On this 95th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, what can we say? A charismatic President Barack Obama — who provided the most promising language to acknowledge the Armenian genocide in decades — proved to be a major disappointment. This is not “what change looks like.”
His administration put more effort into preventing the March 4 House resolution acknowledging the genocide from going to a full vote — and into encouraging Turkish-Armenian protocols that have done nothing to further relations or border improvement between those nations. At best, Turkey merely tolerates Armenia in these diplomatic dances.
Yet how much more proof does the world need to know the Armenian genocide was real? Bob Simon of “60 Minutes” digging up the bones of our deported, death-marched ancestors in the Der Zor desert of Syria last month? Our remaining genocide survivors in wheelchairs still commemorating the genocide around the world, because the photographs of their murdered family members propel them to show up for the truth? Insurance policies from New York Life, accounts from Deutsche Bank and Ottoman Empire land deeds — all belonging to Armenians who were killed, with no way for surviving family members to make a claim?
None of this makes Turkey look very good. Neither does Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s March 18 flippant remarks about deporting 100,000 Armenians from Turkey. Now, for various reasons, Turkey finds itself on the bad side of Israel, the U.S. and other nations. Extremist Muslims who see Turkey as too secular or western are creating an environment of danger there, such that travel alerts are currently being issued warning U.S. citizens not to travel to Turkey.
Only when the world cares enough about this issue will the Turkish government feel, perhaps, enough pressure to face the truth — because it certainly doesn’t have that moral compass within. This editorialist and others have spent years citing all the common statistics of how many million Armenians were lost in 1915, how many American and European diplomats and missionaries wrote firsthand accounts of the Armenian genocide they witnessed in various villages, how Turkey has denied the truth in many ways and how many other regimes have studied the Armenian genocide to plan their own destructive agendas. There are many Web sites available to study those statistics including www.armenian-genocide.org.
We Armenians are again deeply disappointed to have our hopes raised, then dashed; to hear promises made to us that are not fulfilled and see other nations’ economic agendas crowding out the needs of our own homeland. Others may say our country is not the only one who experiences such disappointments and that we should join the club.
Join the club? Friends, Armenia started the club.
Resident, San Diego