulfill the pledge you have made many times, and in your annual statement on April 24, recognize the historical truth, this time as President of the United States of America.

From the day of its creation, the United States of America adopted human rights, freedom, and democratic values and humanitarian principles. As a witness to the tragedy of the Armenians, President Woodrow Wilson, one of the best proponents of these values, at the end of World War I, in the name of truth and justice, enshrined the rights of the Armenian nation.

We are greatly encouraged that the House of Representatives of the state of Hawaii, where you were born, a few days before the 94th anniversary, officially recognized the Armenian Genocide and condemned Turkey’s policy of denial and as such became the 42nd state in America to do so.

Your recognition of the truth is not only in the interest of the American people, the Armenians and other peoples of the world, but it is especially in the interests of the Turkish people. By doing so, you will be greatly contributing to putting an end to Genocide, today and in the future.

We believe that you will help in reinstating the historical truth.

Mr. President,

Recognize the Armenian Genocide and future generations of the Armenian people will always remember you and your people with gratitude

We believe in you.

A.R.F. Youth Organization of Armenia
A.R.F. Nikol Aghbalyan Student’s Union
April 7, 2009

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