April 24, 2021:
We commend President Joe Biden’s decision to formally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide today on its 106th annual day of commemoration.
President Biden assumed office during a turbulent period in the history of the United States. With heightening political, religious, and racial tensions, he committed to taking bold steps towards the reunification of a divided country at a crucial time.
Drawing from genocide theory, bolstered by universal human rights and dignity for all, it is exceedingly important to resist the “us versus them” mentality that is rising in the United States and throughout the world. It is also necessary to hold state and non-state actors and/or groups accountable for crimes they have committed.
Biden’s recognition of the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War One as an act of Genocide, although largely a symbolic gesture, sends an important message both in the country and across borders. Regardless of how much time has passed or how adamant the genocide perpetrators as deniers may be, President Biden’s acknowledgement of the truth sets a precedent that future violence will not go unrecognized and that perpetrators will not get away with impunity.
As we celebrate this long overdue step for the United States, we are reminded that genocide denial and the impact of impunity for past crimes remains an ongoing pursuit. The Zoryan Institute works to develop a common body of knowledge that fosters dialogue and reconciliation, in order to break cycles of violence that are often imbued by denial and impunity.
We can only applaud President Biden for putting political expediency aside, for the sake of truth, harmony and peace amongst people in this ever shrinking, diverse world.
-Megan Reid, Deputy Executive Director
International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (A Division of the Zoryan Institute)