Barack Obama has proven he is more efficient than his predecessor in one area: He managed to diminish the history of two Christian nations in one presidential proclamation — on the eve of Easter. Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise to call the Ottoman Empire’s systematic destruction of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915-23 a “genocide,” something none of his predecessors since Ronald Reagan had done. President Obama has broken that vow ever since. The day of remembrance of this genocide, April 24, fell on Easter Sunday this year, and Americans of Armenian heritage pressured Obama to follow through with his pledge.
Obama’s statement, issued on Holy Saturday, declined to commemorate the Muslim genocide by name, but instead denigrated “the dark chapters in our own history.”
Obama’s “Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day” referred to “horrific events” rather than “genocide.” Although he wrote “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed,” he decided to keep his own view to himself (for once). Instead, ever-so-gently beckoned the aggrieved parties — the offenders and the survivors — to resolve their “contested history.”
Obama’s solution to genocide: the Turkish Coffee Summit.
Both parties promptly rejected the evasive edict. Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) chairman Ken Hachikian branded the statement a “disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats.” The Armenian Assembly of America added “we expect the president to honor his prior commitments and statements.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, insisted the statement was “inaccurate, flawed, and one-sided political characterization of history.” Instead, Tan wrote, “We wished that the president of the U.S., our friend and ally, had shared the pain of the Turks as well.” What’s a genocide commemoration without sympathy for the perpetrators? He, too, asserted Obama’s proclamation was motivated by “domestic political considerations,” although certain strong domestic constituencies continue to lobby against the use of the term “genocide.”
Rather than hold Middle Eastern fanatics to account, Obama used the opportunity to bash the Evil Empire: the United States. In his statement, he added gratuitously:
History teaches us that our nations are stronger and our cause is more just when we appropriately recognize painful pasts and work to rebuild bridges of understanding toward a better tomorrow. The United States knows this lesson well from the dark chapters in our own history. I support the courageous steps taken by individuals in Armenia and Turkey to foster a dialogue that acknowledges their common history. (Emphasis added.)
The man who coined the term “genocide,” Raphael Lemkin, did so after studying the Armenian Genocide, the Meds Yeghern. When most people hear of these atrocities, they think of the Holocaust, the Holodomor, and Pol Pot’s Killing Fields.
When Barack Obama hears about this horrific slaughter, he thinks of the United States of America. Could there be any clearer sign of his disdain and disrespect for the country he was somehow elected to lead?