Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Forgotten Genocide - And Obama's Enabling Of It

Today is April 24th, the day Armenians all over the world commemorate the deaths of the estimated 900,000 to 1.5 million Armenians planned and ordered at the highest levels of the Turkish government and carried out by direct executions, enslavement and kidnapping, forced relocations into the desert and deliberate starvation.*

The Turks commited this act of barbarism as a means of enforcing dhimmi, second class status on the largest,most progressive and most cohesive non-Muslim group in the Ottoman Empire and removing them from being obstacles in Turkey's imperialist ambitions.

In 1908, an extreme nationalist movement in Turkey known as the `Young Turks' deposed the Sultan's government in a coup. A triumvirate of extreme Turkish nationalists took complete dictatorial control, Enver Pasha, Jemal Pasha and Mehmed Talat Pasha. They and the Young Turks had a vision of a new Pan-Turkic empire spreading all the way to Turkic speaking parts of Central Asia. Armenians were the only ethnic group in between these two major pockets of Turkish speakers..and the nationalist Turks wanted them out of the way and marginalized.

When the Turks entered World War One on the side of Germany and the Central Powers, the pretext existed for the eradication of the Armenians.

The first step was to disarm the Armenians and make them completely helpless.

In 1915, Turkish leader Enver Pasha ordered that all Armenian troops in the Ottoman armies be disarmed, and assigned to labor camps. Most of the Armenians recruits were either quietly executed or assigned as laborers under conditions that ensured very few survived.

In the Armenian areas of Anatolia, the Ottomans gave orders for all weapons to be collected `for the war effort'. The Armenians complied, and were left helpless.

On April 24th 1915, hundreds of prominent Armenians were murdered in secret in Istanbul after being summoned to a `special conference'.

After that, orders went out across Anatolia and other parts of the empire for for a `temporary relocation' of the Armenians. People were told to only bring what they could carry. The Armenians complied and were "escorted" by Turkish guards in what became death marches.

The death marches led across Anatolia and into the desert, and the Armenians were raped, starved, murdered, and sold into slavery along the way. The local Turks and Arabs were encouraged to take revenge on the helpless people. Hundreds of young Armenian women and children were sold into slavery. The Turkish `guards' provided no protection, and often took the lead in committing these atrocities.

The Armenians who survived the march eventually ended up in gulags in the Syrian Desert, the Der Zor, where thousands more died of disease, starvation and thirst.

Nazi-like, the Turks appropriated everything the Armenians owned, a sum probably amounting to well over billion dollars in today's money. Because they had confiscated all records relating to investments, deeds, bank accounts and insurance policies, the Turkish government even had the raw nerve to approach U.S. Ambassador Henry Morganthau with the request that all  insurance claims due on life  insurance policies owed to the Armenians by American companies be paid directly to the Turkish government 'until the missing policy holders can be located.'

The normally reserved Morgenthau was so horrified at this blatant attempt to cash in on murder that he not only turned down the request, but used some rather undiplomatic language in the process.

This was the first modern attempt at genocide, and while for sheer high tech efficiency the Ottoman Turks couldn't match the Nazis, they were an example for them to follow. Adolf Hitler, when one of his aides questioned whether the West would allow the Holocaust he had planned against Europe's Jews responded: "Who remembers the Armenians nowadays?"

The Turks, however, went the Germans one better when it came to genocide. The Germans at least had the courage to admit what had happened and to take responsibility for it. To this day, the Turkish government denies that any of this happened, and there has been no real punishment or reparations for the crimes against the Armenian people.

President Obama has notably been a part of this injustice,  as ABC's Jake Tapper revealed today:

On the fourth Armenian Remembrance Day of his presidency, President Obama has for the fourth time in a row broken his promise to the Armenian community to use the word “genocide” in describing what happened at the hands of the Turks roughly a century ago.

As a senator, and then as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama often talked about how bold he was to call the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire just what it was: a genocide.

“America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said. “I intend to be that president.” In a January 2008 letter to the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Obama said he shared “with Armenian Americans — so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors — a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”

In a statement, Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America said, “President Obama today completed his surrender to Turkey, shamefully outsourcing U.S. human rights policy to a foreign state, and tightening Ankara’s gag on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The President’s capitulation to Turkey – on this, the last April 24th of his term – represents the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to Armenian Americans and to all the citizens of our nation. President Obama’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide stands today as a stark lie, a painful promise etched on the hearts of all who had hoped and worked for change, but who, today, have been betrayed by a politician who failed to live up to his own words.”

It comes down to this. One of President Obama's Best Friends Forever when it comes to foreign leaders is Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Tayipp Erdogan.

Aside from their personal affinity, Erdogan is this president's role model for the kind of 'moderate' Islamist President Obama has pulled all the stops out to empower in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and if he has his way, throughout the Muslim world..because the president is under the mistaken impression that countries ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists can be 'worked with' and appeased.

There's no way he's going to even think about upsetting  Erdogan over a genocide the Turks still claim never occurred.

Next to that, what's a few promises? Or moral sensibilities? Or a sense of right and wrong?

There's a word for that kind of person.

* A brief note to some of my readers.  Every time I write anything about the Armenian Genocide, I receive a number of long and detailed comments on how it never happened, and even  some on how it was actually the Armenians killing Turks.

Having looked at some of the links I was sent, it's apparent there's a similar 'industry' on this topic just as there is with Holocaust denial, and for much the same reasons..there's money and notoriety in it.Don't waste the electrons.

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