imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Obama and the denial of genocide

by Mickey Z. Wednesday, May. 13, 2009 at 9:53 PM

Writer-activist David Boyajian’s investigative articles and commentaries have appeared in Armenian media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Armenia and the Newton Tab and USA Armenian Life newspapers named him among their "Top 10 Newsmakers of 2007." So, when Barack Obama paid a visit to Turkey last month, it seemed like a good time to ask Boyajian for his take on the new president's approach to the issue of the Armenian genocide.



Writer-activist David Boyajian’s investigative articles and commentaries have appeared in Armenian media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Armenia and the Newton Tab and USA Armenian Life newspapers named him among their "Top 10 Newsmakers of 2007." So, when Barack Obama paid a visit to Turkey last month, it seemed like a good time to ask Boyajian for his take on the new president's approach to the issue of the Armenian genocide.

Map: http://www.armenianchurch.net/heritage/history/map.html

Mickey Z: This April, President Barack Obama broke campaign promise #511, namely to explicitly acknowledge the Armenian genocide as U.S. President. What happened on his recent visit to Turkey? What are the ramifications of his breaking this promise?

David Boyajian: President Obama visited Turkey from April 6 to 7, where he did not use the word “genocide” when referring to the 1.5 million murders committed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire against its Armenian citizens from 1915-1923. As a candidate, Obama had promised several times to do so. His statement in Turkey that he had “not changed his views”—implying he still believes it was genocide—was still a clear breach of his promise to use the “G word.” It was a case study in verbal gymnastics and political duplicity and should be studied in political science courses. Obama’s broken promise obviously eroded his credibility. The same holds true for Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as senators, supported the Armenian genocide resolution. They’ve since fallen disgracefully silent. Dr. Samantha Power should also be embarrassed. She’s the National Security Council’s genocide expert and a Pulitzer Prize winning author. As a campaign advisor to Obama, she made a video telling Armenian Americans that as president, Obama would definitely acknowledge their genocide. “Take my word for it,” she said.

Appeasement of a genocide-denying country such as Turkey is bad policy because its message is that genocides can be committed without consequence. Appeasement also erodes U.S. credibility on human rights and its stated desire to be a leader in genocide prevention. Unlike what lobbyists for Turkey would have us believe, Armenian genocide affirmation by America would not harm U.S. national interests. Turkey depends on the U.S. for weapons systems, support for billions in loans from the International Monetary Fund, security guarantees through NATO, advocacy for Turkish membership in the European Union, and more. Some 20 countries, including Canada, France, and Switzerland, as well as the parliaments of the EU and the Council of Europe, have acknowledged the Armenian genocide. None has ever experienced much more a Turkish temper tantrum in retaliation.

MZ: Two days prior to Armenian Genocide Remembrance day— which annually falls on April 24—Turkey and Armenia announced that they had agreed to a “roadmap” to normalize relations. What was the significance of this timing? What does the “roadmap” contain?

DB: Behind the scenes, the U.S. State Department had long been twisting Armenia’s arm to agree to a so-called “roadmap” with Turkey before President Obama issued what has become a customary “April 24 statement” by U.S. presidents marking Armenian genocide memorial day. The “roadmap,” announced on April 22, provided political cover for Obama to not use the “G word” on April 24. That is, since there was now supposedly a roadmap for normalization of relations—no matter how vague and hurriedly slapped together— Obama could say that he did not want to upset Turkey and the touted-as-highly-delicate Turkish-Armenian negotiations by using the “G word.” Notice that Obama did not consult with Armenian-Americans or Armenia about this. So much for promises and moral principles. It’s disgraceful that Obama, simply to help Turkey save face, not only broke his promise, but showed blatant disregard for the activists—not just Armenians—who labored so hard for many years for the cause of recognizing all genocides.

Armenia has always said that it was ready to normalize relations with Turkey—which would include Turkey’s re-opening its border with Armenia—without pre-conditions. Suddenly, however, Armenia has had pre-conditions imposed on it in this “roadmap.” According to the Turkish press, the “roadmap” allegedly contains pre-conditions such as: Armenia’s agreeing to a joint commission to examine the veracity of the Armenian genocide—yes, you heard right, Armenia’s formal recognition of current Turkish boundaries—which contain the Armenian homeland, and, possibly, Armenia’s accepting Turkish mediation in the conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijan over the disputed Armenian region of Karabagh—which is absurd since Azerbaijan and Turkey are allies. It appears that Armenia’s president, whose electoral legitimacy is in question, has been worn down in these negotiations by Turkey, the West, and possibly even Russia. And because the Armenian president is grappling with his legitimacy, he is not heeding the cautions being voiced by the people of his own nation about the “roadmap.”

MZ: The U.S. administration and mainstream media would have us believe that Turkey is seeking to “reconcile” with Armenia. Is “reconciliation” really a possibility, or have we misunderstood what’s going on?

DB: The word “reconciliation” in relation to Armenian-Turkish relations is largely an invention of U.S. policymakers, their emissaries, and the mainstream media who take their cues from them. What the U.S. and Europe would like to see is a more stable Caucasus—that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—with open borders. Open borders, you see, would facilitate laying more oil and gas pipelines that would originate in the Caspian Sea region and proceed west to Turkey and then to energy-hungry Europe and Israel. The U.S. and Europe don’t want to put it quite that crudely—no pun intended—so they try to depict Armenia and Turkey as possibly “reconciling” and thus resolving all their differences. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 out of sympathy with its ally Azerbaijan, which was in a war with the Armenians of Karabagh, a historically Armenian-populated autonomous area within Azerbaijan that Stalin handed to Azerbaijan. Turkey has also been infuriated that Armenia and Armenians worldwide have been demanding that Turkey acknowledge the genocide it committed against Armenians.

Turkey has to acknowledge the genocide or there will never be peace between it and Armenia. And although the Armenian government has not put forth any claims for reparations arising out of the genocide, or for territory, many Armenians do have these goals. They cite the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920, which provided for Armenian sovereignty over Armenian lands upon which Turkey committed the genocide, and which have since been incorporated into what is now eastern Turkey.

MZ: The countries of the Caucasus are Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Most Americans, including the mainstream media, could not find these small countries on a map. Why are Russia and the U.S.—the latter being thousands of miles from the region—so interested in these three small countries?

DB: The Caucasus is truly Ground Zero in Cold War II, the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Russia. The U.S.—along with Europe and the NATO military alliance—regard Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan as middlemen between the West and the gas and oil-rich regions around the Caspian Sea. The West has already laid gas and oil pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and then on to Turkey and the west. The U.S. wanted those and future pipelines to bypass Russia and Iran because those two countries could shut such pipelines to pressure the U.S. and others. The only possible pipelines routes, therefore, are through Georgia or Armenia. But Turkey shut its border with Armenia in 1993, and Azerbaijan closed its border with Armenia even earlier due to the conflict between it and the de-facto Armenian region of Karabagh. That left Georgia as the only place for these Western pipelines. After the Russian-Georgian was last year, however, opening an alternative route has become more urgent. That largely explains the West’s renewed interest in Armenia. Conversely, Russia sees the Caucasus as within its traditional sphere of influence, and regards U.S. and European interest in the region as hostile acts.

Simultaneously, NATO has been pushing into the region. Georgia, Azerbaijan, and to some extent even the ex-Soviet republics on the other side of the Caspian Sea, are on the path to joining NATO. Russia was already upset that, following the Cold War, NATO had absorbed the former Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe. NATO is now attempting, in effect, to do the same thing on Russia’s southern border. Russia fears that it will eventually be virtually surrounded by NATO. As a result, we have Cold War II: The U.S. and NATO are trying to push into the Caucasus and Central Asia, while Russia is trying to keep them out.

MZ: Why is Israel interested in the Caucasus, and what role is that country playing? Why are Israel and the pro-Israel lobby dead set against recognition of the Armenian genocide by the U.S. Congress?

DB: Israel is interested in getting some of the oil and gas that flow out of the Caspian Sea region. That is, from countries such as Azerbaijan, oil and gas flow west through Georgia, and then on to Turkey and other countries, possibly including Israel. After all, the U.S. and Turkey, which are important players in these pipelines, are obviously also very friendly with Israel. Israel also welcomes all non-Arab supplies of energy since they would make its Western allies less dependent on Arab oil and gas. And Israel has long had what it calls its Periphery Policy. Historically, Israel has not had good relations with its Arab neighbors. Therefore, to serve as counterweights, Israel befriends those countries further away, especially Muslim countries that aren’t necessarily sympathetic to Israel’s Arab neighbors or Palestinians. Azerbaijan, the only Muslim nation in the Caucasus, and some Muslim nations to the east, such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, are such countries. Fortuitously for Israel, they also possess significant deposits of gas and oil.

For decades, Israel and Turkey have had very good relations, mainly because they have a common ally, the U.S., and common adversaries, namely Arab nations. In the 1990’s, Israel and Turkey signed a number of military, economic, and political agreements that solidified their relationship. Even before that, but particularly after that, Turkey felt that it did not have sufficient lobbying muscle in Washington. So the Turks asked Israel to convince some of the pro-Israel lobby—the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and others—to serve as advocates for Turkey. The Jewish lobby groups agreed. So these groups, as part of their deal with Turkey, deny or call into question the Armenian genocide and work to prevent U.S. acknowledgement of that genocide. These groups won’t tolerate anyone questioning of the Holocaust, and yet hypocritically work against acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. Interestingly, for the last 2 years, Armenian Americans have exposed the ADL’s hypocrisy. In Massachusetts, for example, fourteen cities severed ties with an anti-bias program sponsored by the ADL because of the latter’s hypocritical and anti-Armenian stance (see NoPlaceForDenial.com). Armenians are determined to challenge genocide denial whenever it occurs.

MZ: Is there a problem with the way the mainstream media has been covering Armenian issues?

DB: Yes. The mainstream media have several problems. First, they know very little about the Caucasus or Armenians. Reporters tend, therefore, to copy each other and repeat clichés and falsehoods—such as that Armenia and Turkey are on the verge of a historic “reconciliation.” Media also tend to accept at face value the propaganda issued by Western governments whose interest in the Caucasus is—let’s be frank—not “reconciliation,” democracy, or human rights, but rather self-interested economic, political, and military political penetration of the Caucasus.

Turkey has about 30 times more people and territory, and 50 times more Gross Domestic Product, than Armenia. The power differential is enormous. Turkey has infinitely more allies in Western media, governments, think tanks, and multi-national corporations—and knows how to use them. Commentators who have a vested interest in touting Turkey for their own political and even financial reasons have particularly come out of the woodwork to deride legitimate Armenian demands. But we rarely hear commentators speak of how a small country that has been the victim of genocide, that has had most of its territory stripped from it, and that has been blockaded by the denier of that genocide—Turkey—is being threatened by that very same unrepentant denier. Mainstream media largely fail to appreciate the foregoing facts. Hopefully, Mickey, this interview will help the media and your readers understand the issues and the region a bit better.

David Boyajian can be reached at David_Boyajian@yahoo.com

Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net

# # #

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy