Year later, towards the end of graduate school when life transitioned to California's Central Valley, my curiosity led me to understanding the place and its people. And was reminded of that short story from the high school years. This nerd was all excited that I was in the very geography that I had studied about in a story in a high school text. Since then, I have used that short story in my introductory class for students to analyze the economic geography there, and have even discussed at a professional conference the pedagogical experience.
The author, William Saroyan, was of Armenian descent. The valley, especially around Fresno, was home to many Armenian-Americans. One of my favorite Los Angeles Times journalists back then was Mark Arax, who is also an Armenian-American from Fresno. The treasurer of a local community group that I worked with was an Armenian-American.
Thus, it didn't take me long to understand the angst that the Armenian-Americans felt about the Armenian Genocide.
But, of course, that "g" word is yet to be used by any American president, including the current White House occupant. The fact that it happened a hundred years ago should make it easy, one would think, for a global leader to call it for what it is. Nope. As Matt Welch sarcastically put it, it is not Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day but "Barack Obama/Samantha Power Sanctimony Reversal Day."
What's the reversal, you ask? Remember Samantha Power's claim to fame via her book? You forgot already? She then became Candidate Senator Obama's advisor and is now the ambassador to the UN. So, back when she was advising Candidate Obama, what did the eloquent senator say? Again, Matt Welch provides that:
[T]he Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.Ahem, Senator Obama won the election, and then got re-elected. How many years has Obama been the President now?
Turns out that whether it is the Armenian Genocide, or Guantanamo, or illegal wiretapping, or drone warfare, or ... it is a case of Jekyll and Hyde--there was a Senator Obama and there is a President Obama. I am all the more happy that I voted for neither one. Not that I voted for the Geriatrics Only Party either--it is all Tweedledum and Tweedledee! :(
Who cares for the million dead in some far away place, eh!
BTW, Matt Welch provides this link to Samantha Power talking about the Armenian genocide, but back in the campaign days of 2008 when they wanted the Armenian-American votes! :(