Bush Again Fails To Keep His Promise


DeFacto Agency, Armenia
April 25 2008

YEREVAN, 25.04.08. DE FACTO. In 2000, presidential candidate Governor
George W. Bush stated that if elected President, he would properly
recognize the Armenian Genocide. In his pledge, Bush stated that
"the Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies
comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and
acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century
of bloody crimes against humanity", Armenian Assembly of America
(AAA) reports.

Eight years later, his 2008 Presidential statement again provides a
dictionary definition of genocide, but the resistance in using the
term genocide not only fails to complete George W. Bush’s promise,
but more importantly fails to promote the professed goal of preventing
genocide. This year’s statement actually represents a subtle step
back from prior April 24 statements.

April 24 is a day of mourning and rededication for Armenians, their
friends and for all people concerned with eliminating the scourge of
genocide. This is what April 24 signifies.

In his final April 24 statement, President Bush missed the mark,
which might account for the ongoing nature and escalation of threats
of genocide around the world. The statement made on April 24 backtracks
from his prior indirect acknowledgements of the Armenian Genocide. For
example, in 2005 and 2006, Bush recognized the Armenian Genocide
indirectly by his reference to the findings of the International
Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).

In the face of Turkish demands again this year, President Bush omitted
the findings by the ICTJ. This year’s statement also continues to
ignore President Reagan’s 1981 proclamation that affirms the Armenian
Genocide, which still stands as U.S. recognition and was confirmed
by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. These
two missteps by this Administration discount the United States’
proud and dignified record during the time of the Armenian Genocide,
as well as most Americans and a majority of States today.

In addition, Turkish pressure was brought to bear on House Resolution
106, which called on the President to recognize the Armenian
Genocide. Turkey’s ongoing denial has also created an atmosphere of
intolerance, which led to the tragic assassination of Turkish-Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink, by a Turkish nationalist. Turkey’s long term
interests would be better served by coming to grips with its genocidal
past, rather than fining and jailing those who speak the truth about
the Armenian Genocide. Hrant Dink was recently inducted into the
Journalists Memorial in the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event was
attended by his widow, Rakel Dink, along with representatives of the
Armenian Assembly.

To note, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations
Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston Nancy K. Kaufman said in a recent
commemoration speech on April 18, that "as a way of not letting
the Armenian Genocide be forgotten, I would like to bear witness
– to testify, if you will – to that history," adding that "it is
particularly important for us, as Jews, to speak out in support of
your community’s efforts to fight denial."

Ironically, this year’s statement comes against the backdrop of rapid
progress and development since May 2007, of the Armenian Genocide
Museum of America. The museum is located steps away from the White
House and will stand as a permanent memorial and testament for all
who lost their lives in the Armenian Genocide. It will also serve as
a learning center to prevent future genocides.

While Bush’s statement also notes the Nagorno Karabakh peace process,
it does not address the failure to achieve a just peace, nor does
it address the ongoing military escalation by Azerbaijan against the
Armenians there, who also faced a campaign of ethnic cleansing. This
too stands as a stark reminder that the lessons of the Armenian
Genocide cannot be forgotten.

According to the AAA, no one questions President Bush’s sincerity
in mourning the tremendous loss Armenians and the world suffered as
a result of the Armenian Genocide, and his use of the dictionary
definition is better than ignoring it; nevertheless, it is
profoundly disappointing that he failed to keep his word, of which
the consequences are real.

As Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian stated today, there is no room
for denial of the Armenian Genocide and that Armenian Statehood is
of exceptional importance. No Armenian or person of goodwill should
disagree with these fundamental principles.

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