In his speech president Obama writes:
"The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories, just as it lives on in the hearts of the Armenian people." Also, three paragraph below the text reads "Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern."
These two sentences can equally be translated and interpreted in the following way. The Armenian Genocide must live in our memories, just as it lives on in the heart of the Armenian people... Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Armenian Genocide.
The full text of the Statement of President Obama on Armenian Remembrance Day is available here.
In other words Obama did a great political move: he satisfied both Armenians and Turkey. Today the newspapers are writing "Obama refrained from using the G word," but tomorrow all of them will write, Obama used the G. word, but the Armenian equivalent and two times in his speech. In my opinion "The Meds Eghern" is a stronger way of labeling the mass attrocities It's also a respected way of labeling the deaths. In fact, Obama used "Mets Eghern" twice in his text.
Why is the wording Genocide important? Since to this day Turkey has denied that what had taken place amounted to genocide Armenians are struggling and battling for justice to have the genocide recognized world-wide. The aim of this is to bring justice. An apology has to take place, perpertrators tried (all of them dead) and punished and reconciliation moved forward. In this regard, the United States recognizing the events as "Medz Eghern" as Genocide is a milestone in the worldwide recognition and condemnation of such an attrocity that payved the way of the Jewish Holocaust, Rwanda and Darfur. See how many countries have already recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide.
Turkey, so far, is in the state of denial. It is obvious because Turkey does not want to be labeled as a country who committed a genocide. However, how far can this policy sustain itself no serious historian or a statesman knows. Even there are several and growing number of Turkish scholars who take the critical view on own history and call on the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Taner Akcam is one of them. On March 19 Turkish genocide scholar Taner Akcam in his lecture titled "Facing History" and delivered at the Clark University sent a powerful message to U.S. President Barack Obama, asking him to liberate Turks and Armenians by properly recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
Barack Obama in today called the events "Meds Eghern," saying his views have not changed. Now where do we go from here?
As an Armenian parent my dream is to see the Southern Caucasus as it is in Western Europe: full of prosperity, freedom and security. However, this cannot happen if the Turkish society and the government deny to believe deep in their hearts the suffering and the attrocities that their past political leaders have caused to the Armenian people. Note that I am not saying the Turkish people committed the genocide, as no one says the German people committed the Holocaust. It is the political leaders of Turkish past that have made this very bad decision during the first World War thinking a genocide and the annihilation of Armenians and deprivation of them from their homeland is a solution to their agenda. The souls of the innocent are crying for justice and have come to haunt today's reality.
Turkey and Armenia are engaged in a reconciliation process. The idea of the start is already promising. However, the road ahead i very bumpy and requires strong political will. Only time will show how far the parties are ready to go. If there is a strong political will to change we may be able to leave a better world and future for our children and grand children. In the meanwhile the souls of the Genocide victims are waiting for justice. As the president Obama puts it "The Meds Yeghern must live on in our memories" until justice and recognition triumph.