Enough is enough: Recognize the Armenian genocide

Eileen Mansoorian

After 93 years of fighting for recognition, there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Exactly 93 years ago today, soldiers from the Ottoman Empire were given orders to execute high-ranking males of the Armenian community in Constantinople. They went into the homes of religious leaders, educators, and artists and said to come with them. There was no remorse, no warning, and no chance to fight back. It was, what the United States government has not recognized, a genocide.

It is no secret that the Armenian Genocide happened. There are pictures and documentations on the atrocities that can fill up a museum. If a person has done their research, there is no way they can deny the inhumane acts of the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century as an act of genocide.

The U.S. government, on the other hand, still has not come forth and declared to the world that they, as a nation, recognize the crimes committed upon the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire. There have been governors and senators that publicly recognized the incident as genocide, but the nation as a whole has failed to do so.

In October 2007, there seemed to be some hope for Armenians to the genocide recognized by the U.S. government. House Resolution 106, which was introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA] on Jan. 30, called for the President “to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.”

There were petitions and rallies in support of the legislation, which resulted in a 27-21 win and the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopting the resolution. The support for the resolution seemed astounding, and the Armenian community believed recognition was on the horizon after all these years.

Unfortunately, once the momentum for the passage of this resolution began to pick up speed, the voting on the bill was postponed until the timing for the recognition of the resolution was more favorable, as was said in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on October 25, 2007 by lead author of the resolution Rep. Schiff and others.

At the rate the U.S. government is going, the chances of the resolution being brought back onto floor doesn’t look so good. When is the timing right to bring this resolution into discussion? When there is world peace and all relations between the U.S. and the Middle East are friendly?

If that is the case, then I suppose the resolution will never be brought back into the light if politicians are waiting for the world’s political climate to be at a stable temperature.

Excluding the U.S., other countries have recognized the atrocities committed on the Armenian people as genocide. France and Canada both recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1998. When will it be the U.S.’s turn to do so?

Even though having other countries publicly recognize the genocide will always be one step closer to having worldwide recognition, if the U.S. doesn’t pass legislation that announces to the world that the events that occurred in the beginning of the 20th century were an act of genocide, then the Armenians have a long way to go.

The fact that a world power such as the U.S. still has not recognized the Armenian Genocide shows their moral compass is not pointed towards truth, but in the direction of political agenda. Their inability to do the right thing gives the connotation that we should forget about the 1.5 million lost lives and concentrate on the all to important naval base Turkey holds in the palm of their hands.

I suppose the reasoning behind the U.S. stalling action towards recognizing the Armenian Genocide is to prevent any political strains with their relationship with Turkey.

The Los Angeles Times writer Richard Simon reported on October 26, 2007 that Turkey was threatening the U.S. if they passed the resolution that recognized the Armenian Genocide there would be serious repercussions that would affect the U.S. military efforts in Iraq.

Since the situation in Iraq was and still is highly sensitive, support for the resolution quickly subsided. This came to the satisfaction of the Turkish government, who do not recognize the killings of the Armenians as an act of genocide.

The withdrawal of support for the resolution could have legitimately prevented any further damage to the War in Iraq. With direct threats coming from Turkey, the U.S. would naturally do everything necessary to keep their political relationship with Turkey on good terms. By not having the resolution pass, the U.S. can continue sending supplies to Iraq through Turkey and not have to worry about any military attacks that would worsen the War in Iraq.

But when does it become right to put human rights on the back burner?

Due to the political state of the world, the passage of this resolution could have had a negative effect on the U.S. But how long can our government continue making excuses for not recognizing a genocide that is as real as the genocide occurring in Darfur?

As human beings, the U.S. owes it to the 1.5 million perished lives to recognize the Armenian Genocide in hopes of it bringing the Turkish government’s moral compass into focus, recognizing the killings of the Armenian people as an act of genocide and not casualties of war.