Mark Udall calls Armenian genocide what it was -- "genocide"

In politics, a single word can get in the way -- especially when that word is "genocide."

During his presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama left little doubt where he stood when it came to the events of April 24, 1915, when Turks exterminated somewhere north of one million Armenians. In 2008, he said, "The Armenian genocide is not an allegation... but rather a widely documented fact." But as president, Obama has avoided using this term for fear it would sabotage a border deal between Turkey and Armenia -- one that appears to be collapsing anyhow.

Senator Mark Udall isn't playing that game. In a statement about the anniversary, he makes frequent use of the g-word while emphasizing that this crime against humanity should never be forgotten. Here's what he had to say.

Udall: We Must Never Forget this Atrocity

Washington, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall released the following statement regarding the importance of commemorating the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide:

"Tomorrow marks the 95th anniversary of the campaign of genocide against the Armenian people. In just eight years, beginning in 1915, more than half of the Armenian population was murdered -- one and a half million men, women, and children -- and a half million more were forced into exile.

"Tomorrow, commemorations will be held in countries all over the world, with all of them sending out a common message: 'We shall never forget this atrocity.' It is because of the organized efforts of the Armenian community that every year so many people come together to remember those who suffered and to ensure that younger generations draw lessons from this enormous tragedy.

"After the events of 1915, we said 'never again.' We haven't kept faith with those words in the years since -- but we must keep faith with them now. I thank all of those around the world, who continue to keep alive the memory of the atrocities of 95 years ago and who remind us all that by working together, we can make a difference in the world today."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts