To his credit, U.S. President Joe Biden has become the first sitting president formally to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide since it occurred more than century ago. An even more laudable next step would be to acknowledge the current genocides and hate speech fueling them -- and to take steps against them. There appears underway an attempted genocide by the Communist Chinese of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. More than a million are being held in 1,300 concentration camps. Pictured: The outer wall of an internment camp on the outskirts of Hotan, in China's Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)
To his credit, U.S. President Joe Biden has become the first sitting president formally to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide since it occurred more than century ago. On Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24, 2021, the American president issued a statement opening with the following words:
"Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915, with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of extermination."
Along with the 1.5 million Armenians, the Turks exterminated more than another one million Christians -- including 750,000 Greeks and 300,000 Assyrians, as underscored by Congress's Resolution 296. Passed in 2019, it acknowledges "the campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians." As the Guardian recently noted, "The slaughter is widely viewed as a crime on a monumental scale – and a grim precursor to the Nazi Holocaust."
Successive Turkish regimes have vehemently denied that any genocides took place. All deaths, they claim, were uncalculated byproducts of war. Similarly, due to its status as a NATO ally -- a status which has greatly soured in recent years -- successive U.S. presidents have failed to acknowledge Turkey's role: Ronald Reagan passingly referred to the Armenian Genocide, without, however, formally acknowledging it. George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump also never formally recognized it. Barack Obama, when he was running for office in 2008, professed his
"firmly held conviction 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.... [A]s President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.... America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president."
Obama reneged on his word -- including on the Armenian Genocide's 100th anniversary, which passed under his tenure.
Accordingly, Biden is to be commended for being the first U.S. president to acknowledge the genocide.
An even more laudable next step would be to acknowledge the current genocides and hate speech fueling them -- and to take steps against them, as Biden said he would in his statement on April 24, 2021:
"Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security."
Turkey, meanwhile, is virtually spearheading a new genocide against Armenians, most recently in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, which again erupted into armed conflict in late 2020. Turkey sponsored and transported Islamic terrorists to the disputed region, where they committed horrific atrocities against Armenians and their places of worship, such as "tortur[ing] beyond recognition" an intellectually disabled 58-year-old Armenian woman by hacking off her ears, hands, and feet -- before murdering her. Her family was only able to identify her by her clothes.
As Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia's prime minister, observed in October 2020: "Why has Turkey returned to the South Caucasus 100 years [after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire]? To continue the Armenian Genocide."
Turkey is, regrettably, far from the only Muslim nation engaged in "daily evils of bigotry and intolerance," which we need to "remain ever vigilant against," to quote Biden again.
What several international organizations have referred to as a "genocide" of Christians at the hands of Muslims is currently taking place in Nigeria -- as well as in Mozambique, South Sudan, and other sub-Saharan nations -- and in dire need of being acknowledged so that efforts at rectifying the situation can begin.
It is also important to mention -- in the light of the takeover by Communist China of Hong Kong, and their current threats to Taiwan, the Philippines and northern India -- the genocide of the Tibetans. They were effectively decimated by the Communist Chinese. According to Maura Moynihan in the Washington Post:
"After the flight of the Dalai Lama, Mao crushed Tibet with a vengeance. Institutions of government and education were systematically destroyed; the Buddhist religion was labeled a 'disease to be eradicated'; nearly 1.2 million out of about 6 million died through armed conflict and famine; large numbers of Tibetan children were forcibly taken from their families and sent to Chinese orphanages for 'reeducation.' Research suggests that close to 1 million Tibetans tried to escape to India... or other regions of their country, but given the vast distances, lack of food in mountainous terrain and military invasion, most either surrendered to the Chinese or died in flight."
More recently, there appears underway an attempted genocide by the Communist Chinese of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. More than a million are being held in 1,300 concentration camps. Although the Chinese State insists on calling them "re-education camps," reports are that they come complete with forced labor, torture, surveillance, forced sterilization and rape. Companies supporting the supply chains of these crimes against humanity apparently include "at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen."
Adding to that, Communist China's deliberate deception about the human-to-human transmissibility of the Wuhan virus has so far killed more than 3,000,000 people on the planet, it would seem imperative to move the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to a country that really does espouses the ideals that the Olympic committee professes: " ...the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles." Yes, it is short notice, but doubtless there are many deserving countries that would be happy to scramble. At the very least, the world should not "reward" Communist China by enriching it to commit further aggression.
A few of the other groups threatened with extermination, who are in extreme distress, according to Genocide Watch, include:
Kurds: "at risk for large-scale genocide by the regional powers of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria...." Kurds are currently calling for international help to prevent a genocide by Turkey after its invasion of northern Iraq.
Yemenis: under threat from the Iran-backed Houthis. "The Armed Conflict Location & Data Project (ACLED) reports that more than 100,000 Yemenis have died since the beginning of the conflict in 2015. More than 12,000 of those were killed by directly targeted attacks, including 7,500 children."
Yazidis in Iraq: for whom Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Alert. "Since the genocide committed in 2014 by the Islamic State... 3,000 abducted Yazidi women and girls remain missing and thousands continue to live as slaves. More than 100,000 Yazidis currently lack access to critical services such as healthcare, education, and psychological support, and suicide rates within the community are rising."
One might also mention the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; ethnic violence between Oromo, Amhara, Tigrayan and Gedeo peoples that government "inaction" has failed to stop in Ethiopia; and ongoing violence in Kashmir and Burundi.
Biden, in his statement, said:
"[W]e remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.... We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated."
Unfortunately, all of this is happening again, and at an alarming rate. As a final example, 340 million Christians around the world -- especially the Islamic world -- are currently experiencing serious persecution. As commendable as it is for Biden to have recognized the Armenian Genocide, turning his attention to those who are currently experiencing hate and genocide would be far more practical -- it would save lives -- than just acknowledging history.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar, The Al Qaeda Reader, and Crucified Again, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.