Thursday, April 09, 2009

The way to handle the Amernian genocide problem

So Obama is avoiding his campaign statement that he would call the Turkish expulsion and killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians a genocide. Not too surprising. He's an improvement over a regular politician, but he's not the fabled arrival of the Honest Statesman.

Still, I think there's a politically-viable way for America to finally call a genocide a genocide. It would be for the Congress and the president to formally recognize the Armenian genocide and, at the same time, formally recognize that in some cases, the American and colonial treatment of Native Americans also constituted genocide. I think that could help get Turks off their high horse if we're willing to put ourselves in the same category. Obama even came close in his own speech to the Turkish Parliament, when immediately before discussing the "events of 1915" he said "Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans."

This recognition of American genocide might be difficult for some Americans (and not every American interaction or war with Native Americans was genocidal; the vast majority weren't). It might then also help those Americans understand the Turkish reluctance. Anyway, having company in acknowledging sin might make it a little easier to do.

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