As Obama Seeks To Stop Genocide in Darfur, Calls Intensify for Affirmation of Turkey’s Genocide of Armenians
LOS ANGELES – The United States has the best chance in a generation to help end the cycle of genocide and recommit the world to the noble and necessary cause of a future without genocide. Inspired by this fierce urgency of now, thousands across the state of California will rally at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles (6300 Wilshire Boulevard) on Friday April 24 at 4pm to call for an end to over a century of race murder, fueled by Turkey’s ongoing denial of its genocide against the Armenian people.
Last year, nearly 15,000 activists converged on the Turkish Consulate amid intensified activity by the Turkish government to prevent the U.S. House of Representatives from recognizing the Genocide.
“We as Armenian-Americans know that our nation should properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, and all subsequent genocides,” said Vache Thomassian, the chairman of the AYF. “Now, more than ever, we have to rise above political expedience and take a moral stance against genocide ‘s and I firmly believe Barack Obama has the integrity to be the leader that does so.”
This year’s demonstration converges with global expectations pertaining to President Obama’s numerous campaign pledges reaffirm the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide. Earlier this month, President Obama traveled to Turkey and stated, “My views are on the record and I have not changed views,” when asked in a press conference about his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The President also referenced the Armenian Genocide in his speech to the Turkish Parliament where he stated, “History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future.”
As a Senator and as a presidential candidate, President Obama was a strong advocate of proper Armenian Genocide recognition and swift action to stop the Darfur Genocide. During his 2008 campaign for the White House, Obama repeatedly pledged to “respond forcefully to all genocides,” including the one currently raging in Darfur.
“Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics’sdisplacement, starvation, and mass slaughter’sthat were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenians back in 1915,” Obama said in the statement. “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”
Previous Presidents have wavered in their commitments to accurately recognize the genocide in their annual statements on April 24. This year, activists across the U.S. are expecting the President to break that trend and bring a long overdue change to U.S. policy on genocide.
Two weeks ahead of the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, President Obama commemorated the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda by urging the United States and its world partners to deepen their commitment to ending the cycle of genocide begun in 1915.
Activists will draw attention to Turkey’s expanding multimillion dollar campaign to erase all memory and culpability of its crime against the Armenian people and how it has spawned a string of genocides, from the Nazi Holocaust to the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur.
Organized by the Armenian Youth Federation, this year’s protest comes a month after U.S. legislators introduced a resolution calling on the U.S. president to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The demonstration will also take place against the backdrop of a series of anti-genocide events organized throughout the U.S. and around the world during Genocide Prevention Month.
In Washington DC, human rights activists will be participating in three full days of Congressional visits to demand U.S. action against the genocide in Darfur and support for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The annual grassroots advocacy campaign, from April 22-24th, is being organized by the Armenian National Committee of America and the Genocide Intervention Network.
Earlier this month the ANCA launched a nationwide effort to urge concrete action by the U.S. government in fully recognizing the Armenian Genocide end finally ending the genocide in Darfur.
Echoing Martin Luther King’s famous remarks at the Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963, the ANCA’s “Fierce Urgency of NOW” campaign has been mobilizing anti-genocide activists across the country to visit www.anca.org/change to learn how the atrocities in Darfur fit into the cycle of genocide that started with the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
The website provides simple ways for citizens to call on President Obama to show “unstinting resolve” in the effort to stop the Darfur Genocide and end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s international campaign of genocide denial.
In 1915 the Ottoman Turkish government set out to annihilate the indigenous Armenian population inhabiting the lands under its dominion. Between 1915-1923, the government executed a systematic campaign to exterminate the Armenian people and remove them from their historic homeland. The Armenian Genocide, recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century by historians the world over, resulted in the death of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and the loss of millions of dollars in property and land now under occupation by the Republic of Turkey.