There has been much discussion and disappoint at President Barack Obama’s failure to use the word “genocide” in his first annual April 24 statement to the Armenian American community. Although the term “Medz Yeghern” was used in its place—an Armenian term used only in the context of the Armenian Genocide—and has never before been written or spoken by a U.S. president, many were outraged, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, that Obama did not use the “G-word” should have been expected as only a few weeks ago he was visiting Turkey to reinforce ties between the U.S. and its crucial ally in the Middle East, during a time when the U.S. wages its desperate “war on terrorism” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A far more serious issue must be concentrated on by the entire Armenian nation at this juncture, namely the agreement of “mutual understanding” between Armenia and Turkey that was signed on April 22. The agreement was backed by the U.S., and Obama specifically referred to the recent diplomatic talks being held between the two countries as the main reason for abstaining from properly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide in a press conference held in Turkey. Obama did not want to disrupt the discussions by antagonizing Turkey. Yet, had the president properly recognized the genocide he would in reality have done Armenia a favor had the talks broken down.
Here’s why: Although the Armenian government still refuses to reveal what exactly was stipulated in the “road map” and what the two nations believed to be mutually acceptable in continuing to improve relations, the points of the agreement were leaked to the press, which published the information online. Subsequently the information was printed in Armenian oppositional newspapers, but the points contained in the agreement have yet to be discussed on news programs of television stations that are virtually all government controlled.
The formation of a joint Armenian-Turkish panel to research whether the Armenian Genocide indeed occurred would be a mockery to the 1.5 million victims who fell beneath the Turkish sword. Indeed, it is no longer in the hands of historians to decide whether genocide was committed. Non-denialist historians who have researched the matter have already unanimously determined that genocide did occur. Twenty-one nations around the world have acknowledged the genocide. Therefore the creation of such a body defies logic and wholly undermines worldwide efforts by Armenian activists to have the genocide understood and acknowledged.
The article in its entirety can be read here.
I am becoming weary once again of writing about Armenian politics so hopefully I will be successful in refraining from rehashing these concerns or even others. A couple of weeks ago just a few days after the "road map" agreement was signed and the apparent details were leaked to the press I had a sort of panic attack in my apartment which I don't want to relive. It's time for other people to start worrying about these disturbing issues that face for the most part every Armenian on the planet and the very future of the Armenian nation. Look forward to more stories about the arts, culture, people and learned lessons in automotive repair. The summer's fast approaching and they'll be a lot of interesting things to write about.
P.S.: For an excellent analysis on Armenia's current diplomatic dilemma, see an article written by former foreign minister Vartan Oskanian here.