The suspense is over. Since President Ronald Reagan referred to the Armenian Genocide indirectly in 1981, the Armenian community in the US has been going through a rollercoaster, raising its hopes every year with each presidential election and being disappointed every April 24.
For the Armenian people, the issue of genocide is the blood of its 1.5 million human beings; it is the loss of an ancestral homeland and desecration of cultural heritage. Yet, for the politicians, it is nothing more than a political football. That is why they can forget or renege on their promises so easily, so conveniently, talking about the overarching issues.
Donald Trump, perhaps, was the only presidential candidate who did not pledge recognition and nor did he deliver anything. But his White House responded diligently to the actions of the US House of Representatives and the Senate, which passed overwhelming resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Indeed, the White House spokesperson, after the 2019 adoption of the Congress resolution, announced that the president had not changed his opinion on the issue.
The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the international community has been a tremendous challenge, while it has travelled a tortuous course in the power corridors of the United States. Although the US government had recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1948 when it signed the UN Genocide Convention (though it took another 40 years before it ratified it), in recent years, it had become a taboo word in the American political lexicon, always held back not to offend NATO ally Turkey.
The latter has managed to become such a powerful country that it can survive with impunity and gag the world’s greatest powers, forcing them to remain silent when the issue comes to the Armenian Genocide.
Armenians were most hopeful for the Obama presidency, because his pledge was delivered to the Armenian community through Samantha Power, the most forceful advocate of universal human rights and most knowledgeable on the issue of the Genocide, particularly as enunciated in her book, A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide.