LOS ANGELES—On Thursday, April 21 at 3 p.m., Armenian Americans from throughout Southern California and across the American and Armenian political spectrums will join together for a public protest calling upon President Obama to honor his broken campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
The demonstration, organized by the Armenian Genocide Community Task Force, will be held outside the President’s first major fundraiser in Southern California for the “Obama Victory Fund 2012,” at the Sony Studios located at 10202 W. Washington Boulevard in Culver City, California. Buses will transport protestors starting at 1:30 p.m. from St. Mary’s Church in Glendale, Rose & Alex Pilibos School in Hollywood, Ferrahian High School in Encino and the North Hollywood Armenian Apostolic Church: 13050 Vanowen St. North Hollywood.
“California’s Armenian American community is eager to see President Obama in Los Angeles,” stated ANCA Western Region Chairman Andrew Kzirian, Esq. “With the President’s 2012 reelection effort now under way, the Armenian American community will remind him of the profound moral and serious geopolitical costs of his decision to break his promise to clearly and unequivocally recognize the Armenian Genocide,” added Kzirian. “In these days leading up to the President’s third April 24th commemoration of this crime, we ask nothing more than that he live up to his own commitments to bring an end to his Administration’s complicity in Turkey’s denials. There is no better way to begin this process than for President Obama to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Montebello and pay tribute to the victims and survivors of this still unpunished crime.”
President Obama’s trip to Southern California comes on the eve of April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Armenian Americans have urged the President to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Bicknell Park in Montebello. The Genocide memorial, constructed in 1965, has been the site of annual commemorative programs, attracting tens of thousands to mark this crime against humanity. In 1969, California Governor Ronald Reagan gave a rousing 15-minute speech at the memorial, stating “Today, I humbly bow in memory of the Armenian martyrs, who died in the name of freedom at the hands of Turkish perpetrators of Genocide.” On April 22, 1981, President Reagan recognized the Genocide in Proclamation 4838, which proclaimed April 26-May 3 as “Days of Remembrance of Victims of Holocaust.” The proclamation stated, “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples—the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”
In a series of letters and statements issued as Senator and candidate, President Obama pledged clearly and unequivocally that he would end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial and properly recognize this crime against humanity. In a January 18, 2008, statement, in the days leading up to the Super Tuesday Primary in California, he stated “As President, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
The complete set of Senator Obama’s statements on the Armenian Genocide can be found here.
Despite repeated opportunities to honor his pledge, President Obama instead chose to promote the ill-fated Turkey-Armenia Protocols, an effort which has emerged as the latest tactic in Turkey’s campaign to undermine international affirmation of this crime. The Obama Administration then went on to oppose Armenian Genocide legislation, H.Res.252, which was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee over the President’s objections. The measure was ultimately not brought to a vote on the House floor by the Democratic leadership, despite the support for its passage by a bipartisan majority of Representatives.