“Never again”, said Obama: he did not said “the Genocide”

By the thedailybeast.com

One week after Holocaust Remembrance Day and a day shy of the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, President Barack Obama stood at a lectern in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, facing an audience of career genocide fighters and a front-row phalanx of Holocaust survivors.

“‘Never again,’” the president said, invoking the familiar slogan, “is a challenge to us all to pause and to look within. For the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec, but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women. And we have seen it again—madness that can sweep through peoples, sweep through nations, embed itself.”

Obama was speaking as much about the present as about the past. As the Sudanese threaten to tumble back into war, and Syria faces an escalating humanitarian disaster, the president spoke at length about the responsibility of government in the face of human disaster. “We are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save,” Obama said.

Sheathed in the language of the Holocaust (and embedding in that message an assurance that he stands with the state of Israel and against anti-Semitism), the president announced the creation of an Atrocity prevention Board, an interagency mechanism that calls for a new means of preventing mass atrocities and genocides. The board’s creation was the result of a White House statement issued last summer that “preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national-security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.” It was the first time the U.S. government had made such a statement.

Also on Monday, the president announced an executive order targeting governments and individuals who use information technology as a means of abusing human rights. Specifically focused on Iran and Syria, the order will effectively deny visas and strengthen sanctions.

The message sent by the APB’s creation is clear—the question is whether it can be implemented.

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