BOSTON (CBS) - I don't always agree with actor George Clooney's politics, but I applaud his role over the weekend in marking the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide inflicted by the Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century.
That should be a no-brainer, but it hasn't been.
Although several dozen US states, many foreign nations, and even the Pope have used the appropriate word – genocide, a systematic effort to eradicate a specific group of people – to describe what happened, the White House refuses to do so out of fear of annoying the Turkish government.
The neo-fascist president of Turkey issued a statement claiming that he "shares the grief" of the Armenians but opposes efforts to "politicize history through a bitter rhetoric of hate and enmity."
If it weren't so repulsive, that statement would be laughable.
It is President Erdogan who wants to "politicize history" by trying to whitewash it.
You have to acknowledge a problem and confront it directly to have any hope of solving it or repairing the damage. That's true in our personal lives, and its certainly true in the case of genocide.
There's a reason why Holocaust deniers are so intent on obscuring the truth of what happened, or closer to home, why our culture has worked so hard over the years to downplay the savagery and lasting damage of slavery. And there's a reason why it's essential that we not let them get away with it.
As Clooney noted at this weekend's ceremony, Hitler once justified his bloodlust by saying "Who remembers Armenia?"
The correct answer: "The whole world."
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