Obama issued a statement Wednesday calling the Armenian genocide an atrocity, refusing to call it by its real name, which is “genocide.” The US government, in a craven and contemptible manner, has for decades refused to call it genocide, apparently for fear of upsetting Turkey.
Like other presidents before him, Obama had indicated while campaigning his intention to apply the term genocide. That played well among Armenian-American voters. Once in office, though, he shifted position.
Why am I not surprised?
1.5 million Armenian were exterminated by Turkey in 1915. I’d call that genocide, wouldn’t you?
There is one US politician who, for decades, has had the courage to call it genocide. As a US senator, he consistently entered resolutions to call it that. They were always voted down. The senator came back on a stretcher from WW II more dead than alive. An Armenian immigrant doctor, Hampar Kelikian, saved his arm and probably his life and never took a dime for his work. Kelikian survived the genocide. His sisters didn’t. He told the senator about it and the senator worked tirelessly to return the favor. And that is why Bob Dole is held in the highest esteem by Armenians.
Isn’t it a shame so many of politicians refuse to do the right thing?
PS An Armenian friend tells me in the aftermath of the genocide when Armenians were wandering the countryside homeless and traumatized, Muslims opened the hearts and homes to them, and that this was a kindness Armenians will never forget.