LETTER: Obama Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

In a situation where we are insisting on semantic precision from the president, Asbarez Post’s article title “Obama refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide” is at best erroneous, and quite honestly, hypocritical.

The president stated “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,” and added “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 of 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.”

Upon reading the above it’s only natural to wonder what is the president’s own view that he has not changed? Well, candidate Obama on January 19th, 2008 had articulated his view as follows: “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

I find it difficult that any fair minded person, reading the president’s statement will reach Asbarez’s conclusion that the president refused to recognize the genocide. He certainly recognized the Armenian Genocide even if he failed to use the word “Genocide.” It does not take much sophistication to appreciate the difference between “fail” and “refuse,” and “fail” he did, but “refuse” he did not.

This is not to deny, that I along with Asbarez have every reason to be angry with the presidents convoluted way of stating the facts. We have every reason to be angry when the leader of the free world allows the ersatz sensitivities of a foreign government compromise his articulation of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.

Nevertheless, we should not let our anger to get in the way of having the necessary agility to draw the maximum benefit from this and other presidential statement. Unfortunately, Asbarez not only failed in this regard but also set the tone for other media outlets by providing an Armenian source to frame the statement as refusal to recognize the Genocide.

While Asbarez can go on and egg the president to its heart’s content, the misguided characterization does the recognition campaign no favors. Instead of taking the president’s statement as an actual recognition of the genocide and force the deniers to prove that it isn’t. Asbarez undermine the effort and aids the deniers by turning the statement on it head and announcing that the president “refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

I am hoping that in the future Asbarez will exercise greater precision in characterizing the president’s statements on the Armenian Genocide, especially when that is exactly what it is demanding of him.

Antranik Jarchafjian

Editor’s Note: In expressing his opinion on the matter, Mr. Jarchafjian speculates that Asbarez was not precise in its reporting or choosing of the headline that accompanied the said news report.

The use of the word Genocide has political and legal ramifications. Both Ankara and Washington know this. President Obama’s campaign pledge was to use the word “Genocide” in reference to the Armenian Genocide and he failed, once again, and thus refused to recognize the Genocide, as was characterized by the Asbarez headline.

By quoting Obama’s pledge in the aforementioned letter, Mr. Jarchafjian clearly demonstrates Obama’s campaign promise and his subsequent refusal to deliver.

The president’s continued use of the word “Medz Yeghern” as a means to dodge his promise is, at best, patronizing to Armenian-Americans, but more importantly it damages the Armenian Cause.

Here’s what Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of the Turkish parliament and spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Affairs Commission from the ruling Justice and Development party told Media Max in an interview after the release of the Obama statement: “I believe that ‘Medz Yeghern’ is an invaluable term for a positive language about the events of 1915. ‘Medz Yeghern’ is a term whose scope should be widened. World War I and the events leading to the war, namely the physical removal of Turks and Muslims from the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Middle East was a Great Catastrophe for us as well. Turks, Kurds and Armenians in the eastern front of the empire truly experienced a Great Catastrophe […] The Armenians lost their homes and property and had to leave Anatolia. There were many deaths and it was an immensely sad chapter of this region’s history […] I hope that when we establish diplomatic relations, open borders and when our peoples get the chance of direct communication with each other, we will be able to elaborate positive wordings.”


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  1. john said:

    Is this not a lesson for all Armenians? How many times will it take till we learn that all Presidents will eventually do the will of the State Department to appease a bunch of Mongols. And even if, God forbid for the Turks, if at one time the word Genocide were to be blurted out, then what? What happened after Reagen said it? Nothing. What happened after 44 states and 20 countries and most all credible historians, even the ICTJ all agreed it was genocide? Nothing. Why doesn’t the Armenians then take it to an international court of law? Why haven’t we done that already? What use will another President who acknowledges it be? Nothing.

  2. Robert said:

    Hey John,

    You and the rest of your Dashnak ilk STILL do not get it, do you?!!! Every President will ALWAYS do the same thing because it’s when they take office do they ALL see the tremendous importance of us Mongols (Turkey) to the rest of the free world, let alone the sphere of influence!! They take a look at Armenia and then, well, the rest is a no brainer! Armenia offers absolutely NOTHING to anyone! Their main import in foreign aid while therir major export is STILL terrorism (check out Amnesty International and the US State Department Reports yourself)!! Why would any sitting President take a stupid chance of trading a trusted friend and long proven ally just to appease some two-bit massively corrupt, lying, untrustworthy, sverely religioulsly oppressed, economically poor, whining nation like Armenia?

    Tell us John, if your country of Armenia is so great, honest, sincere and righteous (LMAO!), then why do they STILL refuse to this day to open their archive in Yerevan and Boston, MA? What are they hiding? What froghtens them so much? Why are they soooo oppossed to the establishment of a neutral, non-biased historical commission to investigate completely and examine ALL evidence and documents from ALL nations archives? Turkey is on record as accepting whatever their final outcome report may produce AND abide by it! If their is a complete mutual agreement that a planned “genocide” occurred, Turkey will make restitutions! This is on record!!! What will Armenia do if the opposite is found? And there in lies the rub! Armenia can NEVER take a chance for that to EVER ocurr, because by doing so, the world will then know completely about Armenia’s century-old con job upon the Christian nations! Armenians refuse to even debate us in an open public forum with full media coverage!! So given all of these facts, why is it a surprise to any of you when a President renigs on any pledge that he may have made prior to taking office?

    Would you all like some cheese with your whine?!!!

  3. Roger said:

    Hi Robert

    I don’t know how many times we need to study archives and facts to determine that a Genocide has occured. The international scholars have concluded that a genocide occured from 1915 to 1918 by the Ottoman’s against the Armenian’s, there is overwealming international evidence as such on record already without the need of opening of Turkish atchives. Hitler himself said it in a speech mirroring the holocaust to the Armenian Genocide. There is a letter written from Taalat Pasha at the time stating that he gave the order to exterminate Armenians from their land. There is abundant correspondance, news reports, embasador accounts and pictures on record. It is obvious who is the murderer and who is the victim in this picture. Turkey wants to open it’s so-called archives that have been alterred and scensored to the world to prove that no genicide has occured, in order to chage history. Given Turkey’s stance on human rights and freedom of speech, (Hrant Dink) any archives that it offers on this issue will be highly misrepresented and bias, so deemed useless.

    People like yourself who have been grossly misinformed for 95 years of a dark past in your country’s history, should do a little research into your past. You might be surprised to find out that you might even have Armenian roots. There were many Armenian’s who were saved from extermination by generous and courageous Turks, and many Armenians orphans were asimulated in Turkish families. Check the roots of your parents and grandparents, who might actually be Armenian Genocide Survivours, before branding yourself as a genocide deinier.

    It really does not matter if Obama uses the “G” work or not, Obama is not important. The people and government of Turkey have to come to terms, and face their past. The world will not think any less, in fact, it would show you have courage and rightousness. Modern Turkey has a lot to offer to the world, but it is always over shadowed by this dark cloud of Genocide Denial.

  4. Edward Mouradian said:

    Dear Robert, Many thanks for your kind offer of leftover madcow cheese-the favourite national food of the noble and tHrustworthy pillars of world civilization the MONGOLS!!! Now the world found out the reason for the bright-minded thinking of geniuses like you! Until now we thought it was over-consumption of pork causing the rebirth of the soul of the eaten animal into the body of the eater-Mongol Robert and his ilk.Looking forward your revelations and prophesies after you eat the bird-flu tartar-kebabs. Hoping your generous soul will forgive the bloody armenians for the Genocide of millions of Mongols. Please give us your real name /Robert doesn`t sound very mongol to me/ and hut or tent address to send the money for compensation of the victims

  5. john papazian said:

    @Edward M What are you like 12? You’d think that getting some guttless American politcian to say the “G” word is going to make all the difference in the world,well its not.@Robert Denial is great when there is political cover and yes Turkeys status as an “allie in the war on terror” can’t be dissmissed by the Americans,that is if Turkey can really be trusted. I guess we’ll see when it comes to siding with fellow Muslims or America. Ain’t politics grand?

  6. Edward Mouradian said:

    re:John Papazian says: John,I`m 11&a half & I see how a creep hiding behind the name of Robert is making fools of all the armenians who are taking him so seriously they write back in anger and quarrel with the jerk.I wrote him back a few times and now he took offense,promising to shut down the armenian sites he writes to.Unfortunately he hasn`t written anything in the last 4 days and I already miss him sooo mucho.And John, there is a proverb that says : It doesn`t matter what is being said, it matters who says it.The guttless politicians make all the difference in the material world and that`s where we all live ,like it or not.Politics is a game of whores financed by dupes -another few centuries old proverb for you.

  7. Vasken said:

    Undeniably, President Obama denied twise since he became president, but he may deny one more time…, like St. Peter did 2000 years ego before the rooster crow’d (Luke 22-61); Nevertheless, the president Obama’s “views” are on record, which I think, if he is called to give evidence of witness for his views in an Internationale Court of Justice, he can’t deny. Then he will rely on the Might of U.S. Archive.

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