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Obama prevents Smithsonian from display of Armenian artifact on genocide

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The Islamic supremacist Ottoman government “embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population.” Millions of Christians were slaughtered. The continuing denial of the Armenian genocide is a crime against humanity. Shame on
those who, for political expediency, wish to sweep this annihilation
under the rug.

The Armenian Genocide was one of the most compelling human rights crises of World War I, helping to inspire Adolf Hitler three decades later to carry out the atrocities of World War II.

Hitler said, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Not Obama.

Hitler’s quote is still relevant today because the forces of denial and
revisionism are still striving to expunge from history the record of
this enormous crime against humanity – the first modern genocide of the
20th century.

Despite the monstrous lessons of the twentieth century, Obama is repeating the same terrible, ghastly pattern. Not even a precious rug can be displayed in Obama’s unending deference to the supremacist PM Erdogan. He prostrates himself at the feet of annihilationists.

Armenian ‘orphan rug’ is in White House storage, as unseen as genocide is neglected” Washington Post, October 26, 2013(thanks to Armaros)

Courtesy of The Armenian Cultural Foundation –
Cover art for “President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug” by Dr. Hagop Martin Deranian.

  The rug was woven by orphans in
the 1920s and formally presented to the White House in 1925. A
photograph shows President Calvin Coolidge standing on the carpet, which
is no mere juvenile effort, but a complicated, richly detailed work
that would hold its own even in the largest and most ceremonial rooms.

Armenian genocide rug’s freedom a worthy cause for American Jews JNS, October 25, 2013

Ninety-nine years after the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, one
of the most poignant symbols of Armenian suffering is being held hostage—by the
White House.

Armenians are marched to a nearby prison in Mezireh by armed Turkish
soldiers in Kharpert, Armenia, in April, 1915. Ninety-nine years after
the Armenian genocide, one
of the most poignant symbols of Armenian suffering is being held hostage
by the
White House, writes Rafael Medoff. Credit: Project SAVE via Wikimedia

The prisoner is an 18-foot long rug. It was woven by four hundred
Armenian orphan girls living in exile in Lebanon, as a gesture of appreciation
for America’s assistance to survivors of the genocide. In 1925, they sent the
rug to President Calvin Coolidge, who pledged that it would have “a place of
honor in the White House, where it will be a daily symbol of goodwill on

Unfortunately, the rug is instead becoming a symbol of the
unseemly politics of genocide. An Armenian-American dentist, Hagop Martin
Deranian, recently authored a book called “President Calvin Coolidge and the
Armenian Orphan Rug,” and the Smithsonian Institution scheduled an event about
Dr. Dernanian’s book for Dec. 16. But when the Smithsonian asked the White
House to loan it the rug for the event, the request was denied. 

Reporters who asked the State Department about it this week were
referred to the White House. When they asked the White House spokesman, they
were curtly told that he had nothing to say except, “It is not possible to loan
it out at this time.”

Armenian-American leaders believe the Obama administration is
responding to pressure from the Turkish government, which denies that genocide
took place. And Armenians have good reason to be suspicious. As a presidential
candidate in 2008, then-Senator Obama declared, “America deserves a leader who
speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide.” By contrast, the statements
that President Obama has issued each April on Armenian Remembrance Day have
never included the g-word. Instead, he has used an Armenian expression—“Meds
Yeghern,” meaning “the great calamity.” Fear of displeasing the Turks appears
to be the only plausible motive for that rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

Armenian-Americans are not the only ones who should be upset.
American Jews should be up in arms, too. Not only because of the sympathy that
victims of genocide instinctively feel for one another—but also because if the
White House can permit political considerations to trump recognition of the
Armenian genocide, there is a danger that memorialization of the Holocaust
could one day suffer a similar fate.

In any event, at least one president did keep his word: Calvin
Coolidge proudly displayed the Armenian Orphan Rug in the White House for the
rest of his term. 

After he left office, Coolidge took the rug to his Massachusetts
residence. It was still there in 1939, when former First Lady Grace Coolidge
became a leading figure in the struggle to rescue a different group of children
from a genocidal dictator. Mrs. Coolidge lobbied in support of the
Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have admitted 20,000 German Jewish children to
the United States. But President Franklin Delano Roosevelt refused to support
the legislation, and it was buried in committee.

Ironically, FDR’s relative and predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt,
advocated declaring war on Turkey over the Armenian genocide. “The failure to
deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the
future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense,” the then-ex-president
asserted in 1918. Teddy Roosevelt was correct to fear that tolerating genocide
would pave the way for it to happen again.

Indeed, Adolf Hitler reportedly once assured his subordinates that
their atrocities would not be remembered since “Who, after all, speaks today of
the annihilation of the Armenians?”

The genocide rug eventually made it back to the White House and
was in use during at least part of the Clinton administration. But it has not
been seen in public since then. If the Obama administration and the Turkish
government have their way, it seems, the imprisoned rug may never again see the
light of day.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of The David S.
Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C. His latest book is “FDR
and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.”


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