The Armenian Genocide in Politics: Recognize Without Offending Anyone
There are certain times when it is a given that you are going to lie, or make promises you can't keep. Like when the police officer asks "what's in the bag?" Or every New Year's resolution made while currently doing the thing you are going to quit. And of course, when you are running for the presidency and have to please one of the most diverse and expectant populations on the planet.
Recently, President Barack Obama has come under fire for his failure to acknowledge what many people refer to as the first modern genocide that happened between 1915 and 1917 at the hands of the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
This practice is of course common for world leaders who don't want to stir the global pot of regretful feelings and unpunished mistakes.
However, the big issue with Obama not saying that the forced emigration and slaughter of more than a million people by Ottoman Turks is that during his campaign for presidency, he said that he "stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide."
In the same breath he went on to say that "the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable."
However, now members of the Armenian American community, left and right in their stances, are slamming him for a speech given on April 6 in Turkey where he didn't drop the G-bomb.
Instead, Obama spent time encouraging the Turkish government to stop denying, or conveniently forgetting about the Armenian Holocaust, or genocide, or mass slaughter, or whatever it may be referred to as. His rationale is clearly that it may be better to just work on getting them to admit there is a problem in the first place.
It's the same thing you would do with an alcoholic, then eventually they go around and apologize to everyone for what they have done, and hopefully they stop doing it all together.
Simply put, Turkey has a big fourth step, but we still need to get them to step one.
In addition, Obama has currently not broken his promise outright. He referred to the genocide as an atrocity multiple times, and condemned it harshly. Realistically, he went about it intelligently, by not being overly offensive which may have had the potential to shut down relations on that particular subject.
In the first place, the majority of his speech was supposed to be an affirmation of the United States' alliance with Turkey, and was supposed to combat the notion that the US is not "at war with Islam."
The remarks made about The Armenian Holocaust were unexpected and may have done something to open a dialogue, which should be seen as better than nothing.
In fact, we should be glad that they came from our president's mouth instead of in the form of another "NeverEnding Story," which did wonders in the box office and was supported by metaphor-inept crowds of German moviegoers.