George Clooney joins Armenians to mark anniversary of 1915 massacre: Canada has formally recognized killings as genocide, while the U.S. has not


The killing of more than 200 Armenian intellectuals on April 24, 1915 is regarded as the start of the massacre that is widely viewed by historians as the first genocide of the 20th century in which they estimate 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered . . .

U.S. President Barack Obama declined on Friday to refer to the 1915 massacre as genocide, breaking a key campaign promise as his presidency nears an end. Obama called the massacre the first mass atrocity of the 20th century and a tragedy that mustn’t be repeated . . .

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a message commemorating Armenians who died in 1915, without making any reference to the massacre . . .

Before he presented the award, Clooney reminded the audience that Adolf Hitler once reportedly said: “Who remembers Armenia?” Clooney said: “The whole world.”

I wish it were so, Mr. Clooney, but there was nothing about this genocide on American TV this past week.

A plethora of America national Cable and local TV news coverage about the late rock star Prince who was suffering from a drug overdose six days before his death.

There are some internet news stories from major websites about this commemoration in Armenia, probably only covered because George Clooney attended the event.

For the historical record, there were two other genocides in the 20th century that preceded the Armenian Genocide: the Herero and Namaqua Genocide from 1904-1907 under the German Kaiserreich in Colony of German South-West Africa (now known as Namibia) and the Pontic Greeks Genocide also carried out by the Ottoman Turks which began in 1914 and lasted through 1922.


America does not want to let acknowledging truth embarrass a Muslim nation.


The Ottoman Empire was less evil than ISIS though.


Under the Committee of Union and Progress Party (Young Turks), the Ottoman Empire systematically annihilated over one million of its Armenian and Pontic Greek Christian subjects through death marches, concentration camps, crucifixion, mass drownings, poisoning, gasings and every other barbarity imaginable.


That sounds just like ISIS.


Not sure about that; not sure if ISIS has killed an estimated (adding the massacred Pontus Greeks to the number of murdered and starved Armenians) 2.25 million human beings and probably a few hundred thousand more, depending on whose estimated death by genocide figures you are using.


For Christians outside of the Eastern Orthodox, the rise of the Ottoman Empire alleviated the lives of non-orthodox Christians. Ottoman Islam was political Islam, but there was no where the kind of fanaticism of modern day Islamists.
The Ottomans did not commit genocide on the Armenians because they were Christian. They committed the genocide because Armenians were in the way, and had territory that Turks wanted for themselves.


That’s not the point though (and to be fair religion was used by the CUP government in 1915 to justify and motivate the mass killings), the poster argued that the Ottoman Empire was “less evil” than ISIS.

How can you call the perpetrator of two genocides “less evil”?

People also forget about the earlier 1894 Hamidian Massacre:

**The Hamidian massacres (Armenian:Համիդյան ջարդեր,Turkish:Hamidiye Katliamı), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896[1] and Great Massacres,[1] were massacres of Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1890s, with estimates of the dead ranging from 80,000 to 300,000,[2] resulting in 50,000 orphaned children.[3] The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who, in his efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the embattled Ottoman Empire, reasserted Pan-Islamism as a state ideology **.[4] Although the massacres were aimed mainly at the Armenians, they turned into indiscriminate anti-Christian pogroms in some cases, such as in Diyarbekir Vilayet, where some 25,000Assyrians were killed (see also Assyrian genocide).[5]

So you are very wrong to suggest that Islamism was not a factor in the gradual Ottoman decision to attempt to exterminate all Armenians, Assyrians and Greek Pontics in the Empire. The only thing these minorities had in common was Christianity. Their Christian religion was viewed as one of the key reasons why they were deemed unable to integrate within the Pan-Turkic, Pan-Islamist ideology of the latter Ottoman Empire.

I question your historiography and air - brushing of Islamism from the picture.


Genocide is infinitely evil for sure, and the infinite evil of the Armenian genocide cannot be regarded as less evil than the infinite genocide of the ISIS genocide.

It is good that you drive home that point.

It is also good to remember that the Armenian genocide was not the typical response of the Ottoman Empire, an empire that existed for over a half a millenium. In terms of modern values of tolerance for others, the Ottoman Empire started out as being more ‘progressive’ than existing Christian empires that existed alongside of the Ottomans of the time. That is not to white-wash the Ottoman Empire of course, or to pretend that its relative tolerance in comparison to the Byzantine or to the Holy Roman was not egregiously intolerant in comparison to what has developed in our own era.

But when we compare the Ottoman Empire to ISIS, rather than focus exclusively on the Christian genocides perpetuated by both, it really must be noted that the evil of ISIS is that this organization is genocidal to its core, nihilistic, barbaric with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Under the Ottomans, civilization progressed. The Ottomans did have something positive to offer the world, and a half a millenium of relative stability alone is something worthwhile to be appreciated.
Such a history is simply not possible with ISIS. Nihilism is the only possible outcome of any ISIS victory.
In that way, ISIS is more evil than the Ottomans.


And in addition to the cruel slaughter, a system of sexual violence and sexual enslavement imposed on the targeted Christian ethnicities by the Ottomans similar to that which ISIS carries out against its subjugated populations and religious minorities:

Henry Morgenthau, the United States ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916 accused the “Turkish government” of a campaign of “outrageous terrorizing, cruel torturing, driving of women into harems, debauchery of innocent girls, the sale of many of them at 80 cents each, the murdering of hundreds of thousands and the deportation to and starvation in the desert of other hundreds of thousands, [and] the destruction of hundreds of villages and many cities”, all part of “the willful execution” of a "scheme to annihilate the Armenian, Greek and Syrian Christians of Turkey.


These are good and very valid points.

The Ottoman millet system was certainly progressive relative to its time and contemporaries. There was always an inherent injustice too it as well though. Consider the Janassaries, Christian boys indiscriminately abducted from their homes, forcibly converted to Islam and enslaved to be bred as a warrior caste. This was used as a means of terrorising the Christian population and ensuring their knowledge of possessing an inferior status, even though some individual Janassaries became powerful. It wasn’t rosy.

That said - yes the Ottomans made genuine contributions to human civilisation and I am not suggesting that the Ottoman system of earlier periods is comparable with ISIS.

But from the mid-19th century, the Ottoman Empire changed radically. As it lost territory after territory to Christian powers and became the sick man of Europe, the earlier pluralistic, multi - ethnic conception of Ottoman society perished. In its place a truly inhumane exclusivistic ideology emphasising Turkish identity and Islamic conservatism took hold. Ottoman Muslims were taught to see the earlier pluralism as a weakness and their Christian compatriots as sleeper cells for the Empire’s Christian enemies.

The result was the movement towards the first major genocide of modern history, comparable in scope only to the Jewish Holocaust.
The Ottomans entered WWI in 1914 to the call of the Caliph declaring jihad against the Allied Powers.

I regard the Ottoman Empire of this era to have been as evil as ISIS.


Is it really the case that no U.S. administration up to the present time has recognized the Armenian massacre as genocide?


And this is the country the US-NATO side with


Does it really matter what we call an event from 101 years ago?




Yes, it matters because Truth matters and a lie is an offense against Truth.


Yes. Can we go back and call slavery low income jobs. We have an obligation to those who died because of and in the faith to get this correctly acknowledged.


In 2008, Obama said: “My firmly held conviction (is) that 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.” “The facts are undeniable,” … “As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
Can you trust any American politician after seeing how they lie openly and blatantly?
Pope Francis and President Vladimir Putin as well as many other European leaders have recognized the Armenian genocide. I see that the US has been going around lecturing other countries about how important human rights are. But the promises of Obama on this have turned out to be empty hot air as he refuses to keep his well documented promise to recognize the Armenian genocide.


To be fair no other president has recognised the Armenian genocide for what it is anyway.

And sometimes as a national leader realpolitik has to come first - ie. Turkey’s (rather dubious, IMHO) use as a buffer between the Middle East and Europe.

Regarding the other point on the relative evil-nesses of the Ottoman Empire and ISIS - at its most meglomanic the former never desired to compass the entire world. Not that ISIS can possibly achieve that either, but they do have a global reach of which the O.E. couldn’t have dreamed. The barbarities which at various times the Empire committed, were predicated as far as I can see on a) matters of ethnicity or b) a simple desire for territory.

This is in no way better than barbarities in the name of religious difference of course - but different and predicated on different things. I’m not sure the Ottoman Empire at its worst was more or less evil than ISIS. At least it did not have literally global ambitions.


The problem is that Obama called presidents out on this, and now nearing the end of two terms, he is doing the same thing.

And the last I heard, he fails to address what ISIS is doing as a genocide either.

I guess being a Muslim means getting away with genocides, as far as the American presidency is concerned. For being the most powerful office in the world, American presidents sure know how to kow-tow really, really good.

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