President Barack Obama commemorated the victims of the Armenian Genocide reiterating his position that his views on the Armenian Genocide have not changed reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). The President recalled the "darkness of the Meds Yeghern," says the Armenian Assembly of America.
"While the President continued to incorporate his prior views in which he squarely affirmed the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Assembly is deeply disappointed that his April 24th statement did not explicitly reference the Armenian Genocide. While President Obama encouraged and tried to provide a safe harbor for Turks who have come forward in acknowledging Turkey's genocidal legacy, the best safe harbor the President can provide is to reiterate the United States' position as reflected in the 1951 filing before the International Court of Justice, President Ronald Reagan's 1981 Proclamation, as well as the 1993 Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision which found that U.S. policy recognizes the Armenian Genocide.
In a refutation of the assumptions in the February 2012 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision in the Movsesian case, the President stated: "As we reflect on the unspeakable suffering that took place 97 years ago, we join millions who do the same across the globe and here in America, where it is solemnly commemorated by our states, institutions, communities, and families." By doing so, the President has directly acknowledged the prerogative of each state to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, of which 43 states are on record. It also supports the earlier opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court December 2010 decision, which made reference to President Obama's previous use of the word Meds Yeghern and indicated that "'Meds Yeghern is the [Armenian] term for Armenian Genocide.'"
The President's statement today also echoed his April 23rd address at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum wherein he announced the formation of the Atrocities Prevention Board: "Through our words and our deeds, it is our obligation to keep the flame of memory of those who perished burning bright and to ensure that such dark chapters of history are never repeated."
Yesterday, President Obama underscored that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States." Yet today's statement, by employing the Armenian, and not English, term for the Armenian Genocide, fails to live up to the President's repeated promises to unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide. President Obama's April 24th statement reflects another missed opportunity to squarely confront genocide denial, and needlessly weakens the laudable objectives of the newly created Atrocities Prevention Board.
"The cause of genocide affirmation and prevention is a fundamental issue for all of humanity," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "Only by squarely acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, and confronting Turkey's denial, can the promise of the prevention be realized and truly give meaning to the words never again."
"Armenian-Americans will not rest until the United States stands firmly with the community of righteous nations, wherein 20 countries have affirmed the Armenian Genocide," concluded Ardouny.