Sarbanes Condemns US Failure to Recognize Genocide

Rep. John Sarbanes

Sarbanes: US refusal to recognize genocide “puts salt on the wounds of the Armenian people . . . Corrodes the moral standing of our nation”

WASHINGTON—Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) offered moving remarks on the floor of the U.S. House this week in support of full and formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

In his April 18 speech, Representative Sarbanes stressed that the U.S. government’s failure to stand up to Turkey’s denial of this crime “puts salt on the wounds of the Armenian people. But it does more than that. It corrodes the moral standing of our Nation as a whole.”

He also explained to his House colleagues that: “When faced with the deeply compelling research and scholarship surrounding the Armenian Genocide, it is wholly untenable to assert that the genocide did not occur. Instead, many in Congress offer the protest that recognition would harm our relationship with Turkey and undermine our broader geostrategic interests. Others suggest weakly that it is just not the right time to push the issue of recognition.”

Watch the Maryland Congressman’s remarks.

“Armenian Americans from Maryland and across America join in thanking Congressman Sarbanes for his principled call for U.S. condemnation and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “We share his view that U.S. complicity in the denial of this crime not only represents an offense against Armenians, but also a surrender of our human rights policy to foreign pressure that undermines America’s moral standing.”

The complete text of the Congressman’s remarks are provided below.

Congressional Record:
U.S. House of Representatives

April 18, 2012

The SPEAKER pro tempore:  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Sarbanes) for 5 minutes.

Mr. SARBANES:  Mr. Speaker, the genocide of more than 1 1/2 million Armenians by Ottoman-era Turkish authorities is an undeniable fact of history. In 1915, the Armenian nation which had resided in Anatolia for thousands of years was subjected to an organized barbarity that included death marches, drowning, and executions.

Those who managed to survive these horrors scattered to the four corners of the Earth. Today, survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their children and grandchildren bear witness to this massacre. Each year, Armenian Americans, supported by others who readily accept the teachings of history, renew their plea that the United States Government formally recognize the Armenian genocide, and every year that responsibility of recognition remains unfulfilled.

When faced with the deeply compelling research and scholarship surrounding the Armenian Genocide, it is wholly untenable to assert that the genocide did not occur. Instead, many in Congress offer the protest that recognition would harm our relationship with Turkey and undermine our broader geostrategic interests. Others suggest weakly that it is just not the right time to push the issue of recognition. The result is the same–the continued failure on the part of the United States to do the right thing. This failure puts salt on the wounds of the Armenian people. But it does more than that. It corrodes the moral standing of our Nation as a whole.

I join those who once again, at this time of annual remembrance, implore my fellow Members of Congress and President Obama to formally recognize the Armenian genocide.

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9 Comments

  1. zograp said:

    Thank you Congressman Sarbanes for your principled call, all the best to you

  2. David said:

    At least there’s still a few in American Government with the integrity of Rep Sarbanes who doesn’t walk around with a “For Sale” sign stapled on their chest. It took the US over 200 years to even admit that we were a racist Nation towards African Americans, over 100 years to admit that we brought heartbreak and misery to our Native Americans because we viewed them as inferiors. There is never a “good time” to recognise a Genocide. It does “corrode our moral standing”. It’s really not in our nature to “act up” but patience is wearing thin. Don’t make us choose between Justice or America.

  3. Alex Postallian said:

    John Sarbanes,of Greek heritage(Greece-cradle of civilization) understands the pain of turkish animalistic behavior toward their minorities,and neigbors.Greece built the civilization in Europe.The mongol rejects from turkey tore it down.

  4. Roman said:

    I guess, a third party is working informally so that there won’t be a recognition of Genocide. Reason: This party doesn’t want any competition with the holocaust monopoly, recognition and total compensations.

  5. Satenik said:

    The Armenian Genocide is a perfect litmus test. The USA has no moral authority whatsoever unless they recognise the Armenian Genocide. Enough denying this tragic historical fact. Obama should grow some spine and recognise the AG if he really means to put an end to current and future genocides. Stop this pussyfooting to please the Turks!

  6. Vars Injijian said:

    Plain and simple. Rafael Lempkin, a Polish Jew, coined the term “GENOCIDE” and referenced it to the massacres of the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. Why is it so hard for other politicians to admit that fact?
    Perhaps I can coin a term “DENIOCIDE” and reference it the politicians who deny the genocide on behalf of Turkey.

  7. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    We thank Congressman John Sarbanes for standing up for the Armenian people for the U.S. Government to formerly stand up to the well documented Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 by the Young Turk Government. We hope this is a wake up call for all Congressman & Senators to push President Obama to recognize the truth of what happened.

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