CINCINNATI (TDB) -- President Bush prefers that the House scrap a resolution that calls the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians genocide. But across Ohio there seems to be little concern about offending the Turks and expressing outrage over the 1915 slaughter of more than a million humans. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a state and federally financed museum on the Ohio River in Cincinnati, premiered the film Screamers about genocide and genocide denial about Armenia. It screened the film a few hours after the President complained House action could damage diplomatic relations with Turkey. Nick Clooney, a Cincinnati Post newspaper columnist and the father of actor George Clooney, introduced the film for its first showing in the state.
Bush, of course, had valid diplomatic concerns. He dismissed the House resolution as "not the right response" to the killings, a crime whose mention can lead to imprisonment in Turkey, a nation that officially contends genocide never happened in Armenia. Historians say otherwise.
Last April, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) signed a resolution calling on Ohioans to recognize the genocide that took place between 1915 and 1923. He said nearly 2 million people were forcibly deported by the Ottoman Turks, an action that is now described as ethic cleansing.
"Of these, 1.5 million men, women and children were killed and one-half million were expelled from their homes. These acts succeeded in the elimination of a more than 2,500-year presence of Armenians from their historic homeland. All Ohioans embrace freedom, justice and human dignity. We have a collective responsibility to uphold these values and to focus the world's attention on human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing and genocide."
The mayors of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati -- all Democrats -- signed similar proclamations between April and July. Cleveland's Frank Jackson, Cincinnati's Mark Mallory and Mike Coleman in Columbus all used the word genocide to describe the atrocities inflicted on the Armenians. Mallory said that by "remembering the Armenian Genocide, we acknowledge the pain and suffering endured by those affected, and firmly assert that these types of injustices should never happen again."
The Armenian National Committee of America has more about Screamers, which condemns the world's inclination not to act when horrific events occur.