The great thing about history, and truth, is that it is immutable and although we try to revise it — that truth stands. As the wise man said, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” You see, history has no regard for those who turn a blind eye — they will be forced to respect what happened. And for the astute, history is a rich source for future lessons. Then there are those who choose not to honor history — and shamefully so, for they also dishonor those who have been victims of history’s horrific moments.
This is why General Eisenhower wanted pictures to be taken of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps so we would not forget — but more so, that we would “NEVER forget.”
A most horrific moment in our world history will soon have its 100th anniversary — but how many remember, or recognize it? Not our president.
As reported by Politico, “President Barack Obama will not use the word “genocide” to describe the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians in his annual statement commemorating the historic atrocity later this month. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes informed Armenian-American activists of the decision in a meeting at the White House on Tuesday.”
“Obama will send Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to Armenia this week to represent the United States at a commemoration of the genocide, a years-long slaughter traditionally observed on April 24. Historians mark 1915 as the start of the genocide, making this year the 100th anniversary. The Armenians were slaughtered during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, largely in what is modern-day Turkey, at the end of World War I. Today’s Turkish leaders are infuriated by charges that the founding fathers of their nation committed genocide.”
What I find amazing is that we in America do not demand the same standard of historical integrity on others that we place on ourselves. And why is it that President Obama would vehemently remind us at the National Prayer Breakfast of the Crusades — but has an issue speaking of this part of history?
I figure if the president could recall an event from 1095, well, it should be easy to be forthright with something that just happened in 1915. And let’s be honest, it wasn’t just the Armenian genocide but the Ottomans were also guilty of genocide against the Assyrians as well. So, is it wrong or offensive to speak historical truth? It would be like America being infuriated by another country addressing slavery and segregation. Does Turkey believe itself so above reproach that it cannot accept this part of its history? Do the Turks feel somewhat justified? No nation is without a stain, a black eye in its existence and only an advanced and mature nation can admit its wrongs.
I find it somewhat perplexing that a president so willing to condemn his own country finds it difficult to admit the wrongs of another. And the Secretary of the Treasury is representing the United States? C’mon, what is on Vice President Joe Biden’s schedule? If I were occupying 1600 Pennsylvania, I’d be attending this event – it’s just that significant in the history of the world.
It’s just that important to remember the horrors suffered by 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children. It is important that the so-called “leader of the free world” stands for liberty and says, “never again.” Or perhaps it is more vital for America not to “infuriate” Turkish President Erdogan — an Islamist who has a track record of supporting islamic terrorism — and turning a blind eye.
And one thing history does — it keeps a record, and sometimes that record shows hypocrisy. “As a candidate in 2008, Obama issued a statement promising to describe the plight of the Armenians as a genocide, but in his previous five statements he has not done so — mainly to avoid a rupture in diplomatic relations with Turkey, a NATO ally and key partner in addressing the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.”
“Armenian-American leaders, hopeful that the 100th anniversary and recent support for their view from Pope Francis, were dejected on Tuesday. “This is a betrayal of the truth, a betrayal of trust, a disgraceful national surrender to a foreign gag order being imposed by the government of Turkey,” said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, who attended the White House meeting.”
I must admit, Turkey may be a “NATO member” but I don’t exactly find it an actual ally. I will never forget the way Turkey changed its mind in 2003 on our unit, the US 4th Infantry Division, to be allowed to conduct our offensive operations into Iraq from the north. We had been promised safe passage and port reception and deployed our equipment only for it to be rejected and turned around, having to transit through the Suez canal and into Kuwait. Some of you can only imagine the damage to our vehicles and equipment after almost two months at sea – that’s not how an ally treats another. Then again, I suppose that’s what Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel say often.
“Sources familiar with the issue say the White House also considered sending U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who has written in detail about the Armenian genocide, but that she is not expected to join the trip.”
And this is also once again causing a little rift in the Democrat party, especially from the California representative who has a significant Armenian population. “I’m deeply disappointed that the president, once again, will fail to properly describe the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923 for what it was — genocide,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “How long must the victims and their families wait before our nation has the courage to confront Turkey with the truth about the murderous past of the Ottoman Empire? If not this president, who spoke so eloquently and passionately about recognition in the past, whom? If not after 100 years, when?”
To the Armenian people, let me say this, I fully recognize the savage brutality your people had to endure at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire. There are no words that can heal the pain of families who will be forever scarred. However, there will come a day in America when a courageous leader, a student of history — not just some soothsayer who can deliver empty political rhetoric — will stand with you on this Day of Remembrance and will utter the words of truth — the world today stands in recognition of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Until that day, accept my humble condolences, and remembrance.