Schiff Kirk Urge to Support for Proper Presidential Genocide Commemoration

List of co-signers of Congressional letter to President Bush grows to 82

WASHINGTON–Freshmen Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) joined a growing list of House Members urging their colleagues to co-sign the Knollenberg-Pallone letter to President Bush asking him to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as "genocide" in his April 24th statement–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

The list of co-signers–more than 80 members to date–has been growing steadily over the past week.

In a letter to fellow House members earlier today–Reps. Schiff and Kirk argued that–"in the absence of proper recognition–the Armenian Genocide continues to be denied today. Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide. It is an assault upon the dignity of the survivors and their descendants. Denial is what Nobel Laureate Ellie Weisel has called a ‘double killing.’" They also impressed upon their colleagues that "More than 150 distinguished scholars and writers–including Yehuda Bauer–Israel W. Charny–Cornel West–Helen Fein–Henry Louis Gates–Jr.–Seamus Heaney–Deborah E. Lipstadt–Norman Mailer–Arthur Miller–Henry Morgenthau III–Joyce Carol Oates–Susan Sontag–William Styron–John Updike–and Kurt Vonnegut spoke out against the denial of the Armenian Genocide in a public petition on April 24–1998."

"Congressman Kirk–in his first term in office–has already emerged as a leader on issues of concern to Armenian Americans–in Illinois and around the country," said Illinois ANC Chairman Greg Bedian. "We appreciate all that he has done for our community–most recently–his efforts to rally his colleagues in support of the letter urging President Bush to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide in his remarks this April 24th."

ANC Glendale Chapter Chairman Artin Manoukian commented that "Congressman Schiff’s initiative in issuing this letter to encourage his colleagues to become signatories on the Armenian Genocide letter to the President is yet another example of his proactive approach to issues of concern to Armenian Americans in the 27th Congressional District–and across the nation. As the only Armenian American organization that supported Rep. Schiff’s bid for Congress in 2000–we are extremely pleased by the leadership role he has taken in ensuring that Armenian American concerns see their share of progress in the Halls of Congress."

Reps. Schiff and Kirk join Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–past Armenian Genocide resolution sponsors David Bonior (D-Mich) and George Radanovich (R-Calif.) as well as Armenian American members of Congress Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and John Sweeney (R-NY) in sending a series of "Dear Colleague" letters during the past week urging support for the letter to President Bush.

In their March 5 letter–Reps. Knollenberg and Pallone–who are spearheading the effort–informed their colleagues that–"earlier this week–the European Union adopted a resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide. President Bush has a unique opportunity to join with the international community in helping to ensure the legacy of the Genocide is remembered so this human tragedy will not be repeated."

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."

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