Presidential Candidate Bill Bradley Condemns Genocide

"We cannot alter the fact that 1.5 million Armenia’s died at the hands of a brutal enemy–and we cannot question that this tragedy can go by no name but genocide." Bill Bradley–in an April 24 letter to the AADLC

WASHINGTON–Democratic Presidential Candidate Bill Bradley marked the 84th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a statement condemning the annihilation of the Armenian people "at the hands of a brutal enemy," a crime which he stressed "can go by no name but genocide."

In an April 24 letter to the AADLC–the former New Jersey Senator reflected on the sorrow of the occasion and rededicated himself to ensuring that the world never forget that "from 1915 to 1923–1.5 million Armenia’s were murdered by the Ottoman Empire and its successor in the century’s first genocide."

Sen. Bradley’s commemoration of the Armenian Genocide stands in sharp contrast to the remarks this year by Vice President Al Gore–currently the only other Democratic presidential candidate. As in all his public statemen’s since becoming Vice President–Al Gore failed to use the term "genocide" to describe Ottoman Turkey’s systematic campaign to destroy its Armenian population. In an April 15th letter to the AADLC–the Vice President did not address the specific concern raised nationally by Armenian American Democrats–namely why–since his election as Vice President–he has refused to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide.

"We join with all Armenian Americans in welcoming Senator Bradley’s principled stand on the Armenian Genocide. His thoughtful and heartfelt message holds deep meaning to the survivors–their children and grandchildren," said AADLC Co-Chairman Khajag Sarkissian. "Senator Bradley represents all that is best in the tradition of public service and in the proud legacy of the Democratic Party. We value his friendship–welcome his innovative approach to public policy issues–and look forward to working with his campaign as it reaches out to the Armenian American community."

Text of Bill Bradley’s April 24 Letter to AADLC

Dear Mr. Sardar:

As the twentieth century draws to a close–we would do well to re-read history’s pages on its beginning–where we find a wrenching testimonial to humankind’s worst side. From 1915 to 1923–1.5 million Armenia’s were murdered by the Ottoman Empire and its successor in the century’s first genocide. It is man’s better side–in contrast–that spirits us to set aside April 24 each year to remember this atrocity–to mourn those lost–and to dedicate ourselves to making "never forget" a living promise. Reflecting both sides–it is in sorrow and hope that I join you today in commemorating the 84th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The Armenian genocide is not simply about Armenia’s. Its significance transcends the suffering of those most immediately affected. We cannot alter the fact that 1.5 million Armenia’s died at the hands of a brutal enemy–and we cannot question that this tragedy can go by no name but genocide. There are–however–things that we can do.

As individuals–we can carry the awfulness of this memory in our hearts every day. As parents–we can educate our children so they remember too. As a diverse people–we can pledge in our communities to build bridges between ethnic–racial–social–and economic islands. And as a nation–we can demonstrate leadership in helping to defuse ethnic tensions before they erupt into violence and facilitating resolution of them after they have.

But today–let us slow down–let us open our eyes–and let us raise our voices to pay tribute to those Armenia’s who died and to those humanitarians who refuse to let the world forget them. Sincerely, Bill Bradley

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