Rep. James McDermott Joins Armenian Caucus

WASHINGTON STATE DEMOCRAT ATTENDS ANCA-SPONSORED SEATTLE SCREENING OF ARARAT

WASHINGTON–DC–Washington State Democrat James McDermott (D-WA)–who viewed a special ANCA screening of "Ararat" in Seattle last December–has agreed to join the Congressional Armenian Caucus–reports the Armenian National Committee of America.

"We join with the growing Armenian American community in Seattle in welcoming Congressman McDermott to the Armenian Caucus," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As a new member–working in partnership with Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone and Joe Knollenberg and the rest of the Caucus–he will be in an even better position to advance the many issues of concern to our community."

Rep. McDermott has been a consistent supporter of Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide–cosponsoring the 2002 ANCA Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Observance and supporting the Armenian Genocide resolution–H.Res.398–introduced in the House in 1999. Last year–Rep. McDermott co-signed a letter to President Bush urging him to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as "genocide" in his annual April 24 statement regarding the issue.

On December 7 of last year–Congressman McDermott attended a screening of Academy Award nominated director Atom Egoyan’s seminal film on Armenian Genocide denial–"Ararat" at a special screening hosted by the ANCA Western Region. Following the screening–the Congressman noted that–"the movie gives you a snapshot of what happened and makes you hungry for more. I think the ANCA-WR should do screenings like this more often because there is a real need to educate people about this issue." The Congressman went on to comment on why the United States Government should officially recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915 noting that–"It’s hard for me to believe that [this recognition has] never happened. It should have happened a long time ago and it should happen now."

Speaking in New York City this past Friday–Hamparian stressed the profound impact of "Ararat" on policy makers in Washington–DC. He also underscored its unprecedented reach as a tool for raising public awareness of the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing implications of its denial by the Turkish government. He made these remarks during a speech at an event–hosted by the Eastern US Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church at the New York Yacht Club–honoring "Ararat" director Atom Egoyan and star Arsinee Khanjian. Hamparian noted that Egoyan’s film–along with System Of A Down’s Armenian Genocide awareness campaign during its summer 2002 Ozzfest tour–represented major milestones in terms of art’s powerful and unique role in speaking to issues of human rights and genocide.

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