Breaking Promise, Obama Fails to Recognize Armenian Genocide

April 24, 2015

April 24 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman Empire targeted the mostly Christian population of Armenians, slaughtering up to 1.5 million. When the word 'genocide' was created during the Holocaust, the man who coined the word pointed to Jews in Europe and the Armenians as the examples. The fact that the Armenian Genocide occurred is not in doubt among serious scholars. 


Yet, many U.S. political leaders refuse to use the word 'genocide' to describe the Armenian Genocide. Why? They fear the nation of Turkey (the successor country to the Ottoman Empire) will cut off relations. Turkish leaders refuse to admit the Armenian Genocide occurred. Sadly, U.S. presidents keep bowing to such demands. 

My latest Ethics Daily article, Breaking Promise, Obama Fails to Recognize Armenian Genocide, explores this dynamic. While campaigning for president, Barack Obama used the word 'genocide' to describe the Armenian Genocide. He also criticized the previous administration for not doing so and promised to name it as such once in office. He broke that campaign promise as he instead dances around the issue. 


Words matter. Obama's failure to use the word 'genocide' sends a poor ethical message. We must speak the truth about the past or our cries of "never again" ring hollow. 

0 comments