Members of Congress Rally Behind Genocide Recognition

Call on President Bush to honor his pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.

WASHINGTON–GLENDALE–In less than four days of circulation in the U.S.House–more than 65 Representatives have co-signed the Knollenberg-Pallone letter urging President Bush to honor his campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as a "genocide," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Additional members are expected to participate in the letter in the coming weeks.

Launching the campaign on March 5th–Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) wrote a letter to their House colleagues reminding them that last year–in his April 24 statement–President Bush "fell short of using the word genocide," and asking them to urge President Bush to honor his campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide. They also pointed out to their colleagues that the European Union recently adopted a resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.

George Radanovich (R-Calif.) and David Bonior (D-Mich.)–the authors of Congressional Armenian Genocide resolutions–have circulated a Dear Colleague letter entitled–"107 Members of Congress used the ‘G’ Word Last Year." In this letter–they stress that–"As members of this body–we have an obligation to educate and familiarize Americans on the Armenian Genocide. In fact–we must ensure that the legacy of the genocide is remembered so that this human tragedy will not be repeated . . . Therefore–it is critical that we educate people about the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenia’s by the Ottoman Empire between 1915-1923 and characterize it properly as a ‘Genocide.’"

In another Dear Colleague letter–the only two Armenian Americans in Congress–California Democrat Anna Eshoo and New York Republican John Sweeney wrote that–"As Armenian descendents–we respectfully ask you to join us in signing a Congressional letter urging President Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide during his annual April 24th commemoration statement."

They also quote from Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu: "It is sadly true what a cynic has said–that we learn from history that we do not learn from history. And yet it is possible that if the world had been conscious of the genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Turks against the Armenia’s–the first genocide of the twentieth century–then perhaps humanity might have been more alert to the warning signs that were being given before Hitler’s madness was unleashed on an unbelieving world."

The ANCA-WR also reported that 21 new members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors of the 8th Annual ANCA Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Observance.

Senators George Allen (R-Va.)–John F. Kerry (D-Mass.)–and Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Representatives Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.)–Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)–Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.)–Eric I. Cantor–Randy "Duke" Cuningham (R-Calif.)–Benjamin Gilman (R-NY)–Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.)–Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.)–Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)–Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.)–Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.)–Donald M. Payne (D-NJ)–George Radanovich (R-Calif.)–Marge Roukema (R-NJ)–Ed Royce (R-Calif.)–John E. Sweeney (R-NY)–Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.)–and Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) have joined the Armenian National Committee of America and other Members of Congress–to cosponsor the 8th Annual ANCA Capitol Hill Observance in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The event will consist of a program and reception on Wednesday–April 17–in the Gold Room (Rm. 2168) of the Rayburn House Office Building–from 6 to 8 pm.

The Observance offers Members of Congress the opportunity to commemorate the Armenian Genocide with their constituents and other members of the Armenian American community–including survivors of the Armenian Genocide–as well as with leaders of human rights organizations–the diplomatic community–and members of the clergy.

The Armenian American community is cordially invited to join Members of Congress in marking the 87th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

For further information or to RSVP–please contact the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region at 818.500.1918 or via email at ancawr@anca.org or contact the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region at 617.923.1918 or via email at ancaer@mediaone.net.

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