If Christians are waiting for Obama to use the term ‘Genocide’ in describing their orchestrated mass killings and expulsion from the Middle East, they should ask the Armenians how that worked out for them
By Mark Cromer
The evidence is clear and compelling: as Islamic State militants swallowed up an enormous region across the crumbling states of Iraq and Syria they wrecked horrifying bloodshed against the Shia Muslim community—whom ISIS considers apostates—and has singled out Christians for nothing less than extermination.
The surreal savagery of mass beheadings, caged prisoners being burned alive, crucifixions and other murderous spectacles carried out in front of the cameras in a dark ‘shock and awe’ campaign of terror tells one compelling story—and the numbers tell another.
In Iraq, a nation that was home to more than two million Christians just over a decade ago, fewer than 300,000 Christians remain today. In Syria, Christians also numbered more than two million people before its civil war began in March of 2011. Today less than a million Christians remain in the country.
The European Parliament has declared the scale and scope of the organized atrocities directed at Christians and other religious minorities by ISIS to be genocide, but the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is apparently more obscured. Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the administration was waiting for additional “facts on the ground” before concluding whether the mass killings, mass rapes, forced exodus of entire villages and roaming death squads carrying out ‘meet-n-greet’ executions met the legal threshold of genocide.
Obama’s front man Josh Ernest told the White House press pool on March 1st that “the very specific legal determination” that would allow the president to utter the term ‘genocide’ when addressing what’s happening across the Middle East had simply “not been reached.”
While Obama’s obscene legal contortions to dodge, delay and, he hopes, permanently defer ever using the term while he’s in office—it won’t look too good to admit that the group he infamously dismissed less than two years ago as “the JV team” was now responsible for war crimes on a comparable moral scale to the atrocities the Nazis unleashed across Europe—are shameless, perhaps no one should really be surprised at the president’s hedge.
Just ask the Armenians.
In 2006, then Senator Obama declared “The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”
Much like the vast shadow of the Nazi’s ‘final solution’ that saw more than six million Jews murdered for being Jewish—along with five million Poles, Roma and other populations that the Germans sought to eradicate—the scale of the horror visited upon the Armenians in the cruel summer of 1915 was hard for the Ottomans to completely conceal even amid the carnage of World War I and news began to leak out fairly quickly.
On June 7, 1915, the Swedish ambassador in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, fired a dispatch off to Stockholm that reported:
“The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize the opportunity…to once an for all put an end to the Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the extermination of the Armenian nation. The measure stops at nothing and beside a massacre here or there they have now resorted to expelling the Armenians from areas they have been residents of for centuries or have their origins in and disperse them in different directions of the geographically enormous empire…With ingenious cruelty the men are sent in one direction and the families in another.”
By the time those forced marches and massacres were over as many as two million Armenians had been mass murdered. Interestingly, the report’s characterization of the Turks’ desire to “put an end to the Armenian question” would be parroted by the Germans in January 1942, when the Nazi hierarchy authored their “final solution to the Jewish question.”
The reports filed by neutral Sweden’s man in Constantinople, Per Gustaf August Cosswa Anckarsvärd, also bear an eerie echo of the reports filed from Nanking in late 1937 by German ambassador John Rabe, a critical witness to history as the Japanese Imperial Army rounded up and slaughtered more than 300,000 Chinese men, women and children in the ancient capital.
Obama was right, there is no allegation to be made or opinion to be defended when it comes to the Armenian genocide, but rather just cold historical fact to be acknowledged.
When Obama was running for the presidency in 2008, he was happy to double down and tell Americans of Armenian descent that he would not refuse to utter the term ‘genocide’ when it came to describing their ancestors systematic slaughter at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor state of modern Turkey.
But my what a difference an election makes.
Once he laid his hand on the Bible and was sworn into office, Obama has never again referred to the Armenian genocide as a ‘genocide.’ Last summer, which marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian people’s nightmare, Obama again refused to use the word, smugly slipping out of it with hollow assurances that he felt their pain.
How a cold, hard, century-old historical fact from foreign shores became such a political hot potato in America is simply a matter of Turkey’s strategic membership in NATO and Ankara’s fanatical insistence that it never committed genocide against the Armenians. Why every successive modern American president continues to kowtow to Ankara’s denial of history, particularly since the end of the Cold War, is a sad testament to how cheap the veneer of justice is sold and bought these days.
Obama didn’t just lie to the Armenians face in 2008, but rather he has spent the past seven years since spitting on their ancestors mass graves.
If Christians are waiting for some formal acknowledgement of their genocide in the Middle East from Obama—or a policy that reflects the gravity of the slaughter—they’re more likely to see Christ’s return first.