Over 165 Representatives Urge President Bush to Properly Characterize Armenian Genocide as Genocide

WASHINGTON–DC–Following an extensive nationwide grassroots campaign–over 165 US Representatives have joined together in sending a clear message to President George Bush to keep his campaign pledge to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a "genocide" in his annual April 24 address–reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.) "We are gratified to see that a growing number of US Representatives are calling upon President Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide in his April 24th remarks," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "We join with these Members of Congress and urge the President to demonstrate moral clarity by avoiding the use of evasive or euphemistic terminology in his annual statement."

The Congressional letter was initiated by Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) as well as California Representatives George Radanovich (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA). In the letter–the 168 Congressional Co-signers recalled the "unique role that the United States played in alerting the world to the attempted destruction of the Armenian people and in saving many from certain death. . . All Americans should be rightfully proud of this chapter in our nation’s history."

The signatories to the letter also noted that–"by properly recognizing the atrocities committed in 1915 against the Armenian people as genocide in your April 24th statement this year–you will honor America’s historic leadership and remind the world of the democratic and humanitarian values on which our country is founded."

During his 2000 presidential campaign–President Bush had referred to the "genocidal campaign" perpetrated against the Armenian people and pledged to properly characterize that tragedy when elected President. Neither the President’s 2001 or 2002 April 24th statemen’s have honored that pledge. Last year over 160 US Representatives signed a similar letter to the President.

Last week–Representatives Radanovich–Schiff–Pallone and Knollenberg introduced legislation–H.Res.193 — that marks the 15th anniversary of the US implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide. That legislation which mentions the horrors of the Armenian Genocide as well as the Holocaust and the Cambodian and Rwanda tragedies–has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and already has the support of over 65 Members of Congress.

Cosigners of the April 9th Congressional letter to President Bush include: Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)–Gary Ackerman (D-NY)–Tom Allen (D-ME)–Robert Andrews (D-NJ)–Joe Baca (D-CA)–Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)–Charles Bass (R-NH)–Xavier Becerra (D-CA)–Shelley Berkley (D-NV)–Howard Berman (D-CA)–Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)–Tim Bishop (D-NY)–Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)–Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)–Mary Bono (R-CA)–Jeb Bradley (R-NH)–Sherrod Brown (D-OH)–Ken Calvert (R-CA)–Dave Camp (R-MI)–Lois Capps (D-CA)–Michael Capuano (D-MA)–Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)–Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)–William Clay (D-MO)–John Conyers (D-MI)–Jim Cooper (D-TN)–Jerry Costello (D-IL)–Joseph Crowley (D-NY)–Duke Cunningham (R-CA)–Danny Davis (D-IL)–Susan Davis (D-CA)–Peter DeFazio (D-OR)–William Delahunt (D-MA)–Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)–John Dingell (D-MI)–Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)–John Doolittle (R-CA)–Mike Doyle (D-PA)–David Dreier (R-CA)–Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)–Eliot Engel (D-NY)–Anna Eshoo (D-CA)–Lane Evans (D-IL)–Sam Farr (D-CA)–Chaka Fattah (D-PA)–Mike Ferguson (R-NJ)–Bob Filner (D-CA)–Mark Foley (R-FL)–Vito Fossella (R-NY)–Barney Frank (D-MA)–Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)–Elton Gallegly (R-CA)–Scott Garrett (R-NJ)–Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)–Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)–Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)–Joe Hoeffel (D-PA)–Tim Holden (D-PA)–Rush Holt (D-NJ)–Michael Honda (D-CA)–Darlene Hooley (D-OR)–Steny Hoyer (D-MD)–Steve Israel (D-NY)–Darrell Issa (R-CA)–Jesse Jackson (D-IL)–Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)–Nancy Johnson (R-CT)–Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)–Sue Kelly (R-NY)–Mark Kennedy (R-MN)–Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)–Dale Kildee (D-MI)–Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI)–Mark Kirk (R-IL)–Gerald Kleczka (D-WI)–Joe Knollenberg (R-MI)–Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)–Nick Lampson (D-TX)–James Langevin (D-RI)–John Larson (D-CT)–Steven LaTourette (R-OH)–Barbara Lee (D-CA)–Sander Levin (D-MI)–John Lewis (D-GA)–William Lipinski (D-IL)–Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)–Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)–Nita Lowey (D-NY)–Stephen Lynch (D-MA)–Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)–Edward Markey (D-MA)–Robert Matsui (D-CA)–Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)–Karen McCarthy (D-MO)–Betty McCollum (D-MN)–Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)–Jim McDermott (D-WA)–James McGovern (D-MA)–John McHugh (R-NY)–Mike McIntyre (D-NC)–Buck McKeon (R-CA)–Michael McNulty (D-NY)–Martin Meehan (D-MA)–Robert Menendez (D-NJ)–Michael Michaud (D-ME)–Candice Miller (R-MI)–George Miller (D-CA)–Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)–Grace Napolitano (D-CA)–Richard Neal (D-MA)–Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)–Devin Nunes (R-CA)–John Olver (D-MA)–Doug Ose (R-CA)–"C. L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID)"–Frank Pallone (D-NJ)–William Pascrell (D-NJ)–Donald Payne (D-NJ)–Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)–Collin Peterson (D-MN)–John Peterson (R-PA)–Richard Pombo (R-CA)–David Price (D-NC)–George Radanovich (R-CA)–Charles Rangel (D-NY)–Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)–Mike Rogers (R-MI)–Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)–Mike Ross (D-AR)–Steven Rothman (D-NJ)–Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)–Edward Royce (R-CA)–C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)–Bobby Rush (D-IL)–Paul Ryan (R-WI)–Linda Sanchez (D-CA)–Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)–Bernard Sanders (I-VT)–H. James Saxton (R-NJ)–Adam Schiff (D-CA)–Christopher Shays (R-CT)–Brad Sherman (D-CA)–John Shimkus (R-IL)–Rob Simmons (R-CT)–Christopher Smith (R-NJ)–Hilda Solis (D-CA)–Mark Souder (R-IN)–Pete Stark (D-CA)–John Sweeney (R-NY)–Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)–Mike Thompson (D-CA)–John Tierney (D-MA)–Edolphus Towns (D-NY)–Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH)–Mark Udall (D-CO)–Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD)–Peter Visclosky (D-IN)–James Walsh (R-NY)–Maxine Waters (D-CA)–Diane Watson (D-CA)–Henry Waxman (D-CA)–Anthony Weiner (D-NY)–Curt Weldon (R-PA)–Gerald Weller (R-IL)–Joe Wilson (R-SC)–Frank Wolf (R-VA)–Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)–and Albert Wynn (D-MD).

The full text of the Congressional letter to President Bush follows.

TEXT OF CONGRESSIONAL LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH

April 9–2003

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington–D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

This April–as we reflect once again upon the horrors of the Armenian Genocide–we are reminded that the United States–as the leading defender of human rights in the world–bears a special responsibility to help ensure that the terrible lessons of past genocides are not forgotten. In remembering–we commit ourselves to vigilance to prevent future crimes against humanity.

As we prepare to commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide–we recall the unique role that the United States played in alerting the world to the attempted destruction of the Armenian people and in saving many from certain death. The unprecedented American relief effort on behalf of the Armenian people marked the emergence of the United States on the world stage as a major force for humanitarian intervention. All Americans should be rightfully proud of this chapter in our nation’s history.

By properly recognizing the atrocities committed in 1915 against the Armenian people as genocide in your April 24th statement this year–you will honor America’s historic leadership and remind the world of the democratic and humanitarian values on which our country is founded. In this period of heightened international conflicts–your message would be timely. We look forward to your April 24th statement and stand ready to assist you in this endeavor and in other matters of importance to our nation to relative to Armenia and the Caucasus region.

Authors

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