If President Trump recognizes the Armenian Genocide by specifically using the word “genocide” in his April 24 proclamation, he would send a strong signal to the world that America is unequivocally on the side of historical truth and the protection of innocent life. He would be only the second president, after Ronald Reagan, to do so boldly and officially.
Every year on April 24 there are memorial services, marches, and media reminders of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The beginning of the massacres is marked on that date in 1915, when hundreds of Armenian community leaders, merchants, and intellectuals were rounded up and killed in Constantinople.
That horrific incident was followed by the sorts of activities you’d expect of a government intent on mass slaughter of an ethnic group: propaganda campaigns intended to vilify Armenians in the eyes of their Turkish neighbors; conscription of all Armenian men ages 20-45 to deprive their families of their protection; gun confiscation programs; the release of violent criminals from prisons in order to form “chetes” or killing squads targeting Armenians; mass deportations and death marches into the Syrian desert with little to no food or water; and much more. I’ve written in detailabout the genocide for The Federalist.
As the granddaughter of genocide survivors, I’ve always been well aware of those atrocities and hardships suffered a century ago. But most Americans are completely unaware, and the ignorance is growing. This is especially the case as our education establishment treats any serious study of history as, well, a thing of the past.
Official U.S. Recognition of This Genocide Has Been Thorny
For the United States, where many Armenian refugees settled, official government recognition of the genocide has never been a simple matter of acknowledging the historical record. Several American presidents in recent history issued commemorative proclamations that mourn the massacres and the tragedy of the killings, but—with the notable exception of Reagan—do not call it a genocide.
Turkey has been a key U.S. ally, and it is deeply offended by any mention of the genocide, which has long been a taboo subject in that nation. This is in stark contrast to Germany’s reckoning with its Nazi past and responsibility for the Holocaust shortly after World War II. But despite the passage of a century, the Turkish government seems to have grown ever more resistant to hearing that its Ottoman forebears had...Read More HERE