Members of US Congress commemorate Armenian Genocide, condemn Turkey’s denials
WASHINGTON—United States Senators and Representatives participated in coast to coast community and coalitions forums, raised their voices on the floor of the U.S. Congress, and took to social media in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, calling for an end to American complicity in Turkey’s obstruction of justice for this crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“Thank you to all our Congressional allies who joined in Capitol Hill, community, and coalition remembrances this April 24th,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Their solidarity reaffirms our collective resolve to replace U.S. complicity in Turkey’s obstruction of justice with an authentically American, pro-active policy that challenges Turkey ‘s denials and leverages our global influence to bring about a just, comprehensive, and enduring international resolution of this still unpunished crime.”
Excerpts from statements are provided below from top Senate leaders including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Democrat Jack Reed (D-R.I.), as well as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Dave Trott (R-Mich.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.), among many others.
Senator Schumer, Representative Pallone and Congressional Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) offered remarks at the annual Times Square Armenian Genocide observance, attended by thousands. In California, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) offered remarks at a variety of commemorative events as did Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) in their respective states.
In a moving speech on the House floor, Rep. Valadao invoked the immortal words of Armenian writer and educator Avedis Aharonian in describing the importance of vigilance in the face of genocide, stating, “If evil of this magnitude can be ignored, if our children forget, then we deserve oblivion and to earn the world’s scorn.” Fellow Central Valley Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) referenced the Armenian Genocide memorial at his alma mater, Fresno State University, honored the memory of Armenian patriot Soghomon Tehlirian and vowed to “stand with Armenians all over the world to say ‘menk chenk morranum’ – We will not forget.”
On April 5, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives members joined with Armenian American community leaders, genocide-prevention coalition partners, and diplomats representing Armenia and Artsakh in a standing-room-only Capitol Hill remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Participating in the solemn observance were Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone, Jackie Speier, Dave Trott, and David Valadao, Vice-Chair Adam Schiff, and Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Judy Chu, Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Jim Costa, Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brad Schneider, Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.).
Earlier, on March 22, the Capitol Hill premiere of the Armenian Genocide-era epic “The Promise” included the participation of Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Jackie Speier, David Trott, Frank Pallone, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), and Representatives Judy Chu, Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).
Excerpts of Senate and House floor statements and press statements commemorating the Armenian Genocide are provided below.
Excerpts of Senate and House Floor Statements and Press Statements Commemorating the Armenian Genocide – April, 2017
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): “I’m a steadfast supporter and co-sponsor of our great friend Bob Menendez’s bill, the Armenian Genocide Resolution. I was urged by group after group including some high ups in the State Department, don’t do it. It’ll offend the Turks. I don’t care if it offends the Turks, the truth is the truth.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.): “The survivors of the Armenian Genocide, however, persevered due to their unbreakable spirit and steadfast resolve and went on to greatly contribute to the lands in which they found new homes and communities, including the United States. This genocide has been denied for far too long. That is why I have joined with several of my colleagues on resolutions over the years to encourage the U.S. to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “Too often, the truth of these horrific events has been denied, yet the historical record is clear. We must not dishonor the memory of those murdered, or the pain of families who survived, by refusing to call the calculated, widespread extermination of the Armenians what it was.”
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.): “Today we remember 1.5 million Armenians exterminated by Ottomans during #ArmenianGenocide. We must fight all efforts to deny this truth.”
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.): “We are determined. We just introduced another resolution from the Caucus members. We are determined that at some point, and hopefully soon, we will see a genocide recognition by the U.S. Congress and we will not stop until that happens.”
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.): “Nearly one hundred years after the Armenian Genocide, Congress has shamefully failed to pass a resolution that would officially recognize the attempt by Ottoman leaders to extinguish the Armenian people. Today, President Trump failed to recognize the Armenian Genocide, adding further insult to long-standing injury and injustice. Without direct condemnation of the horrific acts executed against an entire ethnicity, Congress and this Administration continue to implicitly ignore crimes against humanity and that is unacceptable.”
Rep. David Trott (R-Mich.): “#ArmenianGenocideRemembranceDay is a solemn reminder of the 1.5 million Armenians murdered by the Ottoman Turks in the early 1900s – a genocide that many still deny. It is time for us to stand with the over 17,000 Armenian-Americans in Michigan and the Armenian people around the world in recognizing this dark period of history. The world has not and will not forget.”
Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.): “From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire engaged in a systematic and organized deportation and extermination of over 2 million Armenians from their homeland. It is estimated that nearly 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children were killed and many more permanently displaced or forced to flee.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): “President Trump becomes now one of a long line of a succession of Presidents unwilling to confront Turkey, and I think we are not living up to our moral responsibility.”
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.): “I’m proud to have consistently cosponsored the Armenian Genocide Resolution in every Congress I’ve served in to have formal recognition by the government of the United States, and I will not rest until we are successful. Let us take the time today to remember the 1.5 million people who were taken from us—parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins.”
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.): “102 years ago the Armenian Genocide, which claimed 1.5 million Armenian lives, began. Today we take time to remember those lives lost to senseless hatred and violence. We must not gloss over or deny this historical truth.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.): “History is clear. And the United States must be clear as well. It is shameful that our government has now failed to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide for more than a century. Over the years, Armenia has been an important ally for the United States. I am proud to count many Armenian Americans among my constituents. We owe it to the Armenian people and all people of Armenian heritage to finally and officially recognize the reality of this genocide.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.): “This year is the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Today, people all over the world will stop and remember the 1.5 million Armenian people killed between 1915 and 1923. I applaud your dedication to preserving the memory of those who lost their lives. As you assemble here in Atlanta to commemorate this day, I ask that you remember our purpose. ”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “Today, on the 102nd anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, we recognize the murder of 1.5 million Armenian men women, and children in the years that followed under the direction of the Ottoman Empire. … To deny the Armenian Genocide is to deny the humanity of its victims and the demands of our own.”
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.): “On this day, we pause with heavy hearts to remember the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the death of over 1.5 million men, women, and children. The loss of life is unacceptable as is any diminishment of those who died and the pain that persists still today. History is the greatest resource of knowledge in our acknowledgement of our achievements and failings as a global community and should serve as our compass and guide for our actions.”
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.): “We must recognize these atrocities of the past as history and never deny them. We honor the 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children killed in the Armenian Genocide.”
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.): “The Armenian Genocide was a historic crime against Ottoman Armenians that resulted in suffering and death of such a profound magnitude that it continues to be felt today. Today, as we mark the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the entire world should stand with Armenians everywhere in commemorating the Armenian Genocide, acknowledging the horror of its cruelty, and the recognizing the generations of pain it has caused. It is time for truth.”
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.): “Yesterday, I joined the Armenian community in Montebello to commemorate the 1.5 million lives lost in the Armenian Genocide. This genocide was one of the darkest periods in world history. We will never allow the lives of those lost be forgotten. Their legacy lives on in all of us.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.): “Today is both Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. With the rediscovery of an official 1915 Ottoman telegram asking for an update on the murder of Armenians, denial is no longer an option. It’s time our government stand on the right side of history and recognize this genocide as historical fact. We remember these two modern genocides not only to honor the victims but to ensure these atrocities never happen to anyone ever again.”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.): “The Armenian Genocide was a crime against humanity that must be recognized in order to prevent atrocities like it from ever happening again. Join me today, on the 102nd anniversary, to honor the memory of the victims and the struggle to ensure that genocide is forever eliminated.”
Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.): “Today marks 102 years since the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. This horrific period saw more than 1.5 million Armenians murdered. Today, I stand with the Armenian people and call for justice and recognition of the lives lost.”
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.): “Unfortunately, the president continued to extend U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide by failing to properly characterize the near annihilation of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide… As crimes of genocide continue to plague this world, Turkey’s policy of denying the Armenian Genocide gives license to those who perpetrate genocide everywhere.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.): “I joined the chorus of the voices in the world that grows louder with each passing year. This was a calculated elimination of entire people and we can’t let this tragedy to remain. There was nothing natural about that about the disaster that befell the Armenian people and I stand with you today to join you in confronting a stubborn resistance towards atrocities from Turkey.”
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.): “I am very disappointed and saddened that another year has passed without the President of the United States or the Congress recognizing the events of 1915 as genocide. We cannot move forward free of genocide without recognizing the first genocide of the 20th century. So I ask my colleagues to please join me in recognizing the lives of 1.5 million victims and their families. It is always said that now is not the right time because of our relationship with Turkey as they become, like this country, less democratic as a result of recent elections. I reject that view. If we do not recognize the genocide now, then when?”