Think Again: Hypocrisy at its worst
Thousands of Armenian-Americans protest outside the Turkish Consulate on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Los Angeles April 24, 2011. (Stefano Paltera/For The Times / May 7, 2012)
Republicans will claim that all the news on "The Daily Show" is pro-Democrat. But all you have to do is view Jon Stewart on a daily basis to see that he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to exposing hypocrisy.
Maybe that’s why so many have come to be fans of the show. There is so much lack of authenticity and honesty in our political establishment that Stewart easily fills a show every day exposing it all.
There is a recent example of hypocrisy that hits home for me in a personal way. President Obama and his close advisor and noted author on genocide, Samantha Power, recently demonstrated it.
A day before Armenians worldwide commemorate the Armenian genocide, President Obama gave a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum announcing the results of the Genocide Prevention Initiative he launched last year -- a directive to improve the U.S. government's capacity to respond to genocide and threats of genocide.
At his April 23 speech, he announced the formation of an Atrocity Prevention Board, which Power will chair.
Obama also repeated what he said last August: “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.”
Obama paying respect to those victimized by the Holocaust is proper and the actions he is taking for genocide prevention are a step forward. But Obama’s hypocrisy has left him with little credibility on the matter.
Since entering office, Obama has gone out of his way to aid the Turkish government’s denial of the Armenian genocide, despite his earlier promises to speak truthfully about the issue. A politician breaking campaign promises is nothing surprising, but to continue repeating disingenuous words about genocide further diminishes our country’s ability to be a credible voice on the matter.
Behind this is Power, and that’s where it gets especially infuriating. Power is the senior director of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs for the National Security Council in the White House.
Previously, she was a professor at Harvard in human rights and the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School, priding herself as a leading voice in human rights policy and genocide.
In 2002, Power wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” in which she laid out our country’s record of repeatedly failing to prevent or even condemn genocides around the world because of political expediency.
The first case study she cited was the Armenian genocide and how that set the pattern for inaction during future genocides. She also highlighted the U.S.’ failure to speak truthfully about the Armenian genocide to this day.
I came to know Power when she was promoting her book, and my impression of her was that she was a principled intellectual, especially as an anti-genocide crusader.
The day of Obama’s recent speech, Power presided over a conference on genocide at the Holocaust Museum and there was not a single mention of the Armenian genocide, as if it never happened.
On the White House’s Facebook page that was streaming the conference, whenever one commented on this issue, like many did, the little interns in the White House were deleting all posts mentioning the Armenian genocide. This is what perpetrators of genocide do after such an atrocity: try to erase all evidence of the crime.
Power wrote in her book that former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz, who himself has always protected and supported Turkey’s genocide denial, told her to guard against two things, “selective memory and absolute dishonesty.”
Perhaps it’s time for Power to read her own book again.
ZANKU ARMENIAN is a resident of Glendale and a corporate communications and public affairs professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.