For other articles in this series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Since Israel’s latest attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, last summer, I’ve been researching the issue of Israel’s genocide. I quickly found out that I’m not the only one, and although the subject has been addressed by scholars, politicians, UN bodies, and Palestinian civil society since 1982, this attack has prompted an unprecedented amount of criticism and study.
Robert Fisk reminds us of President Obama’s pre-election pledge to recognise the Armenian Genocide as thus. Since his inauguration and during his recent visit to Turkey Obama backtracked and downgraded his description to “great atrocities” like his predecessors George W Bush and Bill Clinton.
It was clever, crafty – artful, even – but it was not the truth. For in the end, Barack Obama dishonoured his promise to his American-Armenian voters to call the deliberate mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 a genocide. How grateful today’s Turkish generals must be.
Genocide is what it was, of course. Mr Obama agreed in January 2008 that “the Armenian genocide is not an allegation… but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide… I intend to be that President.” But he was not that President on the anniversary of the start of the genocide at the weekend. Like Presidents Clinton and George Bush, he called the mass killings “great atrocities” and even tried to hedge his bets by using the Armenian phrase “Meds Yeghern” which means the same thing – it’s a phrase that elderly Armenians once used about the Nazi-like slaughter – but the Armenian for genocide is “chart”. And even that was missing.