WASHINGTON–The winners of Iowa caucuses, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R), are both on record as having recognized the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Senator Obama has spoken forcefully about the moral imperative of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, specifically calling upon the Bush Administration, in letters and public statemen’s, to end its “wrong and untenable” policy on this issue. During his three years in the Senate, however, he has yet to join with his legislative colleagues in cosponsoring the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Senator Obama also voted in the Foreign Relations Committee to approve the highly controversial and ultimately unsuccessful nomination of Dick Hoagland to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, despite bipartisan Congressional opposition and widespread outrage among Armenian Americans over the nominee’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.
“The occurrence of the Armenian genocide in 1915 is not an ‘allegation,’ a ‘personal opinion,’ or a ‘point of view.’ Supported by an overwhelming amount of historical evidence, it is a widely documented fact,” Obama stated in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on July 28, 2006.
“The Bush Administration’s policy concerning the Armenian genocide is wrong and is untenable. That the invocation of a historical fact by a State Department employee could constitute an act of insubordination is deeply troubling and is a clear sign that it is time to revisit the Administration’s guidance on this issue. I have written to Secretary Rice urging that such a review occur so our diplomats will not be placed in a similar position in the future,” he said in a press statement on the Hoagland nomination in September 2006.
In a letter to constituents regarding the Armenian Genocide dated June 2, 2007, Obama said, “I share your view that the United States must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide. As you know, this resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenia’s, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed.
We must recognize this tragic reality. The Bush Administration’s refusal to do so is inexcusable, and I will continue to speak out in an effort to move the Administration to change its position.”
As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee issued a proclamation recognizing April 24, 2001 as a Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The declaration memorialized the “the death of at least 1.5 million Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turks and the forced deportation of countless others.”
The official statement also noted that, “the Armenian people have not received reparations for their losses” and that the present Turkish government engages in a campaign of “denial of the Armenian Genocide.”
The Arkansas chief executive subsequently issued a proclamation also marking April 24 as a “Day of Remembrance of the Turkish and Armenian Tragedy.”
The local Armenian community’s objections to the Governor’s use of this euphemistic phrasing to obscure the genocidal intent of Ottoman Turkey toward its Armenian subjects was covered by the Arkansas News Bureau, which quoted ANC-Arkansas spokesperson Leo Stepanian as saying: “It was not a tragedy. It was a genocide.”
For a full text of the article please visit: http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2007/10/14/WashingtonDCBureau/343662.html .
To view Senator Obama’s discussion with Illinois constituents (April 12, 2007) visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apR_0df-p54
Below is the full text of the Arkansas proclamation on the Armenian Genocide:
State of Arkansas, Executive Department ‘s Proclamation (March 27, 2001):
WHEREAS, the death of at least 1.5 million Armenia’s by the Ottoman
Turks and the forced deportation of countless others, is remembered
on April 24th as Armenian Martyrs Day; and
WHEREAS, eighty-six years ago, Armenia’s were forced to witness the
slaughter of their relatives and the loss of their ancestral
WHEREAS, the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the present-day
Turkish Government continues to antagonize the Armenian people
concerning their own rightful place in history; and
WHEREAS, the Armenian people have not received reparations for
their losses; and
WHEREAS, Armenia’s have valiantly pursued the improvement and self-
determination of their homelands; and
WHEREAS, notwithstanding such atrocities in the past people of
Armenian descent have been strong, productive, contributing
citizens in the many communities in which they reside in the State
of Arkansas; and
WHEREAS, on April 24, 2001, Armenian families from across Arkansas
will gather to honor the 1.5 million Armenia’s who were massacred
under the Ottoman Turkish Government between 1915 and 1923;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mike Huckabee, acting under the authority vested
in me as Governor of the State of Arkansas, do hereby proclaim
April 24, 2001, as A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
in the State of Arkansas.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 27th day of March, in the year of our Lord 2001.
Mike Huckabee, Governor
Sharon Priest, Secretary of State