By Edmond Y. Azadian
It is the time of year when Diaspora Armenians — especially in the US and Europe — go through the motions, intensify lob- bying activities, raise expectations and on April 24, suffer the anticlimactic results of their fervor and political activism.
Lately, a few countries have discovered a convenient method of dangling the issue of genocide recognition before their adver- saries. After gaining some political mileage, they relegate the case into oblivion, until the next opportune period.
The US has been among those countries; Israel is another one. For many years, the Israeli government had flatly denied that the Armenian massacres amounted to genocide. That shameful statement was made emphatically by then-President Shimon Peres during a trip to Ankara, when relations between Israel and Turkey were rock-solid. Recently, however, the Israeli Knesset has held hearings about recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as a response to Turkey’s belligerence against that country. Also, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the US and other lobbying groups — which march lockstep with the Israeli government — had indicated publicly that they would stop their campaign against the passage of the Armenian Genocide by the US Congress. Those quarters have raised hopes throughout the Armenian world only to resort to their traditional oppositionist tactics to justify their inaction. The excuse for some political pundits is that “it is not the prop- er time to recognize the Genocide.” If relations are tense with Turkey, the voices of wisdom in Washington and Tel Aviv say “we do not wish to further aggravate relations with Turkey.” On the other hand, when relations are smooth, there is all the rea- son “not to jeopardize our relations with a trusted ally.” Therefore, this continuous mantra always generates excuses that “it is not the right time to recognize the Genocide.” One wonders when that elusive “right time” for the recognition of the Genocide would be.
No one pinned too much hope on President George Bush when it came to the issue of human rights but Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had gained tremendous political mileage on sounding moralistic issues, only to fail miserably. Bill Clinton’s belated apology in Kigali to the Rwandans for his inaction dur- ing that country’s genocide, a decade after his tenure in the White House, sounds hollow, disingenuous and insulting. The UN headquarters, the White House and all the capitals of the world had ample warning about the impending genocide in Rwanda, but no action was taken, because someone somewhere had a vested interest in the murder of 800,000 Tutsis in less than 100 days.
Even the head of the UN military mission there had warned the headquarters. He defied his superiors to take action, but was removed from his post to facilitate the grisly task of the Hutus.