President Barack Obama may have avoided using “genocide” or “Armenian genocide” in the White House’s annual statement commemorating the systemic killing and forced relocation of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.
But Gov. Jerry Brown didn’t.
California’s top elected official echoed his predecessors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian in using the term “genocide.” His proclamation added that the events were a “deliberate attempt by the Ottoman Empire to eliminate all traces of a thriving, noble civilization.”
Wednesday — April 24 — is Genocide Remembrance Day and is marked by Armenians worldwide. It has also become a contentious day in American politics as the word genocide is carefully avoided by U.S. presidents.
But it has been a different story in California. Back in 1985, then Gov. George Deukmejian said it was time for President Reagan and Congress to “stop buckling under to Turkish pressure” on the genocide issue.
Subsequent governors have used the term in annual proclamations.
In declaring Wednesday as “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” Brown’s proclamation honors the “victims and survivors of the genocide, and reaffirm our commitment to preventing future atrocities from being committed against any people.”