WATCH: Schiff Makes Remarks in Armenian Marking Genocide Anniversary

WASHINGTON–On Wednesday Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the lead sponsor of the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress, delivered his remarks in Armenian on the House Floor to honor the more than one and a half million Armenian men, women and children who were murdered by the Ottoman government.

In a historic first in the Congress, Representative Schiff said in his Armenian address, “I speak to you from the floor of the House of Representatives in the language of your grandparents and your great grandparents – the language they used to speak of their hopes, their dreams, their lives and their loves in the years before 1915 … I speak to you in the language of sons who watched their fathers murdered … I speak to you in the language of the girls begging the gendarmes for mercy …”

“My Armenian friends, here and around the world, today on the 98th anniversary of the [genocide day], I speak to you from the floor of the House of Representatives in the language of your grandparents and your great grandparents – the language they used to speak of their hopes, their dreams, their lives and their loves in the years before 1915.

“Throughout the Ottoman Empire, tens of thousands were to be killed outright.

“I speak to you in the language of the sons who watched their fathers’ murdered.

“Women were raped by the thousands.

“I speak to you in the language of the girls begging the gendarmes for mercy.

“Families were force marched through desert heat as the Ottoman government sought to destroy a people.

“I speak you in the language of the children begging for a drop of water.

“By the time it was over in 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children were dead.  It was the first genocide of the 20th Century.

“I speak to you in the language of the mothers who died with their babies in their arms.

“A nation was scattered around the world…  To the Middle East, to Europe and to America.

“I speak to you in the language of the survivors who came to America for freedom and made a new life

“For almost a century, Turkey has denied the genocide.  In the face of overwhelming evidence – much of it from American diplomats and journalists – Ankara has denied that the genocide ever happened.  They want the world to forget.

“I speak to you in the language of those who were lost.  Their voices drift across the decades – begging us to remember.

“I am not a descendant of the fallen, but I speak to you in their beautiful language because on this day, we are all Armenian.  And not just on this day.  Whenever we speak out against mass murder, whenever we refuse to be cowed into silence, we are all Armenian.

“For many years I have sat with you and listened – to the stories of those who were lost in the genocide and those who survived.

“I speak to you in their language to thank you for sharing your history with me.  And I speak to you from this place, this House, because Americans have always shown the courage to look horror in the eye and speak its name, and I look forward to the day when its leaders will do the same.

“And because I know that day will come.  May it come soon, so the last of the survivors may hear its awesome sound.

“May God hear our voices.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I yield back.”

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26 Comments

  1. Satenik said:

    Very impressive. Thank you. Now lets see if president Obama is going to be moved by this speech.

    • Zareh said:

      Obama is busy scheduling his next golf outing . He could care less about the Armenians. His buddy Erdogan will never allow him the use the word Genocide. Obama is a coward just like all the presidents before him except Reagan(God bless his heart).

  2. Gregory said:

    As an individual Mr. Schiff you are to be commended for your diligence however the party to which you are affiliated with (democrats) has severely antagonized Armenians, consistently disrespected our martyrs and taken our community for granted for WAY TOO LONG. Your party’s so called ‘leaders’ have left our community with no other choice but to continue fending for ourselves against all odds irrespective of what spineless backstabbing ‘leaders’ say or do. This is how political party’s alienate constituents. You can thank obama.

  3. edward demian said:

    I listened and it brought tears to my eyes. I wondered what the Turks made of it? “A hundred years later and a Jewish lawmaker gives a speech on the house floor in Armenian”. Fantastic.

  4. Margarit Mardirosian said:

    If all politicians were like Adam Schiff, politics would be less dirty and more respectful. Mr. Schiff, thank you, thank you. You have proved over and over that you care about those who have elected you to represent them. You have truly and justly earned the Armenian Vote. You are one politician who does what he says and says what he means. God Bless you and your family.

  5. An Armenian said:

    If Obama and his administration at the US State Dept. have had to go through what the Armenian nation has had to go through for centuries, perhaps he would have been moved. Otherwise, not a chance that he is going to be moved by this speech.

  6. Robert said:

    This is very admirable and shows great respect to those caught up in the Armenian Genocide. Thank you Congressman Schiff.

  7. Nora Armani said:

    Nice attempt, but missed opportunity!!!!
    What was the point? Who understands Armenian from the decision makers and polititican? Or was he addressing the Armenians who already know the story? Would have been much more effective to address Turks in Turkish or just in plain good old English so the rest of the Americans and the World could be filled in. Once again we, poor Armenians, rejoice because and ‘Odar’ speaks our language! But what has this speech achieved regarding the issue of Universal recognition and retribution????
    Or am I missing something here? Honestly, please fill me in.
    And dear Satenig, how do you expect Obama to be moved by this speech when he speaks no Armenian except the phonetically pronounced two words, ‘Medz Yeghern’?!?
    Irav meghk enk!

    • Hovaz said:

      Your voice has echoed through my comments… Please read them. We have to start the process before it’s TOO LITTLE TOO LATE!! We’ve got to start the movement now or never…

    • Satenik said:

      You must know one thing that dictates politics and it’s nothing new. You don’t need to understand a language per se in order to understand what is the politics behind it. Politics has a language of its own and it is universal. You either understand it or you don’t. By the way I never consider myself meghk” perhaps a “mekh” would be an apt description. We should be alert and politically engaged and read between the lines a little. There is lots of things that leaders don’t understand it but they have to accept it when the time is right. Don’t forget almost all presidents ,including Obama have their own speech writers, they don’t even have to think what they are going to say. All they have to do is read what’s put in front of them and yes it’s a fact that most of them don’t even comprehend what they are reading.You are of course right in saying that this speech alone may not achieve much but remember that there has been a tremendous change in attitudes ( all be it just appearance), if you have been following the Turkish newspapers, it’s only in the very recent years that they have been wrioting about the Armenian Genocide. Some of their columist have been quite candid about what happened in 1915. These are articles that would NEVER be allowed to be published before, so every little helps.

  8. Therese said:

    BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO AND THANK YOU MR. ADAM SCHIFF-IAN. I truly feel you are doing this from the bottom of your heart. Thank you for supporting our cause. Mr Obama I wish you would keep the promise you made to our Armenian people over 4 years ago. I trusted you and voted for you (twice)!

  9. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Obama Defending Turkishh Criime of the GENOCIDE as before!!

  10. HArutuyn said:

    Very good and i must say the day will come were the truth will rise and save the humans from barbaric acts and thoughts toward each other , the day will come when Turkey rocognises its past and admits her mistakes, and the day will come when the world will see it that the truth saves souls.

    • Hovaz said:

      Only in your sweetest dreams… Please wake up from your deep mental freeze. We can only defeat Turkey and return our homeland by waging an Economic War. Obviously you are detached from reality and World Geo-Politics… just like the majority of Armenians. I might sound very annoying to you at first and kind of harsh. But this is for the greater good of our nation. Please don’t take it personal. You are not alone… Unfortunately, millions of Armenians are just like you. My mission sounds like impossible but if I wake you up, I would add another soldier to the futuristic army that will bring Turkey to its knees.

  11. Hovaz said:

    Not bad for a non-Armenian to express himself in our language for the first time. Excellent performance on his side & very encouraging indeed, at least from the sentimental point of view. However, it will be very naive to think that it will have any positive affect on any Washington policy maker. In their chameleonian minds, it will be considered beneficial for them… It simply spreads dust in the eyes of the Armenian masses worldwide. Nothing will change on the ground. On April 25th, most Armenians will go about their normal business of bread winning & survival in a recession economy. On next year’s April 24th, some other genius politician will come up with a new mind trick for the Armenian audience… Bottom line is this: On our homeland front, Yerevan’s corrupt politicians will do little or no effort in the UN to officially push our cause on the International arena. In Washington, London, Paris, Moscow, Berlin and all other influential capitals, we will always be the sacrificial pawn and sometimes the Ace that they will play anytime they feel the need to bargain with Turkey. This pathetic status shall continue for many more dacades or may be generations until we loose our identity and no longer feel the need to pursue our cause.

  12. Hovaz said:

    There has to be a different path that will ultimately take our cuase to its just resolution. Lobbying alone in large capitals is like making annoying noises in an ally by an amateur teenager… It’s about time to put our collective economic muscle into a very serious business. I say it loud & clear to all nationally conscious compatriots… We have to start an ECONOMIC WARFARE against Turkey. If you want to defeat your enemy, make him starve first! How would you explain otherwise the blocades that preceded the war in Iraq and other parts of the globe? The current US led embargo by the West on Iran? The dacades long blocade by Azerbaijan & Turkey on Armenia?? Doesn’t that mean anything to our political elite? Why would we neglect a much more effective warfare tactics against an enemy that has been using it on our country since its inception??? Are we there to simply create noise under the ears of corrupt politicians? These are fundamental questions that need to be answered genuinely by us if we truly want to change the rules of engagement with our foes…

  13. An Armenian said:

    I think this was a way to counter the “Metz Yeghern” words used by Obama in his annual address to the Armenian people. Mr. Schiff actuall used the correct word for Genocide in Armenian “Tseghaspanoutuin”. This was the message being sent. Obama does nto realize that the words “Metz Yeghern” in Armenian describe the event and not the act. “Metz Yeghern” is the event and “Tseghaspanoutuin” is the act. Someone needs to communicate this to Obama and Mr. Serzh Sarkissian.

  14. Arziv said:

    He should have delivered the speech in English; so that it could have been heard and understood by all those listening. . In the assembly where he delivered the speech no one understood an iota. Do not waste energy on this Obama guy, he reneged on all his pledges to his ” convictions” ???. . Has Mr Schiff any aspirations to the presidency ? He must be given all the support available. An exceptional man; grateful for his dignity and humanity. Bless you.

  15. Mike Mirakian said:

    Pretty courageous of Representative Shiff! I can’t recall anyone doing that before. His Armenian sounded just perfect to me. To all the cynics out there, no ONE thing is going to get us what we want. I think we are doing pretty damn good considering our size and financial capabilities. The Azeris have mega oil bucks. The Turks have strategic geography, ten times our population and tons of American money. We appear to have righteousness and corrupt politicians. Times change and allegiances change — hang in there and don’t ever give up!

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