Armenian-American march to a rally against the Armenian Genocide in Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, … [+] April 24, 2021. The systematic killing and deportation of more than a million Armenians by the armed forces of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century was “genocide,” the United States officially declared on Saturday, when President Joe Biden said precisely that to the White House had avoided it for decades for fear of alienating Turkey’s allies. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)

Associated press

On Saturday afternoon, President Joe Biden became the first US leader to officially recognize the “Armenian massacre” as genocide. The systematic mass murder and ethnic cleansing of more than a million ethnic Armenians began 106 years ago on this day during World War I under the leadership of the Ottoman Empire and its ruling party, the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP).

No Turkish government has recognized the crime committed and all major political parties in Turkey expect the People’s Democratic Party to continue to support the denial of the Armenian genocide. For the past 100 years, Ottoman and Turkish leaders have argued that the mass deportation of the Armenian population was justified by national security concerns.

In a statement marking the beginning of the massacre, in which Biden wrote: “Every year on this day we remember the lives of all those who died in the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman era, and we re-commit ourselves to preventing that such an atrocity occurs again.

“When we mourn today for what has been lost, we also turn to the future – the world we want to build for our children. A world that is not tainted by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance and in which human rights are respected and where all people are able to live their lives in dignity and safety, “added Biden. “Let us renew our common determination to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us seek healing and reconciliation for all people of the world.”

Numerous news organizations have already posted links to primers and background information on social media to better understand the genocide event.

Legislators react

A number of American lawmakers also used social media to weigh Biden’s recognition of the Armenian massacre. Among them was MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) (@AOC), who wrote, “Establishing the truth and fully recognizing injustices can be one of the most important steps towards healing. Acknowledging the Armenian Genocide is long overdue. and I hope that this day brings a measure of peace to the families and communities affected as we move forward together. “

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) (@SenSanders) also praised Biden’s appreciation: “Recognition of the Armenian genocide is long overdue, and I applaud President Biden for making this announcement. It is important that we all look honestly at history sure that such atrocities will never happen again. “

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), (@RashidaTlaib) wrote: “In District No. 13 we always speak the truth. It has been 106 years since 1.5 million people were killed by the #ArmenianGenocide. We must remember this tragic story and keep cherishing the truth about everything. “

It seems that this could be a pivotal moment that should bring American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle together.

“The Biden administration is doing what is smart and reasonable to identify a clear historical injustice,” said Harry Kazianis, senior director at the Center for the National Interest. “President Biden should receive high praise from all parties and sides of the political spectrum as this move is long overdue.”

Historical context

While we would like to believe that such a moment would be free of controversy, it is unlikely. Some voices on social media quickly suggested that the event took place during the Ottoman Empire, which was abolished at the end of World War I. The guilt of modern Turkey would therefore be comparable to the guilt of modern Italy for what happened in the Roman Empire. This has been one of the general arguments that have been advanced not only today, but increasingly by some in the Turkish community in recent years.

@OzlemFinnegan was among those who went so hard on the facts and wrote, “Interesting explainer; they said that and others said that. The Republic of Turkey was founded in 1922. Why does it have to accept this and deal with it? Us.” are not Ottomans, we are Ataturk’s Turks. “

Others also said it was the Armenians who started the problems, and the Ottomans were only responding to a possible uprising that Turkish leaders have been repeating for more than 100 years.

@Hayrani replied to @RashidaTlaib, writing, “Then learn the truth first, not the distortions of facts and figures and the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who were first mutilated by the Armenian gangs. Go to the US archives in DC and Boston with slander! “

Future recognitions

As might be expected, there have been some who suggested that other events in history – recent and past – should also receive such recognition from our national leaders. This argument has been made both as a diversion from the plight of the Armenians and as an indication of America’s own past crimes.

“I think Americans weren’t hooked for Native American genocide before the Revolution (1776) because we were British then and then magically turned into Americans,” @RiffSkjerven wrote.

“Isn’t it time to recognize the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima as genocide?” @Mouhab mused.

@ay_askar was among those who questioned Biden’s approval, writing: “We are all aware of the age and memory problems of current US President @POTUS. But his statement about the fake ‘# Armenian Genocide’ really makes me remind you that if he’s looking for #Genocide he should probably check his own ancestors “

It should not have come as a surprise that some people would try to describe the event as little more than “false news” if not the acknowledgment, but the fact that it is now being recognized could attract attention and the way How the tragedy is treated in the story is changing media and even addressed on social media.

“The recognition of the Armenian genocide took a century,” said Dr. Matthew J. Schmidt, Associate Professor of National Security and Political Science at the University of New Haven.

“America’s confidence in Turkey during the Cold War meant that no president was willing to take the risk of losing such an important ally,” added Schmidt. “But President Biden’s recognition is finally recognizing the truth. And by doing so, he is also bringing it to the attention of China and other states that have relied on the US to look for temporary interests. That will not happen now.”