Saturday, March 31, 2012

Armenian Genocide at USC Shoah Foundation Institute

In April 2010, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute signed an historic agreement with the Armenian Film Foundation and Dr. J. Michael and Antoinette Hagopian. The agreement paves the way for the preservation and dissemination of the largest archive of filmed interviews with survivors of and witnesses to the Armenian Genocide.
With the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people being the first major genocide of the 20th Century, the Armenian Film Foundation’s filmed interviews are significant to the scope of the Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive.
The two organizations and Dr. Hagopian will work together to make approximately 400 testimonies of Armenian Genocide survivors and witnesses available for educational purposes through the Institute’s Visual History Archive.
The Testimony Collection
The foundation’s film archive includes nearly 400 interviews of Genocide survivors and witnesses conducted in 10 countries. The voices of these filmed survivors and witnesses, now deceased, echo from all corners of the world in 10 different languages. The majority of the 400 interviews are either in English or Armenian (some in rare dialects), with some witnesses speaking in Arabic, Greek, Spanish, French, Kurdish, Turkish, German, and Russian. Those interviewed were from 8 to 29 years of age at the time of the Genocide.
The major areas that were covered in those interviews are from the following cities and towns of Anatolia (mainly Eastern Turkey): Adabazar, Eskisehir, Konia, Sivas, Kharpert, Urfa, Aintab, Marash, Malatia, Dickranagerd, Erzeroum, Van, Bitlis, Der Zor, Smyrna, Erzinga, Musa Dagh, Kessab, Aleppo, Shabin Karahisar, Gurun, Sepastia, Banderma, Yozgat, Everek, Hadjin, Zeitoun, Amassia, and Kutahya.
The Armenian Film Foundation
The Armenian Film Foundation was established in 1979 as a non-profit, educational, and cultural organization dedicated to the documentation in motion pictures of Armenian heritage and life. Its goals are to inspire pride in and to create worldwide recognition of the Armenian people and their contributions, and to preserve the visual and personal histories of the witnesses to the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, co-founder of the Armenian Film Foundation, has released 17 documentary films on the Armenian heritage, culture, and history, including an epic trilogy on the Armenian Genocide comprised of Voices from the Lake, Germany and the Secret Genocide, and The River Ran Red.
The foundation has in its archives nearly 400 irreplaceable and invaluable filmed interviews with witnesses and survivors to the Armenian Genocide, as well as Genocide descendants, scholars and others.
Recognizing the pressing need to record the experience of Armenians who were subject to the first genocide of the 20th Century, Dr. Hagopian in 1968 began filming Armenian Genocide survivors and eyewitnesses.
As aging Genocide survivors began dying in large numbers, the Armenian Film Foundation embarked on a massive project to interview on 16mm film the remaining survivors of and eyewitnesses to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. When the survivor interview project commenced in 1982, an estimated 2,500 credible eyewitnesses to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 were still alive. Fifteen percent of these were subsequently completed and documented on film by the Armenian Film Foundation, which retains the original footage, sound tapes, record books, relevant photographs, and other documentation that may have been provided by the survivors and eyewitnesses.
Dr. J. Michael Hagopian
Born to an Armenian family in Kharpert-Mezreh, Dr. Hagopian is a Genocide survivor who has dedicated his life to the visual documentation of the Turkish extermination of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915. In all, his work encompasses nearly 400 interviews of survivors of and witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and 40 years of research.
Dr. Hagopian holds a doctorate in international relations from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He also did two years of graduate work in cinema at the University of Southern California. He taught political science and economics at the University of California at Los Angeles; American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Banaras Hindu University, India; and Oregon State University, Corvallis.
Dr. Hagopian is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Armenian Film Foundation and producer/director of many award-winning documentary films. As President of Atlantis Productions, he has also been engaged in the research, writing and production of educational and documentary films for instructional and informational use in the classroom and on television.
He has written, directed and produced more than 70 educational and documentary films which collectively have won over 160 national and international awards, including two Emmy nominations for the writing and production of The Forgotten Genocide, the first full-length feature film on the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Germany and the Secret Genocide received the coveted First Place Golden Camera Award in the History Category from the 2004 U.S. International Film and Video Festival, the largest festival of its kind. The River Ran Red was voted Best International Historical Documentary by the New York International Film & Video Festival in 2009 and it won second place in the History and Biography categories at the 2009 U.S. International Film and Video Festival.
Several of his films were produced under grants from the U.S. Office of Education and the Ethnic Heritage Program, the MacArthur Foundation, California Endowment for the Humanities, and California State Department of Education.
Dr. Hagopian himself is the recipient of numerous honors, including Jewish World Watch’s “I Witness” Award for dedicating his professional life to chronicling the history of the Armenian people and commemorating victims of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian National Committee honored him as Man of the Year in 2000.
Of the agreement, Dr. Hagopian commented, “We believe this agreement is the beginning of a long-term partnership with the world-renowned USC Shoah Foundation Institute that will promote the study and prevention of future genocides. Inclusion of these filmed Genocide survivor interviews, a ‘national treasure’ of the Armenian people, side by side with testimonies of Holocaust survivors in an archive that can be accessed and searched around the world, will finally help us fulfill our mission of disseminating these eyewitness accounts worldwide.
Victimization and genocide perpetrated and denied in one part of the world, can become the breeding ground for greater crimes against humanity in another part of the world,” said Dr. Hagopian, who is 96 years old and a Genocide survivor himself. “I have felt that it was my responsibility to educate and inform so that history won’t be repeated.”
On Friday, December 10, 2010, J. Michael Hagopian passed away; he was 97 years old. Our work to make the collection of Armenian genocide survivor and witness testimonies available through the Visual History Archive will continue.


Friday, March 30, 2012

European Court accepts disabled Turkish-Armenian journalist’s lawsuit against Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) accepted to examine the lawsuit against Turkey, which was filed by the physically challenged Armenian journalist Cevat Sinet, who lives in Turkey’s Batman (Sasun) Province.
On September 21, 2010, Sinet had applied to for a disability card, but he was denied.
“You are Armenian, it is written ‘Christian’ on your identity card. We cannot give you a disability card,” the Batman Social Service’s civil servant had told and subsequently insulted him.
Next, Cevat Sinet applied to the Human Rights Union, and, with the latter’s assistance, a lawsuit was filed against the civil servant, but the prosecutor’s office ruled against the case.
And after unsuccessfully exhausting all of Turkey’s judicial instances to restore his rights, Sinet finally petitioned to ECHR.
“I applied to the ECHR [against Turkey] for insulting me, mocking my religion, and debasing me,” the Armenian journalist stated.=

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Balakian to Receive Spendlove Prize at UC-Merced

MERCED, Calif.—Peter Balakian, who has brought renewed attention to the Armenian Genocide, will be the 2012 recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.
The University of California, Merced, will award the prize to Balakian during an evening ceremony April 12. The following day at 10 a.m. in the Classroom and Office Building, Room 105, Balakian will give a talk that’s open to the public
The Spendlove Prize was established through a generous gift to the university from Sherrie Spendlove in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove. The prize every year honors an individual who exemplifies the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in his or her work.
“Peter Balakian has been called ‘the American conscience of the Armenian Genocide,’” Sherrie Spendlove said. “Our world history is incomplete without the full story of the Armenian Genocide being inscribed therein for all to see. Genocide in any part of the world in any epoch is an affront to humanity everywhere, in every time.”
“For decades, Peter Balakian has spoken with personal knowledge and great courage about the Armenian genocide,” said Mark Aldenderfer, dean of the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. “Through the award of the Spendlove Prize, we are honored to help him in his efforts to bring to light the horrors experienced by the Armenian people in the 20th century so that they may never be forgotten or repeated by others.”
Balakian is the author of the memoir “Black Dog of Fate,” winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir and a New York Times Notable Book. In the book, Balakian writes about learning what his family and ancestors experienced with the Turkish government’s extermination of more than a million Armenians in 1915, including many of his relatives. The massacre led to the creation of the word “genocide” and served as a template for Nazi Germany’s Holocaust.
In “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response,” Balakian chronicles the massacres of the Armenians in the 1890s and genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Balakian used rarely seen archival documents and remarkable first-person accounts to present the chilling history of how the Young Turk government implemented the first modern genocide behind the cover of World War I. He also resurrects an extraordinary lost chapter of world history.
The book won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and New York Times best seller.
Balakian, the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the department of English at Colgate University, is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry from the “Virginia Quarterly Review.” He has appeared widely on national television and radio including “60 Minutes,” “ABC World News Tonight,” “Charlie Rose” and “Fresh Air.” Foreign editions of his work have appeared in a dozen languages including Arabic, French, Dutch, Hebrew, Greek and Turkish.
The Spendlove Prize Selection Committee is chaired by Aldenderfer and includes a representative from the Spendlove family or a designee; an undergraduate student; a graduate student; a faculty member; and representatives from the UC Merced community.
The Spendlove Prize includes an $8,000 award.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Menendez and Kirk Introduce Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution

WASHINGTON, DC -Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced legislation, S.Res.399, today calling upon the U.S. government to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and to use the lessons of this atrocity to prevent future crimes against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Sen. Robert Menendez
“It is time for the United States to join the nineteen nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and the European Union that have formally recognized the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as genocide,” Senator Menendez said. “The Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and was one of the incidents upon which the Genocide Convention was predicated. Only by accurately acknowledging the crimes of the past can we ever hope to move forward in a legitimate manner and prevent such human rights crimes from happening in the future.”"The Armenian Genocide is well-documented and formally recognized by 11 NATO allies and the European Union. This resolution accurately characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as a genocide, honors the memory of the victims, and strengthens America’s moral leadership on human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities around the world,” said a spokesman for Senator Kirk.
Joining Senators Menendez and Kirk as original cosponsors of the bipartisan measure were Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Human Rights and Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee and Public Works Committee, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Conference, has also joined S.Res.399 as a cosponsor.
“We join with Armenians from New Jersey, Illinois, and around the country in thanking Senators Menendez and Kirk for their many years of leadership in pressing for an end to Turkey’s gag-rule on American condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “Turkey has no right to hold America hostage to its willful refusal as a state to accept a truthful, just, and comprehensive resolution of this crime against all humanity.”
Parallel to this effort, Reps. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have offered a nearly identical measure, H.Res.304, in the U.S. House. Senators Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mark Kirk have introduced S.Res.392, the Senate version of a religious freedom measure that was adopted last December, in the U.S. House calling upon Turkey to return stolen Christian church properties to their rightful owners.
Turkey continues to prosecute writers, for simply speaking about the Armenian Genocide, and threatens retaliation against countries around the world, including the United States and Armenia, that dare to honor the victims of this crime.
Armenian Americans and anti-genocide activists are urged to contact their Senators to cosponsor and work for the adoption of this legislation.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Identity Means?

It might sound cocky, but I don’t think most Armenians in Diaspora know the true definition of self-Identity.
I get emails from Apple quite often, regarding songs that are new, or popular. I received one about a month ago which introduced the new CD of David Crowder band – a young Christian oriented group. Don’t get me wrong, I am not religious at least not in the way that is popular in the mindset of the masses, but I enjoyed the music that this band played, especially one song, or rather, a recording called “Burial.”
It is about a minute long, it starts with the sound of rain, and then you hear a clergyman’s voice (or I assume that is what he is); he clears his throat and starts talking. “As we, the community, have gathered here, I would like to pose a question, how do you sum up a life in a few words? How do you measure the weight of a soul in a matter of moments? You do not, you cannot. But you can pray for rest, and you can pray for light, and you can remember, you can always remember.”
For me, this is a question that also applies to the question of Identity. For instance I can ask “How do you sum up your identity in a few words?” You can’t, can you? It is more than a label, it is something that projects from you and makes you who you are. You can also simplify it a bit. If someone asks you what does the word “Armenian” mean, what will you answer? Will your definition be the basis of its origin, its unique culture, its irreplaceable history or its unmatchable language? None of them can be singled out, and it is a sum of all.
And as anything, everything has its defined cost. If you want a better house, a fancier car, or want to wear a fancier watch or expensive jewelry, the relevant cost gets to be relatively more. Your identity is very much similar, except the relative cost is much more overwhelming. Sometimes you have to give your life, sometimes your knowledge, and sometimes your money, which in this, it is the easiest.
It is very important that we know what we are and who we are, the processes that are invoked on our lives from the day we are born to the last breath is solely attributed and based on that definition.
Artsakh in this case, is a very good example. We sacrificed a lot of lives and spilled much blood to sustain its boundaries… It was a necessary cost to enable us to keep it. After all we were not there on rent, we were the owners.
It has been almost twenty years since Artsakh was liberated. If we want to keep Artsakh, if we want it to be a part of our identity, we cannot devote ourselves of the need of sacrifice… and the sacrifice is to find ways for Artsakh to sustain its population.
An article printed in Armenian in the Thursday, March 1 edition of Asbarez, President of Artsakh Bako Sahakian says, “… it is evident that in 1992 the population of Artsakh was 138,000; today that number is 145,000.” That is less than five-percent growth within the span of 20 years!
I visited Artsakh many times, the last time was in August, and I stayed there for a week. I noticed that the process of building and structure development has exponentially increased in Shushi and Stepanakert, but when I asked the night manager of the hotel about the vast improvement, he answered with a grin. “What improvement,” he said, “that so called improvement is not for the population, It is merely a curtain…you know how much I make as a manager? 70,000 dram (less than $200). Where is the improvement? Define it for me!”
I’m not giving you this example in a negative way. It is the reality of the people living in Artsakh. It is not just that employee, but rather the entire population that has not seen improvement. There is no class separation in that region. The rich are not getting richer and the poor are not getting poorer. Everyone across the board is at a standstill.
The only way to sustain its population is to create a livelihood that transcends employment opportunities beyond agriculture, which is the main industry in Artsakh. Providing water to drink is a necessity of life but it does not sustain Artsakh’s population. The current reality is such that the population growth percentage is around five-percent. That increase is far too little; so a valid question is: why was so much patriotism perpetuated, and wasn’t it a waste to lose so many lives for something that we liberated but were and are not ready to keep, sacrifice for, and sustain?
It is important to achieve liberty but it is also important to sustain it!!!!!!!!
A Scholar for Scientific, Educational, and Cultural Development, Inc. (SSECD) is an organization that pursues projects that tend to improve the quality of life for people who do not have the resources to do it themselves. The SSECD has partnered with the government of Artsakh to create a Computer Information System Department (CIS) department in Artsakh State University. It is a first step, a mere beginning to cultivate the economy of the region. The students that graduate will get a Bachelor’s degree and the knowledge that comes with it. And since computer technology is trans-global, the provided work force can develop and support software anywhere in the world. A good example is India, if they could do it in less than a decade, why can’t we?
In January 16, Artsakh president (Bako Sahakian) gave a speech in Artsakh State University; these are some of its excerpts:
“Education and science have traditionally served as basic means for revealing, developing and applying our principal wealth – the intellectual potential of our society. The future of a nation and a state, the pace and the prospects of its economic development and the development of the other fields depend, to a great extent, on education, and particularly on the higher education.”
“Education plays an invaluable role in the hard process of bringing up the younger generation. Such crucial qualities as patriotism, fairness, decency, law-abidance, which are the pillars of the civilized, democratic, powerful and developed state, are shaped during the educational processes. Hence, even a slight omission can lead to very serious consequences for the development of the country.”
It seems silly to many but it does not to us. We believe in our nation and we have decided to work with it, for it. To find out more information, and see what you can do or how you can help, visit SSECD web site –

George Clooney, Members of Congress Arrested at ANCA Co-Sponsored Protest

WASHINGTON—Actor George Clooney, his father, as well as four members of Congress were among those arrested Friday at a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy organized by United to End Genocide and co-sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of America, among others.
Also arrested for civil disobedience were representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), James Moran (D-Va.), John Olver (D-Mass.) and Al Green (D-Texas), as well as Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide and John Prendergast of the Enough Project and the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous. Also participating in the protest was Martin Luther King III.
“We were pleased by the broad public awareness generated by George Clooney and all of the participants in today’s protest, which we were proud to cosponsor with United to End Genocide”, said ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian. “As Americans of Armenian heritage, who continue to bear witness to the dangerous precedent set by Turkey’s still unpunished crimes of genocide and exile against the Armenian nation, we look forward to helping to translate today’s energy into concrete action by the U.S. and the international community to stop the killing, punish the perpetrators and serve justice for the victims.”
Nahapetian led a group of Armenian-Americans who joined the more than 100 activists to protest the Sudanese government’s continued blockade of humanitarian aid to the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile, where half a million residents are on the brink of starvation.
The ANCA was a co-sponsor of the protest, along with Jewish World Watch, Amnesty International, the NAACP, STAND and a slew of other national organizations. Since July of last year, the ANCA has worked with members of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and United to End Genocide to raise alarm bells regarding the Sudanese Government’s attacks against the civilians of the Nuba mountains – urging Congress to take immediate action to stop the killing.
The Sudanese Armed Forces are conducting a campaign of indiscriminate bombing against civilians of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, causing wide-spread destruction. This combined with the blockade of humanitarian aid has created an urgent humanitarian crisis in the region.
The protest began earlier in the morning with a rally at Sheridan Circle and then moved to the Sudanese Embassy, where Clooney, who testified earlier this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed his recent trip to the Nuba Mountains.
Clooney praised the activism of the local Nuba Mountain residents who are calling for the immediate arrest of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur.
Rep. McGovern has introduced legislation that calls on increasing sanctions on Sudan and engaging countries that have influence on Sudan, among them Turkey. The ANCA will be launching an online action campaign to secure Congressional support for the resolution.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Renewed Drive for Senate Recognition of Genocide to be Launched

WASHINGTON—Senators Bob Menendez, fresh off blocking the flawed nomination of Matt Bryza to a full term as Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and Mark Kirk, who came to the Senate last year after serving as Co-Chairman of the Armenian Caucus in the U.S. House, are set to introduce the Armenian Genocide Resolution, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The two Senators are currently collecting original cosponsors for the genocide-prevention measure, which will, upon introduction, be referred to the Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by John Kerry (D-Mass.). The resolution is being introduced during a closely contested election year, amid increasingly strained relations between Turkey and many of its former friends on Capitol Hill.
Armenian Americans and anti-genocide activists are encouraged to contact their Senators to become original cosponsors of this legislation by sending a free ANCA WebMail at:
“We extend our thanks to Senators Menendez and Kirk for their leadership in putting America on the right side of this human rights issue,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “We look forward to supporting their efforts to ensure that our leaders – in the White House and Congress – reject Turkey’s gag-rule on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide. No one – ally or adversary – deserves a veto on U.S. human rights policy.”
Parallel to this effort, Reps. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have offered a nearly identical measure, S.Res.304, in the U.S. House, and Senators Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Mark Kirk have introduced S.Res.392, the Senate version of a religious freedom measure that was adopted last December, in the U.S. House calling upon Turkey to return stolen Christian church properties to their rightful owners.

Lawsuit filed against Jewish-Turkish journalist for criticizing minister who demanded account from Armenians

Lawsuit filed against Jewish-Turkish journalist for criticizing minister who demanded account from Armenians

March 16, 2012 13:11

Turkey’s Internal Affairs Ministry filed court proceedings against Roni Margulies, the Jewish columnist of the Taraf daily of Turkey, who had written a critical column against Turkish Internal Affairs Minister Idris Naim Sahin, who had made an anti-Armenian speech during the demonstration held in Istanbul on February 26.
Margulies, on the other hand, notes his column insulted no one. “The PM and the Internal Affairs Minister are filing a lawsuit thinking they will force us to stop writing. Do they think we will be afraid? We would not have written if we had feared. We are not stupid. The Minister must apologize not solely to the Armenians, but to entire Turkey as well,” Roni Margulies said.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sassounian: Clinton Should Resign for Making Offensive Remarks

How many times can Secretary of State Hillary Clinton break her pledge and make insulting remarks on the Armenian Genocide before she is called a liar and forced to resign?
Armenian Americans are fed up with Clinton and her boss Barack Obama, who also has not kept his promises on the Armenian Genocide. And the problem transcends their views on the Armenian Genocide. The Obama Administration has failed the community on many issues by cutting foreign aid to Armenia, not backing Artsakh’s right to self-determination, and pressuring Armenia to sign a treaty with Turkey that runs counter to its national interests.
In this column, we shall focus on Clinton, and address our displeasure with Obama’s policies later, in the context of the upcoming presidential elections.
As a U.S. Senator, Clinton co-sponsored a resolution calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2006 and 2008, joining then-Senator Obama, she sent letters to President George W. Bush in which she described the Armenian Genocide as a “systematic and deliberate campaign of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. … The victims of the genocide deserve our remembrance and their rightful place in history.”
On Jan. 24, 2008, as a presidential candidate, Clinton declared in a written statement that the “horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constituted a clear case of genocide. … Our common morality and our nation’s credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the president of the United States.”
After becoming Secretary of State, Clinton must have suffered a bout of total amnesia. During a Jan. 26, 2012 Town Hall meeting at the State Department, she reversed her earlier characterization of a “clear case of genocide” to “a matter of historical debate.” As the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide remain unchanged, what must have changed is Clinton’s moral fortitude to tell the truth!
Clinton’s distorted moral compass outraged the Armenian American community. The Armenian Assembly of America sent a letter to Obama complaining about Clinton’s “untenable” statement, and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) asked Clinton to retract her deeply offensive position that parrots Turkey’s revisionist view of the Armenian Genocide.
On Feb. 28, over 60 House members from both parties sent a joint letter to Clinton expressing their “deeply held concerns” regarding her Jan. 26 statement “mischaracterizing the Armenian Genocide.” They urged Clinton to disavow her “ill-considered statement” and reaffirm her previous commitment to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
On Feb. 29, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) confronted the secretary of state during her testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee. Recalling her earlier truthful statements on the genocide, the Congressman bluntly asked: “Is there any question that you have that the facts of that tragic period between 1915 and 1923 constitute genocide? Do you have any different view on the subject now than you did as a U.S. Senator?”
When Secretary Clinton responded with evasive and euphemistic answers, Schiff chided her: “This is, tragically, very much the line of the Turkish government!”
In her March 1 response to the letters from the Armenian Assembly and ANCA, Clinton once again used euphemisms to avoid the term Armenian Genocide, and urged “Armenia and Turkey to work together to address their shared history.” This was as morally repugnant as avoiding the term Holocaust and urging Jews to work out their differences with neo-Nazis.
Clinton’s March 1 letter also described her 2010 visit to “the memorial at Tsitsernakaberd” in Armenia “as a sign of respect for those who lost their lives during this tragedy.” There are two misrepresentations in this single sentence: She refers to the genocide as “tragedy,” and avoids calling the “Armenian Genocide Monument” by its proper name. Furthermore, she did not invite the international media to cover her “low-profile” visit to the Armenian Genocide Monument, so as not to upset the “delicate feelings” of Turkish denialists. To completely downplay the significance of the visit, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan issued an imprudent press release, describing her brief stop at the “memorial” as “a private,” unofficial visit.
If Secretary Clinton had made similarly offensive comments on the Holocaust, she would have been dismissed from her job on the same day. Armenian Americans should demand no less. Fortunately, Clinton has announced that she will be retiring at the end of this year. We say, goodbye and good riddance!